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Starting Fresh in Greenport

Greenport has become a destination on the East End over the years, inviting potential buyers to find their own space in the seaside village. From early spring through the harvest season, and even the cool winter months, the small town has grown in popularity, though the inventory is low. “A lot of demand and little supply is what you’ll find in the Greenport real estate market,” says Donielle Cardinale, Associate Real Estate Broker with Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty. “Coupled with an increase in second and third homeowners looking to escape the confines of city living for a peaceful weekend out east, property isn’t all that easy to find unless you know where to look and what to do.”

When a property listed by fellow Daniel Gale Real Estate Salesperson Cheryl Schneider came across Ms. Cardinale’s desk in November 2015, she knew right away it would be a fit for Benjamin Doroski, owner and master electrician at Custom Lighting of Suffolk. “Donielle brought it to my attention and we saw it in 45 minutes,” he says of the home on Wiggins Street in Greenport. “We made the offer, though it took a while to close. In that time, we got all the building permits and plans ready, and the day we closed we had everyone lined up and ready to go.”

The pair have worked on several projects together after Ms. Cardinale first helped Mr. Doroski stage and sell his house on First Street in Greenport. After that, they collaborated on a project on Kerwin Boulevard; a cool home with a lot of character and charm, ultimately leading to other projects like the Wiggins Street renovation.

The challenge with the renovation was working with an old home with very limited space; 1,000 square feet on approximately an eighth of an acre. Something both Ms. Cardinale and Mr. Doroski can agree on is that buying a home and renovating is not easy. “The main issue with that property is the existing structure was so small and basically on the property line,” says Mr. Doroski. “It had to be a complete gut and renovation.”

Ms. Cardinale adds, “Ben stuck to the original footprint, which was one of the major challenges as there was no room to expand the house. It didn’t make sense to go up a second story and the staircase would have cut into the first floor living space.”

With Mr. Doroski’s primary business being a full service electric company, he has many contacts already in place to complete this type of project. “I know the whole process very well, I’ve been doing this work since I was 16 years old,” says Mr. Doroski, who is able to serve as the general contractor thanks to years of experience. “I’ve seen thousands of renovations and new homes and I know the process well. It’s nice to work with someone like Donielle who can bring stuff to the table and take it over from there. It’s about putting the right teams to together.”

When the six month renovation process began, Mr. Doroski gutted the entire house to start fresh. The two bedroom, one bathroom house was transformed to include an additional bedroom and bathroom, with an open entertainment kitchen, dining, and living area. The new master bedroom, which was an enclosed front porch, has two walk-in closets and a master bath, both outfitted with sliding barn-style doors to create a larger space. “You could leave the doors open and create an architectural feature and texture in the room,” shares Ms. Cardinale. “When working with a small space you have to be very strategic in utilizing what you do have. It’s like when you’re on a boat; you use every nook and cranny.”

With the house so close to the road, the living spaces were set toward the back of the property. New large windows and oversized sliding glass doors to the backyard invite the outside in. The expanded space, coupled with light colors gives the small home a much larger feeling. To keep a little of the home’s history, Mr. Doroski used the old brick for the back-porch’s inlay. 

“When we first looked at it we went in with the expectation that it would have to be redone,” Ms. Cardinale shares. “Ultimately, he put a lot of work into it, and there’s very little of that original house. He changed the layout to be far more functional and fitting of today’s lifestyle.”

Ms. Cardinale says the North Fork is the perfect escape for hard working city dwellers looking for a place to come and just relax. Move in ready is key, though there is not a lot of inventory currently available. As a speculative property – something that is purchased with the intention of selling for profit – the Wiggins Street home matched up to a project both Mr. Doroski and Ms. Cardinale were proud of and what buyers today are looking for.

“Oftentimes when I work with people they’re not always ready to take advice,” says Ms. Cardinale. “I’m in the field everyday working with buyers, listening to what they want, what they’re looking for. I have my finger on the pulse of what people want, and Ben really respects what I have to say and takes it all into consideration. We go through a project and determine what needs to be done and how.”

When Mr. Doroski and his team completed the renovation project, the house went on the market. Touting a new layout, 12-inch wide plank floors, new electric and plumbing, central air, and beautiful landscaping among other attractive features, Ms. Cardinale, who rarely hosts an open house, received so many inquiries within the first few days they decided to host a quiet open house when the property was listed. The buyer made an offer that weekend with paperwork in hand, and closed in just two months. The home, which was purchased for $110,000, sold for $449,000.