Chuck Petersheim, owner and founder of Catskill Farms — a ‘turn-key land, home and everything else approach’ company — has worked with more than 260 families over two decades to build second homes that fit their visions and needs.
“They’re coming to me to pair them, their family, and their priorities with a piece of land, and a home at a certain price point,” says Petersheim. Clients (mostly from NYC) pick a house style from one of Catskill Farms’ original designs, and Petersheim and crew help them marry it to a piece of land in Sullivan, Ulster, or Dutchess County. “What makes us different from [other firms offering models] is that we’re able to be flexible enough to offer dozens and dozens of choices, as long as it stays within sort of the aesthetic and the style that we build.”
Once the pandemic hit, Petersheim saw these city-dwellers facing some new challenges, as their secondary residence became their primary residence. “Nothing wears a house out like use, and people are really using their homes right now. In general, secondary homes, bought for occasional use, are breaking down and being pushed to the edge of their usefulness. For the most part, our homes survive that transition from part time to full time a lot better than most homes because they’re newer.”
What he discovered, regarding his clientele, is that second homeowners now have different needs because of how work and home life have changed. “When the home becomes your full-time residence, then all of a sudden, you’re looking at flow, floor plan, and function much more like a primary homeowner. It typically is bathrooms, bedrooms, privacy, those type of things. We’re seeing some large spaces requested to be split up.”
If you’re looking to have a home built, however, you’ll have to wait awhile. “We’ve stopped accepting new clients” says Petersheim. “We’re booked. We build 18 homes a year. In five weeks, we booked half a year’s worth of business.”
To view Catskill Farms’ home styles, see what’s for sale, and learn more about their building, design, and contracting services go to www.thecatskillfarms.com.
Courtesy of Chuck Petersheim
“Transitioning a second home to a primary home typically means evaluating everything for a different use than you had envisioned,” says Chuck Petersheim. Here he shares some important things to keep in mind for all homeowners:
• Make sure you’re comfortable in your home from a temperature standpoint. If you’re uncomfortable or having a hard time controlling your temperature, maybe you need more insulation in your attic or your basement [needs] some spray foam.
• Know how much your well can produce. Have your well examined by professionals so you know exactly how much water it’s producing and the quality of that water.
• Know your septic system. Make sure your septic tanks are pumped because now you’re using them a lot more.
• If you have an extra bedroom, you may want to convert it [to another use] to try to carve out privacy.
• Have an electrician make sure that your electrical grid inside isn’t being overloaded. You’re probably using every outlet in the house and overloading them with electronics and gadgets.
• Be sure you have adequate smoke alarms or carbon monoxide detectors; these are very easy things to overlook.