Debra did her house report, so here’s mine. Better late than never.

155 Cooper Street

Sometimes, I think, you really want to try to see what a house was or what it could be, rather than what it currently is. 155 Cooper Street is a classic home from the halcyon days of turn of the century Babylon. What it could be is a restored beauty within easy walking distance to the train and nestled in the heart of the village. What it is, unfortunately, is a decrepit, ramshackle house that has been sadly neglected for decades and currently serves as a flop house.

I think that this is the first house that I’ve seen that is actually unlivable. This is despite the fact that at least a half-dozen people are, in fact, living there. The Realtor notes in the listing that the house needs some TLC. What it needs is a complete, top-to-bottom renovation including new kitchen, baths, windows, siding and a completely new electrical system. The electric in the house looks like it hasn’t been upgraded since the house was first electrified, probably some time in the 30’s. It sports “classic” push-button light switches from that period and wiring run on the outside of the walls.

On the other hand, the house does appear to be structurally sound, apart from some troubling floor sags. It’s of decent size for the period. The four bedrooms are modest, but you could probably knock out a wall and make one decent master. There’s a huge walk-up attic that could be dormered out and turned into a big master suite as well. I do see a lot of potential here.

Unfortunately, the house sits on a pretty small spit of property wedged in between the train tracks on one side and the fire department substation on the other. Even worse, there’s no garage and no real place to put one unless you drained the scary-looking, pond-shaped pool in the back.

In better times builders would probably be lined up around the block to buy this house and turn it into a show piece. These days, I expect the house will sit for a while until someone with more money than sense happens along.

19 Nehring Ave

This ranch-style home is on a corner lot in the Twin Oaks section of Babylon Village. The Twin Oaks section of Babylon is on the west side of Route 109 and consequently in the West Babylon school district. For this review, I thought about going into the thesaurus and pulling out as many synonyms for small as I could — tiny, minuscule, petite, cramped, etc. — just to keep things fresh. Instead of doing that, lets just take the small modifier as read and if there’s any part of this house that isn’t, I’ll be sure to let you know.

First of all, this house is listed as a three bedroom, but it’s really just a two bedroom. The wall to third bedroom has been removed and that area is now a dining room. It’s not a bad idea really, because otherwise there’s really no place in the house to eat. You couldn’t really fit a table in the living room and leave space for much else and there’s certainly no room in the kitchen.

The kitchen is nice and bright. It’s been reasonably updated, albeit not expensively. There are newer appliances and decent laminate countertops.

One positive is the decent-sized full basement. There’s a full bath down there that’s not mentioned in the listing. The house is cheap enough that you could finish the basement to make up somewhat for the lack of space on the main level. In this way, even though this place is smaller than 2 Edwards, there’s actual potential for more space with some money and effort if you don’t mind some rooms below ground.

This would be a nice starter house for a couple and maybe one kid. But I can’t imagine living in this place for long without feeling cramped.