House Tours To Benefit John Jermain Memorial Library

Photo courtesy of the Friends of the John Jermain Memorial Library

The concept of demystifying the presumed notion of the signature Hamptons-style home, architecture and culture comes together under one roof — technically five roofs — to showcase a multitude of design aesthetics while supporting the heart of a village community. Intriguing contemporaries neighboring modern Victorians are met with historic and reclaimed elements in the homes that are part of Sag Harbor’s annual House Tour benefiting the John Jermain Memorial Library. Unique to the homeowner and captivating to its visitors, the walls of these five houses each have their own stories to tell.

Architecturally diverse, Glover Street’s homes are an attraction in themselves. On view in the library house tour is one that a culmination of Sag Harbor details, antique building materials, and modern design. In the midst of a complete reconstruction two years ago, interior designer Steven Gambrel and his partner, James Anderson, retained authentic styling.

Photo courtesy of the Friends of the John Jermain Memorial Library

“It’s entirely new but carefully layered to appear old and atmospheric like the best of Sag Harbor,” Gambrel says. “The idea was to create a new house that would be in the vernacular of the 19th century neighbors and contribute to the rhythm of the streetscape.”

Bleached and white stained reclaimed pine floors complement restored glass, a reclaimed marble fireplace mantle, and layers of lime-washed walls in the hallway and near the staircase. Of a particularly thought-provoking room, the dining room, originally from an early 18th century house in Salem, Massachusetts, was bought in from a Colorado museum. On the exterior, a lush and stylish cutting garden complements the property’s motif.

In the early 1980’s, Judy Long attended a meeting at community supporter Dorothy Sherry’s house on Howard Street with the idea of organizing a fundraiser for the local library. “It was decided that a tour of historic village houses would be a good way to do such a thing,” Long, a member of the nonprofit The Friends of John Jermain Library, recalls. The Friends sponsor the annual house tour, with all funding supporting programming at John Jermain. “Joan Carlson did the tickets and brochures the first few years and then I took over.”

Described as “the artery that goes through the heart of the Historic District,” Madison Street serves as an ideal stop for the tour.

Photo courtesy of the Friends of the John Jermain Memorial Library

Previously owned by Tony and Oscar winning set and costume designer Tony Walton, the historic King house on Madison Street was first built circa 1835 and has retained elements of the Greek Revival period. Architect Karen Arrigoni and her husband, historic preservation consultant Raymond Pepi, coupled their respective expertise to reimagine the home’s historic features while adding contrasting modern features in the form of a studio with retractable glass walls and modern furnishings. Paralleled by old and new, the property speaks to lovers of classic Victorian and contemporary design.

Interior and exterior meld together in the Redwood Road residence featured in the tour. “When we first stood in the center of the property and gazed across the street toward the Little Narrows, we both felt strongly that the site was ideal for a modern home,” says owner Patti Weinberg of her and Scott Frances’ one-story residence. “In the ensuing years most of the homes across the street on the waterfront either added a second level or were replaced with two story structures, so the view toward town and the harbor was obscured. Now the best water views were to the north, so our structure would orient 45° north of the old one. The elevation for the house was set so that the water view from inside was above the hedges yet beneath the tree branches.”

An architectural photographer, Frances spent his career collaborating with designers, including Janson Goldstein Architects, landscape architect Joe Tyree, Hobbs Construction, and Summerhill Landscapes who were called upon to create the three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bathroom cedar and glass home. Comprised of three rectangles each serving a distinct function, the couple have filled the common rooms, master wing, and guest wing with midcentury furniture, art, and antiques they have collected over 40 years.

An old house that requires a major renovation presents its challenges, but also holds much potential. “We fell in love with the view and the possibilities when we saw the house,” says Ann Chwatsky of the home she owns with her husband, Howard, on Lily Pond Drive.

Photo courtesy of the Friends of the John Jermain Memorial Library

“The house had been built in two parts. It looked very closed but had beautiful windows looking out to the pond. Though we loved the upstairs master, we decided to make everything for us on the ground floor and make the upstairs for guests.”

Chwatsky is a photographer, and between her and husband’s artistic eye, they were able to collaborate with architect and designer Angela Inzerillo and contractor Chris Krawczyk of East End Woodworkers Inc. From a difficult to find geometric tile to opening up various spaces redefining the living areas, they achieved a custom-built modern home with a hint of the Adirondacks.

“The homes are selected for their appeal to a broad swath of the visitors,” says Ann Lieber, who coordinates the homes on the tour for The Friends of John Jermain Library. “We try to have homes with a diversity of architectural styles. One of the best parts of the tour is that so many people look forward to the event and return year after year.”

A highly anticipated stop on this year’s tour is an authentic Victorian on Beach Avenue. Pierson High School graduate Robert Jahoda and his wife, Lauren, built the home in 2016 with modern amenities as a true representation of the style.

Photo courtesy of the Friends of the John Jermain Memorial Library

This can be seen on the exterior with its color scheme, Gothic entry door, large window crowns, and iron cresting on the Italianate tower.

“I have always had a great interest in Victorian architecture and its unique character,” Jahoda shares. “So, when it came time to build my own home I wanted collaborate on the various elements of Victorian designs that I liked best. Also, as a Sag Harbor native I have always wanted to build a style home that paid homage to part of our local history.”

A grand three-story staircase if finished with elegant details including a crystal chandelier, grandmother’s clock, and artwork by a historic local painter. The Victorian style elements that are found in many historical homes have been incorporated seamlessly with modern amenities, something Jahoda notes was important to suit today’s lifestyles.

The Sag Harbor House Tour is Friday, July 6, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It supports programs for adults and children at the John Jermain Memorial Library including book clubs, talks, films, and story hour. Tickets are $50 in advance or $55 the day of the tour and may be purchased at the library or the Wharf Shop. For more information, visit