Hamptons House & Home Holiday Roundtable

Wintry house
Photo: iStock

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…for bringing new life to your Hamptons home and property. Don’t let the cooler weather dissuade you—as our roundup of experts unwrap their insights into why this is the perfect moment to start undertaking those projects that will warm your winter months and have your home ready for the arrival of spring and summer, visions of outdoor kitchens, new pools, healthy trees, clean air, and a house free of unwelcome holiday visitors will soon be dancing alongside those sugar plums.

“Often homeowners put off outdoor projects until trees bud and the birds return. Contrary to what most people think, however, there’s so much that can be done now so that, by the time the warm weather returns, they are enjoying the fruits of their labor instead of finding themselves knee-deep in the middle of a venture. There are plenty of steps that can be completed over the winter to ensure a project is completed in the spring and landscaping is mature for the peak entertaining weekends. Whether a homeowner is considering an outdoor kitchen, a gunite swimming pool, a pool house or general landscaping, starting now will lead to pure satisfaction!”—Benjamin Carey, Vice President, Business Development, Schuttinger Building

“Winter is approaching, and many folks have left the East End and won’t be back till next spring. Little do they realize that their winter guests are about to arrive. Rodents, insects and spiders are all looking for a warm place to spend the winter, and your home is the perfect place to overwinter and reproduce undisturbed. These insects and rodents will create nests in your walls, basements and attics and emerge next spring. A year-round pest control program will ensure that you do not have any surprise guests showing up, creating a dangerous environment for your family.”—Brian Kelly, Owner, Twin Forks Pest Control

“The main stress to trees and other woody plants in the winter is the loss of moisture from the needles, leaf surfaces and leaf buds due to transpiration—especially where plants are close to bodies of salt water. The winds will not only dry out the plant parts—when the ground freezes, moisture has trouble trans-locating from the roots to these parts of the plants—but could further damage the plants with salt being carried from the salt water.  Placing burlap on at least one side of evergreen plants will help reduce the wind traveling over and drying out leaves and buds. The burlap should be placed on a support structure that can hold the burlap in place and at a distance of a few inches away from the plant parts. In situations where the trees or plants are too large for burlap to be practical, an application of an anti-desiccant onto the trees and plant parts will reduce the loss of moisture. The downside of this application is the short window of protection, and depending on weather conditions, will have to be reapplied every four to six weeks during the winter months.”—Bart L. Fusco, President, Fox Tree Service, Certified Arborist, Registered Consulting Arborist

“If you’re considering a project like a pool, a patio, an outdoor living space, get started now, because spring is short here. It’s important to try to do the heavy lifting throughout the winter months, weather permitting, so that large excavation and masonry is completed. That way in March–April you can address softscaping, which includes, trees, shrubs, lawn irrigation and topsoil. Additionally, right now we’re planting bulbs, treating trees with anti-desiccants, and starting winter burlapping—it’s really important to protect your trees from salt and wind out here.”—Michael Derrig, Architect/Owner, at Landscape Details (TR)

“Mold and its effect on our health is becoming a greater issue daily. Having a company like Mildew Busters do a professional air quality test or free inspection of your basement and/or attic is a great starting point. They can then design a cost effective remediation program, should anything be found, to insure that your air is clean and safe to breath.”—Bill Smith, Owner/President, Mildew Busters and East End Waterproofing

“If you’re planning on doing any kind of home renovation, adding a hot tub or sauna is a ‘hot idea.’ A hot tub or sauna will raise your home’s value, and wellness practitioners will assure you that the investment will reduce stress and make you feel better. If you want to build a pool, get the shell in the ground now so you can reestablish your landscape by spring. Try growing grass in May—it doesn’t really work.”—Ian Fyffe, Owner, Harbor Hot Tubs and Sparkling Pools 

“People focus a lot on the impact smart home technologies have had on the HVAC industry. One of the things that gets overlooked is the tremendous advances some companies have made in boiler and furnace builds—which have really come a long way in terms of efficiency. Compared to units from just 10 years ago, today’s high-efficiency approach is an investment worth making, because the right unit can honestly save homeowners over 40% in annual energy costs, which more than offsets the unit price over time. In some cases, it’s like getting a free heating system. You can get the most efficient boiler or furnace out there and, yes, you will save a great deal on fuel simply through increased efficiency, but that’s only part of the equation. If you’re trying to heat a poorly insulated home, you’ll see less benefit than you would when adding a high efficiency system to a properly insulated home. For example, a poorly insulated home using $5,000 worth of fuel would save, say, $2,000. But if a home is well insulated it might require only $2,500 of fuel due to thermal efficiency plus still save another $1,000 due to mechanical efficiency. In other words, the combination of correctly insulating the home and adding a high efficiency system would provide a much larger return on the investment!”—Doug Matz, President, Flanders Heat & Air Conditioning

“What are the ways you will stay warm this winter? When considering drapery, adding a liner reduces heat loss by over 50%. Shades have the same effect. There are many shades that offer tremendous energy efficiency and up-to-date style. Imagine a shading system that integrates with your home automation system. It has never been easier. Here’s to staying warm!”—Linda Nuzen, Owner, Windows & Walls Unlimited

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