A couple with deep pockets and an appreciation for historic architecture has rescued a prominent Oyster Bay house threatened by development.
Michael Taglich and his wife, Claudia, who also own a 1903 house in Sag Harbor, have commenced a roof-to-foundation restoration of the Trousdell House -- also known as Hillside -- an 1844 Greek revival structure on East Main Street.
They estimate the restoration will cost up to $2 million and hope to have it completed by Christmas. They plan to live in the 10-bedroom, 5,000-square-foot house with their four daughters who are now attending schools in the area.
"We were looking for the most destroyed house in Oyster Bay," joked Michael Taglich, chairman and president of Taglich Brothers, a New York City-based securities firm. He explained that "we wanted something that was built pre-World War II and had some charming character, and we liked the area."
They are acquiring the home from the North Shore Land Alliance, a nonprofit that usually buys and preserves vacant land. The alliance bought the property two years ago when it seemed the house was to be sold to a developer who would demolish it and build five new houses on the 2-acre lot.
Since it was not in the business of owning historic houses, the alliance immediately tried to sell the sprawling and badly deteriorating three-story house to a sympathetic buyer who would restore it as a bed-and-breakfast inn or single-family home while preserving the land.
The Taglichs finally came along to reimburse the alliance for its $905,000 purchase and undertake the renovation.
"You need really special people to come in and see the potential for this house and go through the painstaking work to restore it," alliance president Lisa Ott said.
She added that the cost of buying what most recently had been the home of local physician James Trousdell and his family, installing a security system, patching leaks and making repairs to keep the structure from collapsing was a heavy drain on the nonprofit. "But it's going to be a happy ending," she said.
The Taglichs have hired Lee Construction of Cold Spring Harbor for the makeover. Contractor Timothy Lee, said that after having added supports for the alliance, "we jacked up the house and tried to get it level, and we got it just about level and put in new beams and steel girders in the basement. Everything is still pretty much original."
Workers have removed non-original walls that both carved a laundry out of the kitchen and created a doctor's office suite for Trousdell. "So we're actually restoring it to its original configuration," Lee said.
Push-button light switches, a claw-foot tub and a circular toilet will be reinstalled.
Oyster Bay Historical Society Executive director Philip Blocklyn said, "It's as good an outcome as you could have hoped for."
History of Oyster Bay's Hillside/Trousdell House
Built in 1844 as summer home for Cornelius and Adelia McCoon.
In the 1850s, it also housed a tavern and inn.
Theodore Roosevelt's uncle James rented the home in 1870s.
For much of later 20th century, it was home and office for family doctor James Trousdell.
In 2011, house bought by the North Shore Land Alliance to prevent demolition and construction of five houses on the 2-acre site. Alliance looks for buyer to preserve and restore the structure as B&B or home.
In 2013 Michael and Claudia Taglich of Sag Harbor agree to buy the house and commence restoration estimated to cost almost $2 million.