For the last four years, Randy and Kelly Davis have been renting a home on Old Sag Harbor Road in Bridgehampton, where they live with their two children, 8-year-old Alexis and 6-year-old Alex. Because of tight finances and the notoriously high cost of living on the East End, they never imagined they would become homeowners out here.Thanks to Habitat for Humanity of Peconic, the Davises will soon hold the deed to a brand-new, 1,400-square-foot cottage at 2245 Scuttlehole Road. The home includes a standard living area and kitchen, three bedrooms, one bathroom, a basement and an attic, along with backyard space, all on half an acre of land. The Davises didn’t have a say in the style of the house, but they were able to pick out their kitchen appliances, which they will pay for as part of their mortgage. They also picked out the home’s flooring and paint colors.
Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization that builds homes for low-income families who otherwise would not be able to afford down payments on houses, or high-interest mortgages.
With help from their family and friends, Farrell Building Company and Habitat volunteers, the Davises took part in constructing the new home with their own hands, and now they said they are happy—and proud—to live in a place they themselves helped to build from the ground up. Southampton Town donated the land, most of the materials and some of the labor were donated by Farrell, and Habitat volunteers as well as the Davises and their family and friends, put in sweat equity. The Davises will pay a first, five-year mortgage of $150,000, which was what it cost to build the house. After that, house will be appraised, and then the family will pay a second mortgage, which will be the difference between the appraisal and the first mortgage.
“It’s like one of the best things that’s ever happened,” said Randy Davis, a custodian in the Sag Harbor School District. “This is huge.”
It all started in March 2010, when Mr. Davis’s wife, Kelly, saw a Habitat for Humanity advertisement at a church, describing how the organization was looking for a low-income family to help build a house they would also be able to own. Ms. Davis applied, Mr. Davis wasn’t optimistic that they would get picked, but together they waited for an answer.
And then, in September of the same year, the couple was approved.
“We feel very blessed to be able to have it,” said Ms. Davis, a nursing assistant at Southampton Hospital. She explained that she’s relieved her kids will be able to stay in the Bridgehampton School District when the family moves into the house.
Mr. Davis is especially ecstatic, he said, because he grew up in Bridgehampton, but never thought he would be able to own a home in a place like the Hamptons.
Construction on the Davis house began in April 2013, and the residence was completed just a few weeks ago. It is the 13th home built by Habitat for Humanity of Peconic. The organization’s president, Mark Mott, said that even though families who are selected for these projects are required to put in at least 500 hours of “sweat equity” to help build the homes, the Davises went above and beyond.
“They have put in 800 hours of sweat equity,” Mr. Mott said. “It’s one of the best families we’ve ever had.”
Mr. Mott, who said that this house will be his last with the organization before he resigns after 15 years as president, added that Habitat for Humanity of Peconic also has two other properties in East Hampton it will begin searching for families for soon.
While the Davises’ house is currently being inspected, Mr. Davis already has big plans for it. Next month, he said, he will lay topsoil and then plant grass seed to create a beautiful lawn his kids can play on. He also plans to put up a fence in the back and add landscaping to the front yard.
At a dedication ceremony on Sunday, August 24, the Davises received a Bible from Mr. Mott, as well as a new hammer. Mr. Mott asked that Mr. Davis promise to help take part in building the organization’s next house.
The Davises have built not only their own home, but a new future as well. Mr. Davis said the new home is where he will grow old with his wife and something he will eventually pass onto his children. “This was great for us. I guess this is our honeymoon, our wedding, our everything,” he said. “It hasn’t all sunk in yet. I didn’t think it was possible.”