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New Manor, Classic Style

Old-world charm meets modern comfort in a grand home on Long Island’s Gold Coast.

Instant Age: Although the house is new, the façade conveys an impression of age, thanks to the use of traditional materials, including Indiana limestone and hand-rolled, sand-colored brick for the external walls, thick Vermont slate for the roof, and lead-coated gutters and downspouts.

Although it’s the third house to grace this site in 100 years, the newly constructed home in Mill Neck, N.Y., looks like it has been here for a full century. That’s just as the owners intended: The house harks back to the early 20th-century mansions of Long Island’s Gold Coast, whose builders were in turn looking back to centuries-old European precedents.

In the family room, hand-rubbed oak paneling and hand-hewn ceiling beams lend a warm, mellow feel to a vast space that might otherwise feel barren. The perfectly balanced arrangement of furniture and accessories echoes the symmetry of the architecture.

Dressed For Guests:
A guest powder room, one of the most intimate spaces in the house, feels like a jewel box. The décor is dominated by the mirror and wallpaper, both of which are in the 18th-century Chinese taste. Note how the branches on the wallpaper echo the carved foliage of the mirror.

To bring their vision to life, the owners chose Michael Jay Wallin, a Huntington-based architect who specializes in period-style houses that are historically correct. Presented with a photograph of a 17th-century French chateau, Wallin researched the period in depth to ensure correct period proportions and details, and also to give the house what he calls “the mien of age.” This sense of antiquity comes in part from the materials used in construction— limestone for entryways and window surrounds, lead for gutters and downspouts, slate for the roof. The landscape architect, Mark McAteer of The Laurel Group, did his part by adding mature specimen plantings to those already on the grounds.

In the dining room, a rich tablescape of blue-and white porcelain makes a dramatic invitation to guests.

A French flavor prevails in the spacious kitchen . Creamy painted cabinets, thick slabs of white marble, a limestone hood and antique beams—along with a massive European Ilve range— help make this kitchen a cook and entertainer’s dream.

Inside, the owners wanted each room to have its own personality. This goal was served by the architect’s use of a long transverse hall in addition to a front-to-back center hall. The hallways provide a sense of transition—in effect cleansing the aesthetic palate—as one moves from room to room.

Back- To- Back: In today’s most gracious homes, indoor and outdoor spaces are tied together. Beyond the living room is an expansive loggia with an outdoor fireplace, which encourages family and guests to take the party outside. Antiqued wicker furniture from Safavieh and blue-and-white pillows, echoing the ubiquitous blue-and-white porcelain, create an inviting seating arrangement.

With multiple seating areas, this sprawling outdoor room is designed for entertaining on a grand scale. The planked and coffered mahogany ceiling is built to withstand the elements.

The interiors are more English than French, and represent a mixture of historical styles. The breakfast room and library are essentially Tudor, with exposed-beam ceilings and oak paneling, while the more formal rooms are Georgian. Blending the homeowner’s antiques with new furniture was a collaborative effort between the owner, herself an interior designer, and Keith Murphy of Safavieh. “Most of the rooms are in the classic English country house style,” Murphy explains. “They’re opulent but comfortable, and luxurious without being pretentious. Today we think of this English style as ‘formal’ simply because it’s traditional. But historically, it was considered relaxed—ideal for raising a family and equally great for entertaining, and that’s still the case today.”

Hello, Sunshine: Honey-toned walls suit the purpose of the double-height breakfast room. Italian Baroque-style chairs are upholstered in a whimsical pug fabric, reflecting the owners’ love of dogs.

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