Rustic Meets Urban In This Posh Long Island Vacation Home


white colonial home

For a multigenerational estate on Long Island, designer Becky Shea wove together the family’s history with a touch of their urban roots, completing the quintessential Colonial-style façade with interiors that blur the lines between traditional and modern.

dining room round wood table

In the wine room used for tastings and dessert during parties, an heirloom 1920s mahogany table is surrounded by custom poufs in a Rogers & Goffigon velvet. Artwork by Bernard Buffet hangs on the wall, and the entry console is John Pomp Studios.

living room jamb surround

For the living room, Shea chose Matthew Fairbank’s Giotto sconces to flank the Jamb London fireplace surround. RH’s Kensington sofa joins a James Duncan coffee table, McGuire lounge chairs and Hans-Peter Krafft sheep sculpture.

dining room two tables

Catering to large dinners, the dining room features a Jiun Ho table with discrete, self-storing leaves. The equine-grade leather on the McGuire dining chairs is designed to patinate over time and the sliding oak barn doors have a custom Rubio Monocoat stain.

speakeasy wood paneling

The “speakeasy” features restored millwork from the homeowner’s uncle’s 1920s liquor store. Shiplap-paneled ceilings in Benjamin Moore’s Midnight Blue and floors designed by BS/D and manufactured by Czar Floors with white oak and American walnut lend a cozy feel.

white bedroom

The owners’ daughter’s sleeping quarters feel layered and light thanks to a Maya Romanoff fine wool wallcovering, drapes of De Le Cuona fabric and woven-paper shades from Hartmann & Forbes. At the foot of the bed is a Katy Skelton bench.

white stone bathroom steel black...

The primary bathroom is designed to feel like a hotel with dark wood cabinetry and Thassos marble tiles from Complete Tile Collection. CPS Glass & Mirror steel shower doors inject a brutalist element. A stool from Collection Particulière provides playful contrast.

indoor-outdoor kitchen wood cabinets

Shea made sure the pool house kitchen opened to the outdoors on all four sides via bifold windows. The concrete Caesarstone counters, Native Trails sink and Master Trim Installations walnut cabinetry echo the material palette of the home’s interiors.

patio lounge outdoor bar

In the patio lounge positioned close to the shallow end of the newly appointed pool so that people in both areas can converse, aluminum-frame sofas embrace a concrete-and-teak coffee table, all from RH.

Sometimes the smallest twists of fate have the biggest impacts. Take Becky Shea’s first major renovation as a young designer, which came to be after a future client overheard her in animated conversation on the subject of kitchens. Impressed with her know-how, he invited Shea to pitch a scheme for his brother’s recently purchased West Village maisonette. Little did she know that job would lead to designing multiple homes for the family and, eventually, to reconceiving their sprawling weekend residence in Old Brookville, Long Island.

This wasn’t just any old weekend place, either. The clients had purchased the 1928 Colonial-style dwelling shortly after marrying and raised their kids there before transitioning to Manhattan full-time. It was their dream that the property would serve as an escape from the city for their adult children, grandchildren and beyond. As Shea puts it, this was to be “the family HQ for the rest of their lives.”

For vacation home ideation, the homeowners looked no further than their favorite place to take one: Twin Farms, a rustic yet luxurious inn tucked away in central Vermont. “They have very hectic lives, but they’ve always felt a deep connection to that spot in the middle of nature. It’s where they go to find peace,” says Shea. The owners even invited the designer and her husband and chief operating officer, Jake, to spend a week at the resort to fully immerse themselves in its ethos.

Shea returned to Old Brookville inspired. Alongside architect Andrew Fethes and general contractor Rob Amoroso, she set about reconceiving the property to capture a similar sense of bucolic tranquility, but with a dose of urban swagger and all the comforts of a modern family compound. For these entertaining-inclined clients, that centered around an enviable hospitality program. An artful eat-in kitchen, a formal pantry, a double dining hall and—the crown jewel of numerous gathering spaces—a salon replete with a grand piano are all cornerstones of the extensive renovation.

Throughout, Shea’s custom architectural detailing and millwork underscore the home’s emphasis on one-of-a-kind design. One heroic mention is the intricate inlaid flooring flowing from the kitchen through the dining hall. Inspired by a patterned floor she spied at a Paris flea market, the designer hand-drew the motif, specified the various woods to be used and commissioned an Amish craftsperson in Pennsylvania to produce it. “Ninety-five percent of what’s in this home is built by makers from the United States,” she says. “Finding those artisans—in California, Pennsylvania, upstate New York, North Carolina—and bringing these different worlds together in a holistic way within the space drove the aesthetic.”

To balance the pastoral undercurrent, Shea brought in plenty of leather and steel accents (“my signatures,” she quips) along with touches of concrete, all homages to the family’s urban roots. “I wanted to weave in brutalist New York industrial materials with more rustic details,” the designer explains. She then employed a classic palette of muted neutrals contrasted by deep navy, olive green and black. And, to lace the rooms together, Shea subtly repeated materials. For instance, she incorporated cognac leather touches in the kitchen, family room and bedrooms, and used the same bed linens in different dyes, as well as similar wools for rugs and blankets.

While the renovation was a near-complete overhaul of the existing framework, the designer made sure that nods to the family’s history were plenty. She managed to salvage most of the original hardwood floors and rehabilitated several sinks and vanities that used to be in the kids’ bathrooms when they were growing up. In the room nicknamed “the speakeasy” is a floating island cabinet—formerly the cashier counter in a great uncle’s liquor store during the Prohibition—which now showcases a collection of bar paraphernalia.

“When you’re creating a home like this, storytelling is very important,” says Shea. “If it’s intended to be multigenerational, you want the next generation to feel proud of what they have—and to know who it’s connected to.”