Real Estate Business

A Fire Island Upgrade for Around $1 Million? Their Options Were Limited.

For years, Stacey and Kenny Erdheim would make occasional trips to Fire Island to enjoy a few days on the beach. It was an easy one-hour trip from their home in nearby Melville, N.Y. — a 30-minute drive to Bay Shore and a ride on the ferry. They were captivated each time.

“Fire Island is so close, but it’s so far away,” said Mr. Erdheim, who works in sales in the electronic security field and runs a cookie business on the side, Kenny’s Krumbs. “To be able to be in such an alternate universe in such a short period of time is unbelievable.”

For one such trip five years ago, he said, “My family self-servingly got me a Father’s Day gift of two nights at a hotel there.” Of course, they couldn’t resist looking at houses for sale. One of them, in Ocean Beach, was just right.

“We wanted the quintessential tiny beach cottage, and that’s what it was,” said Ms. Erdheim, a lawyer who is a no-fault arbitrator. Their 900-square-foot cottage, which they bought in the summer of 2017, had three bedrooms and one and a half bathrooms, along with a back deck and an outdoor shower, typical on Fire Island.

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They spent most warm weekends there. “We lug a lot of stuff back and forth, but we don’t have to stuff 50 pounds into a suitcase, go on a plane and rent a car,” Mr. Erdheim said.

They also welcomed a constant stream of visitors, including friends of their son and daughter. Guests slept on floors, sofas, air mattresses or the trundle bed on the porch. “I was sleeping 20 in my home,” Ms. Erdheim said. “Nobody cares where they sleep. I have a ton of towels, I like to host, I cook a lot, and I do a lot of laundry.”

Eventually, the Erdheims, now 55, craved more space — especially Mr. Erdheim, who is 6-foot-4. “I was like Gulliver in the house,” he said. “We couldn’t walk through the kitchen without rubbing up against each other.”

With the children out of college, they were ready for a bigger house.

“The Erdheims knew exactly what they wanted,” said their real estate agent, Abigail Mago, the broker-owner of Fire Island Sales & Rentals. “They loved their neighborhood, so they didn’t want to stray far from where they were.”

The couple’s price range hovered around $1 million. If they couldn’t find a house with a pool — which are often built into a deck — they wanted space to add one.

“These are called cocktail pools, dipping pools or plunge pools,” Ms. Erdheim said. “They are not these giant pools where you swim laps.”

Among their options:

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