The Badgley Mischka fashion label turns up on plenty of red carpets where luminaries such as Jennifer Lopez, Kate Winslet and Helen Mirren strut the venerable brand’s glamorous cocktail frocks and gowns. But you won’t find a stitch of red carpet in the tasteful Long Island homes of designers Mark Badgley and James Mischka, both 55, who have been business partners for almost three decades and who married in 2013.
In the past 20 years, the design team has lived in nine houses on Long Island (three owned, six rented), migrating from the Hamptons to the North Shore, from which they commute daily to their Seventh Avenue offices. And now, after only a year, which includes a six-month renovation period, they’re selling their newest abode — a swanky four-bedroom, 4 1⁄2-bath Mediterranean-style home sprawled on mostly one floor in Oyster Bay Cove.
“It’s not because we don’t love it. We do, and we thought it was our forever house,” says Badgley, who admits to being a serial house hunter and buyer, adding that he’s almost afraid to tell his mom he’s moving again lest she think him mad. “But we fell in love with something else.” (Shhh! It’s a waterfront property.)
It was last Christmas when their Realtor, Cottie Maxwell Pournaras, an associate broker at Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty, implored them to visit the house. They agreed to see it despite a harried schedule, and bought it pretty much on the spot. “Within three hours, we had a deal,” says Mischka.
Pournaras says that the men’s last home, a “magical” carriage house in Matinecock, would’ve been a keeper, too, were it not for the family dogs — three dachshunds, Rommel, Wally and Whiskey — who found the stairs daunting. That house sold in less than three weeks.
“This house had great bones,” says Mischka of the Oyster Bay Cove home he and Mischka are now selling. “It was built in 1962 and while it was extremely well built, the kitchen and all of the bathrooms were original and had to be addressed. And it was missing that ‘wow’ factor.”
A meandering driveway on a lushly treed, two-acre-plus property leads to the stucco residence, where guests are greeted by swirly wrought-iron gates salvaged from a 1920s Palm Beach estate. Standing at them, a visitor can look straight through to the home’s heart, a pebbled courtyard that can easily accommodate 60 for cocktails, complete with a bubbling fountain, wisteria-draped pergola and accessible by way of French doors from almost every room in the house. “It’s so inviting,” says Badgley of his favorite spot. “People pop in for 10 minutes and hours later they’re still lying in a lounge chair. It’s very romantic, with the sound of the fountain, the fragrance of the flowers — it’s like coming home to a resort.”
For Mischka, the family chef, the kitchen wins best-room award. “We like our kitchens to be warm and inviting, but a little bit sleek,” he says. Thick cherry wood counters are set with contrasting stainless steel sinks atop dark cabinets. Airy glass shelves from Urban Archaeology have replaced upper cabinets. At the center of the room sits a black, round antique table surrounded by oversized Windsor chairs from Kentucky, where the couple once owned a home. Hanging above, an eye-catching sculptural light fixture reads industrial yet somehow conjures stirrups underscoring the equestrian theme (Badgley’s a serious rider) that runs through the house. The kitchen is outfitted with a hefty Sub-Zero refrigerator and a Bertazzoni oven, which Michska calls “the Ferrari of stoves.”
Perhaps most striking here and throughout the home’s entryway are the stunning concrete floor tiles in heritage Cuban patterns that are handmade in the Dominican Republic. “They’re beautiful and artisanal and almost indestructible, which is good for the dogs,” says Mischka. “There’s an Old World ambience to them,” says Badgley. In that vein, Mischka has chosen hardware that feels more like the 1920s than it does the ’60s: vintage rattail door handles from England; brass heat registers; antique reproduction push-button light switches.
Mischka calls the handsome living room that boasts a wall-sized built-in for books and collectibles “a modern gentleman’s club.” An enormous tufted leather sofa is fronted by what was a 10-foot-long farm table with its legs cut down. Antique mirrors from an old barbershop are hung above. “Our homes are very classic and timeless,” says Badgley. “I don’t want to look at a picture of our house years from now and say, ‘Oh my God, what were we thinking?’ It’s the same as a woman who doesn’t want to look at a photo of herself at her wedding and think, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe I wore that.’ ”
But worse than trendy for Badgley is dull. “I can’t stand a boring house. A room should be seductive and alluring. To me, this living room is gorgeous and forever like a perfect little black dress or Cary Grant in a tuxedo.”
Each of the four bedrooms has an en suite bath, all perfect blends of Hollywood glamour-meets-spa. The master bath, a serene space featuring intricate Carrara marble tiling and a Calacatta gold marble double sink counter, has warm brass fixtures and an oversized shower.
Mischka describes the home’s vibe as “comfortable drama. That’s our mantra when it comes to our clothes, too, because even though they’re extremely dramatic and formal, it’s very important that they’re comfortable.”
In fact, designing a house and a fashion collection have a lot in common, say the men. “It’s a collage of influences and the sum of many parts,” says Mischka. (Incidentally, they are presenting their spring ’17 collection in their showroom during New York Fashion Week, which begins Thursday). “When we put our shows together, the handbags may come from Italy, the beading from India, the fabrics from France.” And when a house is finally completed, “it’s like seeing all the girls line up ready to walk down the runway,” says Badgley, referring to the models backstage.
And now, says Mischka, “We are ready for our next project. ”
ASKING PRICE $1.895 million
LOCATION OYSTER BAY COVE
PROPERTY TAXES $19,618
LOT SIZE 2.16 acres
SQUARE FOOTAGE 4,418
BATHROOMS 4 1⁄2
EXTRAS Beach and mooring rights
LISTING AGENT Kathryn “Cottie” Maxwell Pournaras, Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty, 516-759-4800