Long Island, New York

Originally built at the time when Belle Epoque society had newly discovered the benefits of bathing in the sea, this four story villa towered over the beaches of Long Island like a giant sandcastle. It had known evening picnics under the pergola, with paper lanterns swaying in the salt air and croquet matches on the lawn. One hundred summers later found the beau monde gone, the home's infrastructure collapsing, and the interior divided into a shipwreck of doctor's offices. Fortunately a newlywed couple of learned and eminent book collectors, with a scholar's interest in local history, came to the rescue. The home required rebuilding from the inside out, top to bottom, with new layout configurations, electrical, mechanical, windows, roofing, and restructuring.

A newly created enfilade of rooms across the front of the house sweeps in the breeze from the sea and scatters the sun through panes of hand-blown glass. Hollowed-out recesses beneath the central flying staircase conceals a new powder room and secret wet bar. A new kitchen and butler's pantry rises from the site of former maids' rooms and scullery. Upstairs, a new master suite, dressing, and bath, is separated from guest quarters by a center library. As with the beached whale that the owner found dying on the nearby shore and valiantly saved with the help of others, once more the stout masonry walls of this house, built to last forever, welcome the roar of the surf and another century of summers.