Elizabeth Dow, a designer of textiles and wall coverings whose work has graced the walls of The White House, and the onetime owner of the former Sag Harbor Methodist Church, along with her partner, artist Ani Antreasyan, have embarked on renovations at a pair of historic houses on Jermain Avenue.
They own 133 Jermain Avenue, which dates back to 1843, and 127 Jermain Avenue, which dates back to 1900, according to Sag Harbor Village’s historic survey.
At least two other sets of two properties are similarly owned in Sag Harbor. A couple who bought side-by-side properties on Hamilton Street recently built a corridor to connect them, and another who owns adjacent Suffolk Street properties recently got village approval to tear out a swimming pool at one of them.
“I don’t see this as a real trend,” Anthony Brandt, chairman of the Sag Harbor Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review, said Wednesday. “I think it’s very unusual. I don’t see this as a solution to a wealthy person’s heart’s desire for a really big house.”
At 133 Jermain Avenue, according to plans approved by the Sag Harbor Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review (BHPAR), the owners will build additions onto the north, east and west sides of the house, while keeping the façade intact.
They are adding a swimming pool, with the location of pool equipment having emerged as a sticking point during BHPAR discussions earlier in the year. On July 26, two neighbors opposed the location of the pool equipment, which would have been close to their house, but they worked it out to find a more agreeable location, and it was unanimously approved.
At 127 Jermain Avenue, after members of the BHPAR visited the house, Ms. Dow agreed on December 27 to pull original, historic windows from the rear of the building as substitutes for those in the front that needed replacing. A second-story addition is planned, as is the replacement of asbestos shingles with clapboard siding. She agreed to reproduce the house’s brick chimney — which her builder said would have to be taken down when the house is lifted to install a new foundation underneath — and said they plan to repurpose stones from the original foundation elsewhere in the house.
Board member Dean Gomolka said the project “has a lot of positives,” and the board voted 4-0 to approve the 127 Jermain Avenue application.
Ms. Dow said Wednesday she grew up in historic homes and has always liked “the juxtaposition of old and new.” She said she and Ms. Antreasyan first fell in love with the three-car garage at 133 Jermain Avenue, which was built with reused materials from the Napier carriage house on Main Street.
“As we began to renovate the interior and the garage, we could not help think about the house next door, 127 Jermain, with its prominent for sale sign,” Ms. Dow said. “After we started doing the math and realized that by combining the two properties, we could have a half acre in the village, with the privacy that we both loved. At that point, the idea became a more serious consideration; in truth it became an obsession. Then dreams of a compound for visiting family and friends started to fill our thoughts. The reality is how often do two great adjacent houses become available in the Village of Sag Harbor?”
She said there are no plans to connect the houses physically, but “we do have plans through color and landscaping to make the visual connection.”
West Water Street Hearing on January 10
The Board of Preservation and Architectural Review will hold a public hearing January 10 on developer Jay Bialsky’s plans for a waterfront townhouse development at 2 West Water Street. The hearing is planned for the start of the board’s regular meeting at 5 p.m. at village hall.
The proposal is for a three-unit complex, approximately 24,000 square feet in size, with six dock slips and an underground parking area. Plans are on file with the Sag Harbor Building Department and may be viewed by the public via Freedom of Information request.
A Downsized Garage on Redwood Road
In a time when Sag Harbor’s regulatory boards most often see residents asking to make their residences larger, David Rimland appeared before the Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review on December 27 seeking permission to reduce the size of his garage on his Redwood Road property.
He told the board it would more closely resemble a shed, which would connect to the house with a trellis. “We realized [the garage] was way too big for the backyard,” he said.
Mr. Rimland also sought permission to add a second-floor roof deck for an outdoor shower as part of an existing deck. He said it would be screened with slats, and board member Dean Gomolka observed, “you can’t see out or in” to the proposed shower.
The board voted 4-0 to approve the project.
New Garage Approved on Ackerly Street
The Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review on December 27 approved a new garage for Honey Wolters at her Ackerly Street residence.
At a previous BHPAR meeting, Ms. Wolters’s contractor, William Flanzer, said the garage had fallen down as he attempted to repair the deteriorating structure. He was told to return with clearer schematics for the new garage, and did so on December 27.
Board member Bethany Deyermond observed the garage will essentially not be seen because it is located behind tall hedges. The board approved the new garage, 4-0.