Steven Gambrel is one of my favorite designers. I love his tailored, masculine aesthetic and the way in which he uses color. I stumbled across some real estate listing photos of the Sag Harbor house that I hadn’t seen before and they made me fall in love with the house all over again.
Although the photos appear to be taken during a colder time of year, I can’t help but think that this is the perfect house to feature as summer comes to a close.
The house was originally built for a sea captain in the 1700s and included additions that were added between 1790 and 1967, making the project all the more challenging.
The restoration of the property took about two years and the property encompasses a few different structures. Gambrel was especially careful to ensure that all of the renovations felt organic to the original style of each space and ultimately, imbued the property with his signature style.
The one-acre property, abutting the Upper Sag Harbor cove, had two not-very-promising structures: a “crashing-down wreck” of a main house, and this neglected 600-square-foot cottage. But Dash, a Labradoodle (half Lab, half poodle, and all the rage in canine circles), wouldn’t stop racing to the water. “This was the first time for me,” says Gambrel, “that nature won over architecture.”
They decided to renovate the cottage first. Gambrel had developed a fantasy, a dream “ﬁsherman’s cottage” modeled on a rum house in Nantucket. The house would also hark back to Sag Harbor’s past, when it was a whaling town and the sea captains’ grand residences lined Main Street. Far more modest fishermen’s cottages were on the then less-desirable waterfront, where it was colder and windier. This one, which was in fact built in the 1950s, had small windows and even smaller rooms. Gambrel put in larger windows and Dutch doors that look as if they’ve been there for generations.