Long Island sometimes gets a bum rap when it comes to architectural diversity, partly due to a spate of cookie-cutter developments with identical homes that sprang up here in the post-war period.
But Long Island homes, like the people here, come in all shapes and sizes, with something for everyone. From Colonials to Contemporaries, we've got them all.
Yet, within this diverse range of styles, there are still some homes on the market that seem to break the mold. Here is a sampling of the more unusual ones.
PRICE $2.295 million
WHAT French chateau-inspired estate
WHERE 634 Bread and Cheese Hollow Rd.
LISTING HISTORY Since September, first for $2.4 million
WHAT MAKES IT UNIQUE It's not every day you come across a French chateau on Long Island. This 4.11-acre estate, built in 2006, features amenities that every aspiring royal requires, including a stately turret, Juliette balconies and a grand entry spiral staircase.
OTHER FEATURES The owners, who are in the concrete construction business, were inspired by trips abroad. "We love European architecture," one says. The home, he says, "gives a feeling of being in another place and time." There are five bedrooms and 31/2 baths, a guest suite and views of a well-stocked Koi pond from the master bedroom.
LISTING AGENTS James and Julia Spampinato, Coach Realtors, 631-757-4000, ext. 109
WHAT 1920s summer bungalow-turned-Contemporary
WHERE 188 Brown St.
LISTED SINCE February
WHAT MAKES IT UNIQUE In a community full of Victorians and vintage summer bungalows, this angular Contemporary, perched on a cliff, stands apart, says listing agent Patricia Zebrowski. The home was a 1925 summer bungalow. The current owner's father, architect Kenneth J. Kraus, worked on the plans for the recent transformation to a more modern dwelling. Zebrowski likens the interior to a Manhattan loft. "It's ... not typical for a house in Sea Cliff," she says.
OTHER FEATURES The home has three bedrooms and 21/2 baths on just over half an acre with beach rights. "It's like being up in a birdhouse," she says.
LISTING AGENT Patricia Zebrowski, Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty, 516-759-6822, ext. 220
WHAT Geodesic dome in Eatons Neck
WHERE 1 Canterbury Dr.
TIME ON MARKET Since September
WHAT MAKES IT UNIQUE There are only a handful of geodesic dome residences on Long Island, says listing agent Jamie Marcantonio. This one, built in 1986, sits on a third of an acre, only half a block from a private beach. Geodesic domes were first designed by inventor Buckminster Fuller in the late 1940s as spherical structures using a connected series of triangles. They are built to be sturdy and environmentally friendly. "The home is incredibly energy-efficient," Marcantonio says, adding that the current owners spent about $700 last year on fuel. "Because of the angles, the heat does not escape in the winter, and in the summer the home stays cool with central air-conditioning," she says.
OTHER FEATURES This three-bedroom, two-bath cedar shake home has cathedral ceilings, new granite counters, a Jacuzzi and French doors, as well as water views from the dining room. Marcantonio says the home is much larger than it appears from the outside. "When you get inside, you realize it is actually a decent-sized home." There is 1,830 square feet of living space.
LISTING AGENT Jamie Marcantonio, Coldwell Banker Residential, Northport, 631-262-7377
WHAT Midcentury modern "Butterfly House"
WHERE 1 Maritime Way
LISTING HISTORY Listed in June 2008 for $760,000
WHAT MAKES IT UNIQUE This three-bedroom, two-bath home, shaped like the wings of a butterfly, was built in the Springs section of East Hampton in 1964 by architect Henry T. Howard. One bedroom was originally designed as an artist's studio and has a foldable wall connecting to the great room. "It's really like living inside a sculpture. It's one of a kind," says listing agent Arlene Reckson.
OTHER FEATURES The home is built on .58 acres, with 1,050 square feet of living space and room for a pool. The home is within walking distance of the Springs General Store, whose patrons included Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning.
LISTING AGENT Arlene Reckson, The Corcoran Group, 631-267-7422
WHAT Home shaped like a seashell
WHERE 17 Congdon Rd.
LISTING HISTORY Listed since March 2009, originally at $999,000
WHAT MAKES IT UNIQUE The house has a spiral shape like a seashell on the outside, and it is outfitted like a ship in the interior, says listing agent Margaret Colligan. The original owners were a Manhattan couple who worked in the fashion-design industry, loved the sea and saw the nautilus shell as a symbol of it. They bought the property and built the home here during a four-year period in the early 1970s. Colligan says that because of the circular design and sometimes tight spaces, it would not suit families with young children but would be perfect for retirees or young couples.
OTHER FEATURES There are two bedrooms and two baths. Colligan says some of the furniture, such as couches and bookcases, are built in to conserve space. The kitchen cabinets open from both sides, so they can be accessed from the kitchen and the dining room.
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