Socialite Cornelia Guest’s former home, known as Templeton, the fabled Old Westbury estate that had hosted royalty and fashion icons, is now a pile of rubble.
Paul Mateyunas, an agent with Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Real Estate and a historian of Gold Coast estates, said he was on the property this week and that it is “90 percent demolished.”
Old Westbury Village Administrator Brian Ridgway said all the demolition permits were processed and the village historian approved the demolition because the buildings did not have historic value. The 15.5-acre property sold in 2014 for $5.8 million to Sidhom Ray Trust. Ray Sidhom, a businessman and restaurateur, could not be reached for comment. The property first came on the market in 2008 for $20 million.
The demolition has not come as a surprise.
“When they were in contract, everyone sort of knew the intent of the buyer was to subdivide it into a couple of lots and tear it down,” Mateyunas said.
The property and 29-room Georgian-style mansion had been owned by Guest, who inherited it from her mother, garden columnist and style icon C.Z. Guest and father, polo champ Winston Guest, an heir to the Phipps steel fortune. The estate has hosted the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, the Kennedys, artist Andy Warhol, writer Truman Capote and fashion designers such as Halston, Yves Saint Laurent and Oscar de la Renta.
“It was a hub of social activity on the North Shore,” Mateyunas said.
After selling the estate, Guest, an animal welfare activist, moved to a 450-acre property in upstate Copake, northeast of Rhinebeck, where she created Artemis Farm Rescue, an animal rescue for mini horses and donkeys, with childhood friend Wendy Grant of Brookville. Guest, who has also picked up acting gigs, including a role in the new “Twin Peaks” TV series, transported a statue of the Goddess Diana that greeted guests at the entrance to Templeton to her new property.
“Of course, I feel a little sad, but I have a lot of wonderful memories from Templeton and nothing could ever take those away,” said Guest, upon hearing the home was being torn down.