While famed architect Andrew Geller designed houses in his office at this Northport Victorian, his grandson would sit nearby building model cars and ships.
“This is where my grandfather did most of his work,” says Jake Gorst, the current owner of the house, which came on the market March 2 for $599,900.
Geller was known for his designs of distinctly shaped beach houses, many of which are in the Hamptons, and he also worked on several restaurants in the original World Trade Center complex, including the snack bar area on the observation deck, Gorst says. An executive at the design firm Raymond Loewy Associates, Geller also designed many Lord & Taylor buildings and other department stores, he says.
Geller purchased the Northport house in 1951 with his wife, Shirley, an artist and garden designer. Built in the early 1890s, the home features three bedrooms and 1 1⁄2 bathrooms. Geller, who died in 2011, adorned the walls of the living room with mahogany paneling and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.
“It has everything that your typical midcentury modernist loved,” says Gorst, 47. “But my grandmother was also a traditionalist. So it had an eclectic mix of modern and antique furnishings.”
The dining room, with sliding glass doors that open to a back deck, is separated from the living room by a partial divider that Gorst says Geller constructed from dowels and the home’s original two-by-four beams. All three bedrooms are on the second floor, and one of them has a built-in closet and storage space above the bed, which Geller added.
“I removed some wood paneling in there and found his sketching on the wall from when he was telling the builder what to do,” Gorst says.
Geller also opened the wall along what originally was a private back staircase in the kitchen, which Gorst says was likely used in the early 1900s by the home’s staff to access the upstairs living quarters.
The home, built by the Wood family, was sold to ship captain William Johnson around 1899, says listing agent Patti Farber Bryan of Coach Realtors. Gorst — who has lived in the house since 2011 with his wife and two daughters — says the family has found old newspapers, antique tools, bottles and shells that he believes once belonged to Johnson.
“It’s like a treasure hunt,” he says.
The 0.34-acre property also includes a walk-up attic, an unfinished basement, a detached garage and a garden.
Gorst first met his wife, Tracey, when a mutual friend brought her to the house in 1992. “She literally walked into our future living room,” he says.
The two own a film-production company that specializes in architectural history, and Gorst says three documentaries have been edited in the house. It was also the site where he wrote a book about his grandfather.
“My grandparents did a tremendous amount of creative things in this house,” Gorst says of his grandparents’ paintings, drawings and archives. “And we get to take that with us. ”