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While homebuilders all over the country are searching for ways to beat the odds in a depressed housing market, one small New York builder is doing it one house at a time.

Former commercial builder Charles Petersheim left Manhattan right after 9/11 for Sullivan County, a remote stretch of the Catskill Mountains.

The first job he landed there was fixing up the barns. It was then that he got the idea to create homes that echo the past using a well thought-out combination of salvaged and new materials. The result? The Catskill Farms -- brand new 100 year old farm houses. While capturing the charm, beauty and character of the early 1900's, all the hassles and maintenance related to an old house are eliminated.

These vintage style homes boasting reclaimed barn beams, old mantels and banisters, clapboard siding, wide-plank floors, cast iron radiators and clawfoot tubs are built from the ground up – but are also appointed with all the modern conveniences, such as whole-house audio and automated security systems -- giving the term "shabby chic" new meaning.

His buyers? Urbanite New Yorkers cramming themselves into small rental spaces during the week have been buying one of Petersheim's homespun creations for weekend retreats -- a welcome alternative to taking on the types of projects featured in TV programs like "This Old House."

Just goes to show you that they CAN build them like the used to -- only better.

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