Shelter Island Historical Society House Tour Preview

A home featured in the Shelter Island Historical Society’s annual House Tour.
A home featured in the Shelter Island Historical Society’s annual House Tour.

The Shelter Island Historical Society will host its biennial house tour, “Living with History/Making Choices,” on August 5 from 2 to 5 p.m. The tour includes five houses that show minor as well as radical changes.

On the tour, see 230 years of incremental change in a house owned for many years by an architectural historian and more recently by an archeologist and lawyer/designer. The owners of this “brother” to the Havens House expose the bare bones and adapt to modern living in an historical gem featured in a recent Wall Street Journal article.

There are two houses that illustrate the possibility of totally re-envisioning house and property. The formal Tudor style house has a five-car garage built by a Lincoln/Mercury dealer on a bluff overlooking Dering Harbor. The house is currently owned by an architect and art historian that remade it into a relaxed summer home through extensive renovation including repurposing driveway as patio.

Also included is a small 1960s ranch house whose graphic designer owner has made into a monument to Art Deco, inside and out. A steamship smokestack replaces the chimney and the second floor has a living area and space for her collection of deco furnishings and art. She describes her house as an “ocean liner.”

There are two houses that rebuild the old as new, with the first view of the rebuilt “Dering Farm.” The owners of this island property lived in their house for 10 years before deciding to totally rebuild, drawing upon original plans and salvaged materials that show its provenance and celebrate its history.

Finally, an award-winning local architect/design team has taken another approach to “living with history,” by combining pre-existing buildings and a one-room 1920s cottage-with a contemporary indoor/outdoor living area, to create a “new” house featured in Hamptons Cottages & Gardens (HC&G).

The Shelter Island Historical Society is located at 16 South Ferry Road in Shelter Island. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit