Nineteen years ago, Carl Forestieri, a construction manager with degrees in civil engineering and industrial business management, met his second wife, Marie, at a ballroom dance in Rhinebeck. They married not so long thereafter and bought the first house they looked at in Lagrangeville, a safe, pleasant, conventional suburb eight miles southeast of Poughkeepsie. The Forestieris know their neighbors well, their lawn looks like green velvet, and summer nights you'll find them grilling outside with a cocktail—he drinks Tanqueray, while she prefers white wine. They're authentic, attractive, and funny—the kind of people you wish were your neighbors, employers, or even parents.
"We still dance a few times a year, and we probably will this month, as both our birthdays are in June," says Carl, who grew up in Westchester. "We bought this house because of the Arlington district schools; they're very good." The ranch-style house, with three bedrooms, three baths, and a spacious basement, was nothing special at the time, but in move-in condition, about 1,300 square feet, and the purchase negotiation reached a midpoint quickly and easily, as mortgage rates were hitting a 20-year low.
"I liked the river stone fireplace, and the big backyard, and the dead-end street, and as for the rest, well, I knew Carl would eventually upgrade everything about our home," says Marie, a native of Queens. "He likes to raise the ceilings wherever possible, but particularly in the bedrooms, where he also finishes them with knotty pine, because it gives the room a fresh scent and a more open, contemporary look."
"Over the years, I've changed almost everything about our home, except the fireplace. The original two-car garage is now our dining room, mud room, and walk-in pantry, and in total we now have almost 4,000 square feet. I updated the exterior, too, adding an Owens Corning manufactured ledgestone product. That's one thing about being a construction manager. I know all the materials, and when we're making a really big purchase for a client, which warrants a favorable volume price, I add my order to whatever they're buying, and use it here."