When newly retired Karen and John Faraguna moved into their split-level in Westbury, they thought of it as possibly a transitional home until they figured out whether they wanted to stay on Long Island or move south. That was 13 years ago.
"We both love cooking and entertaining, but the way the house was configured ... we just didn't know if we wanted to stay, so we put off doing anything," says Karen, 69, a retired foreign language department head at Great Neck North High School. "It had a small kitchen and a small dining room."
The kitchen, which was closed off from the rest of the first floor, also had small windows looking out onto the backyard. They offered little light, and even less of a view.
Adds John: "It was just dated. Now, we spend the majority of the day on this floor."
Designer Dee Ann Federico, owner of Dee Ann Design in Riverhead, took their vision and turned it into a place they love so much that there is no talk of moving south.
"We had just started ripping out the walls and floor when Sandy struck," Federico says of one of the challenges the remodeling posed. Another was the addition of the couple's daughter, son-in-law and 2- and 4-year-old grandchildren after their own home was rendered uninhabitable by superstorm Sandy. "What was supposed to take nine weeks took four months."
They also lost their contractor, who had to deal with Sandy-related construction.
"Those were tough times," Karen remembers of the cramped quarters and time with a house full of people and no kitchen.