Newsday's Arielle Dolinger took a look inside a Cutchogue home that was inspired by Disney World's Main Street USA. Deb and Syd Dufton, who raised all five of their kids at this house, have put it on the market. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

Sitting on the floor of their Nissequogue home, surrounded by toys, the Dufton family built Lego-block models of the house they imagined for themselves. Fresh in their minds were architectural vignettes from recent travel up and down the Eastern Seaboard: early 20th-century silhouettes dressed in pastel paint, double porches punctuated by sturdy columns. 

With three children and two on the way, Deb and Syd Dufton had big plans for an 8.9-acre plot of land they had purchased in the early 2000s in Cutchogue. In 2006, the family moved into the seven-bedroom house that melded the color scheme of Disney World’s Main Street USA and the architectural style of Charleston, South Carolina.

“We got the best of an old house — the look and feel of an old house — but with the insides of a new house, so there’s no real maintenance issues or any problems,” said Syd Dufton, now 56, a tech industry executive.

Today, the blue-and-pink Victorian on New Suffolk Avenue is on the market for the first time. Listed at $4.45 million by Sheri Winter Parker of Corcoran, the house occupies 10,450 square feet and functions like a resort. 

In a room equipped with its own alarm system, the air is thick. Sound competes with the pounding of a waterfall against the surface of a 32-foot indoor pool accessible by waterslide.

“It was my dream to have an indoor pool,” said Deb Dufton, 54, as she and the family prepare for a move to Tennessee. “It was like always being on vacation.”

When Deb describes the house, her blue eyes sparkle and her voice takes on a melodic quality.

“We kind of wanted it to have a touch of magic,” she said. “We were raising five kids here.”

Some of the doorknobs wear golden “Alice In Wonderland” inspired face frames. Bedroom themes include Buzz Lightyear, Indiana Jones and Princess Jasmine. Syd imagines the employees of the store he frequents for paint have questions.

Bedroom themes include Buzz Lightyear, Indiana Jones and Princess Jasmine.  Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

Another bedroom has a Nascar theme.

Another bedroom has a Nascar theme. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

During the build, Syd and Deb acted as their own general contractor. Deb and an architect drew up the plans, and the Duftons hired plumbers, electricians and other professionals to execute the build.

“We kind of knew what we wanted, and what we didn’t want, so, we kind of just jumped in,” Syd said. “We were young enough and kind of dumb enough to think we could do it ourselves.” 

On the first floor, the kitchen would be the focal point.

“I wanted a house where the kitchen was in the center, and everything spoked off of the kitchen so that I was never left out,” Deb said.

From a large center island, she could hear her children playing piano in one room, or watching TV in another. The first floor includes a dining room, media room and playroom.

The kitchen was designed to be the focal point of...

The kitchen was designed to be the focal point of the first floor. Credit: Corcoran

The bedrooms are upstairs, and so is the recording studio where Shelby, 21, and twins Sam and Ben, 19, play music as the country band Audawind. The impending move to an area 30 minutes outside of Nashville is a solution to frequent travel to the state for meetings and recording sessions. The three will also be attending school there in the fall. 

The house they grew up in, alongside older siblings Michael and Jack, has been the setting for many a creative endeavor.

“We’re all creative, and we wanted a house that inspired creativity in our kids,” said Deb, a writer whose first novel, “Infinite Lives,” is set on the North Fork.

Three of the Dufton children are in a country band...

Three of the Dufton children are in a country band and practice in a second-floor recording studio. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

The home is whimsical and old-fashioned in its stylistic details, but modern in its functionality. A saltwater chlorinator cleans the pool. The home is cooled by central air conditioning and heated by oil, propane, forced air, and radiant heat. There are high ceilings, granite countertops, multiple refrigerators and a two-car garage.

The home is in the Mattituck-Cutchogue school district. Annual taxes total $37,883.

Syd speculates the home, once sold, would make “a great bed-and-breakfast.” Each bedroom has an en suite bathroom, and many of the rooms have a view of West Creek.

The creek is active, the family said, with kayakers, egrets, and swans; and the property itself is a meeting spot for wildlife. Deer gather and scatter. Squirrels partake in a nut bar the family set up for them. Birds find respite on tree branches.

“I love the house, of course, but, being a fisherman I love that on our property you can clam or fish or kayak,” Syd said. “And the kids all grew up sailing and learning how to fish and swim all right here on our own property, so that makes it pretty magical for me.”

Syd cooks the fish he catches in an outdoor fireplace.

The playroom.

The playroom. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

To leave this place was not even a thought until this spring, Syd said. He imagined his future grandchildren learning to swim and fish on the land the way his own children did.

Passersby who had no connection to the house have come to take photos; some have asked how much it would cost to spend the night, Syd said. 

“I don’t know why, but you’ll hear people going by and they’re saying, ‘I stayed at that place once, years and years ago,’ ” he said. “We’re like … that cannot be true. We built this home.”

But the family has plans just as big and imaginative for their new surroundings. 

“We’re going to do it all over again — buy a piece of land and do a new house again,” Syd said. “We’re going to use the drawings that Deb did here, with our architect, because we love the inside so much.”

The living room.

The living room. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

Latest Videos

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months
ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME