By Lucy Searle
Designed in the late 1920s by famed architecture firm McKim, Mead & White, the French Normandy-style mansion that is widely believed to have inspired the fictional 'East Egg' in F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel The Great Gatsby has gone on sale.
Once owned by Mary Harriman Rumsey, a champion of social reform who founded the Junior League of the City of New York, and was the daughter of railroad tycoon E.H. Harriman and sister to New York Gov. W. Averell Harriman, this notable and historic estate, is located on Long Island’s coveted Gold Coast, and is listed at $12,900,000 by agent Maggie Keats through Elliman.
Its grounds are outstanding but the interiors are quite simply beautiful, too. Take the tour – it is a great chance to see one of the world's best homes.
The art of living well is evident nowhere more than on the water and this home is as enchanting, seductive and sublime as its surroundings.
The 14-bedroom main house is situated on 5.3 waterfront acres, which includes patios with views of the Long Island Sound, lush gardens, a tennis court and a private 391ft sandy beach on The Long Island Sound.
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Also on the property is a sea-side guest cottage (below), six-car garage with guest quarters and a boat house.
Meticulously restored and renovated for modern convenience while retaining its historic grandeur, the home features many original details including moldings, millwork, ornate plaster ceilings, and oak floors.
Finding the right balance of luxury and practicality was key to the masterful renovation. The mandate for the house was a feeling of cool serenity, of modern elegance, and an almost ethereal lightness tethered to the qualities of the site. The rooms, while expansive, embrace a human scale. Indoor and outdoor spaces manage to be both private and social. Recalling the past while paving the way for new memories, this is not just a house, it's a gateway to the way things should be.
With 12 foot ceilings, the first floor includes a kitchen and breakfast room with a large architectural skylight and side patio leading out to the vegetable garden.
There is also a formal dining room, living room with fireplace featuring its original sculptural mantle, a library with French doors, beautiful oak bookshelves and fireplace, a playroom, office, and one-and-a-half baths.
The second floor also boasts 12 foot ceilings, and a luxurious master bedroom suite with a private porch, massive dressing room and sitting room.
There is also an elegant rotunda with skylight, floating staircase and two large bedrooms with a full bath.
A guestroom suite with fireplace and full bath, a nanny bedroom with full bath, a family room with fireplace and full bath, and a laundry room with fireplace complete the second level.
Two staircases lead to the third floor, where there are seven bedrooms, two full bathrooms, an exercise room, an office and more.
A formal foyer with floating staircase captures the eye, and a front patio leads onto the lawn. A limestone loggia offers areas for seating and dining, and an outdoor fireplace overlooking the Sound.
Listing pictures of 235 Middle Neck Road, Sands Point, NY courtesy of Maggie Keats/Douglas Elliman.
My first job was writing a DIY column for a magazine for the over 50s (which seemed a long way off back then). I then moved to a DIY magazine as deputy ed, then freelanced my way around the homes departments of most women's magazines on the market before working on Your Home and Family Circle magazines as homes editor. From there, I went to Ideal Home magazine as associate editor, then launched 4Homes magazine for Channel 4, then the Channel 4 4Homes website before going back to freelancing and running a social media business (you can see where I had kids from the freelancing gaps!). I was tempted back to the world of big business by the chance to work with the great team at Realhomes.com, where I was Global Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years, taking it from a small website to a global entity. I've now handed the reins of the website to our American managing editor, while I take on a new challenge as Editor-in-Chief of Homes & Gardens.
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