An East Hampton Renovation Fit for a Ship’s Captain

The Amagansett cottage in N.Y. had to be rebuilt from scratch. One couple decided to go all-in with nautical style. They renovated two houses in order to create their dream Hamptons retreat. The couple purchased a small cottage in Amagansett for $1 million. It was located on a street that runs alongside sand dunes that extend to the ocean. Although the house was only 600 square feet, they decided they didn’t require much space. And even if they had wanted to expand, local building regulations made it almost impossible.ImageFrank Selvaggi, left, and Bill Shea rebuilt a beach house in Amagansett, N.Y., with help from Kyle O’Donnell, the founder of Gramercy Design.Credit…Eric Striffler for The New York TimesThe structure, however, was in desperate need of work, so they hired Kyle O’Donnell, the founder of the New York-based firm Gramercy Design, to rebuild it within the original footprint.”There was no insulation. There was barely any foundation. Mr. O’Donnell stated that the roof needed rafters that were too small. It was a summer cottage that was not very sturdy. Everything had to go. O’Donnell had completed plans for the rebuild. However, just as construction was about start, O’Donnell and Shea, now both 62 years old, began to have second thoughts. Mr. Shea, a freelance director of creative services, intended to visit the house only occasionally. “He’s not as much of a beach guy as I am,” Mr. Selvaggi, a founding member at Altman, Greenfield & Selvaggi, a Manhattan-based accounting and business management firm with celebrity client Anne Hathaway and Timothee Chamet, said. ImageThe house’s exterior was brown-stained board and batten. Mr. O’Donnell covered the new structure with cedar shingles and outlined its windows in Farrow & Ball’s Stone Blue. This is Mr. Selvaggi’s favorite color. Credit…Matthew PlacekHe was concerned that they would feel cramped in their little cottage with their dogs Sherlock and Dodger. It was a lucky coincidence that he had a chance to have a conversation with a neighbor at a street group meeting. It would be wonderful if something bigger came up,'” Mr. Selvaggi stated. He said, “It’s too sad you can’t purchase the house next to us. Intriguing, Mr. Selvaggi found the owner of the home, and got in touch with him to learn that he was open to selling. After much back and forth, Mr. Selvaggi was able to purchase the 1,150-square foot house for $1.9 million in November 2016. The second house, however, required just as much work as their first house. It had only received minor updates over the years. The idea of simultaneously starting two construction projects was daunting. So, as construction continued on the first house in November 2016, Mr. Selvaggi & Mr. Shea moved into their larger home without changing a single thing. The TV is visible through the hidden doors above the fireplace. The couple decided to sell it to Anthony Bonsignore (Mr. Selvaggi’s business associate) for $1.7 million. This allowed them to move in and then to start their second renovation in September 2019. Much like the first, this project involved rebuilding the house completely within its original footprint. The Empire freestanding bathtub is from Waterworks (from $13,460). The Empire freestanding bathtub is from Waterworks (from $13,460).Credit…Matthew PlacekInside, “the approach was to make it as colorful as possible, and as fun as possible,” Mr. O’Donnell said, adding that he wanted to make the rooms feel deeply comfortable using materials that could withstand wet and sandy feet.Most of the flooring is bleached, wide-plank white oak. He covered the ceiling in the living room with V-groove paneling, and added a paneled detail on the walls. He outlined the walls in Stone Blue. He added a paneled detail to the walls and covered the ceiling with V-groove paneling to the living room. The workout terrace connects to the primary bathroom. It is finished in white marble and azure hexagonal tiles. Including the furniture and interior finishes, Mr. Selvaggi estimated that the project cost about $2 million.ImageA terrace behind the house includes space for outdoor dining and lounging, as well as an outdoor shower and a small pool.Credit…Matthew PlacekNow, after living through so many years of construction, they have no intention of moving anywhere else. “It is great out there,” said Mr. Selvaggi. He can walk to the beach in under a minute and enjoys catching up with friends over cocktails. Follow us on Twitter at @nytrealestate.