Historic homes tour
Before and after renovation photos of the Moloney home on Middle Road.

Photos provided by Moloney family

Historic homes tour

Story By: MONICA MUSETTI-CARLIN
11/2/2017


BAYPORT—On Oct. 22, the Bayport Heritage Association held its 30th Autumn House Tour featuring six homes in various stages of restoration with two magnificently completed. BHA president Mary Bailey and director Kristy Giacchetto organized 70 volunteers to act as docents for the afternoon. “This is such a great day with the whole community involved,” Giacchetto said.

Each home had its own unique appeal. The home at the mouth of Corey Creek had originally been a historic barn. Notably, there were hand-milled ceiling beams made in Patchogue in 1893. The cozy, inviting reading room with an imbedded marble fireplace was lit to delight the attendees and led to a rustic patio. Wide Brazilian-cherry plank floors spanned the entire open floor plan. The living room, with a massive glass fireplace, had door-length windows.  This home, with its inventive, creative style, was one of the favorites on the tour. “Who would ever have thought of such an interesting way to build a home?” said one attendee.  Another, Kay Cameron, said, “I felt I could sit down and relax in that living room and kitchen.”

Another marvelous house on the tour, the Behman’s Pond home, is actually up for sale. The pond is home to egrets, osprey and plover in the spring and summer and ice skaters in the winter. Originally part of the 1883 Behman’s estate, the home – which was originally on 30 acres – belonged to Louis C. Behman, a wealthy theatrical producer from Brooklyn. Besides ice-skating, the frozen pond was used for ice, which was stored in their own ice house, the bones of which still exist leading to the rest of the home.  Every pond-side room has a view.

The home on Blue Point Avenue dating back to 1894 actually looks very much as it did back then, with its cone-shaped turret.  A porch was added later on.  This was one of Long Island’s original Gold Coast homes, with original hardwood molding, decorative newels and balusters and tigerwood grain staircase.  Pedestal sinks and tubs still stand in the bathrooms and there are three fireplaces. 

The Moloney home on Middle Road was the largest house on the tour. The once-derelict property was transformed over a year’s time to become one of the most impressive homes in the area.  “Wow, wow and wow!” said one of the visitors as they walked into the sunroom bathed in light. Neighbor Jackie McCormack came on the tour because she couldn’t wait to see all the changes they had made.  

Peter and Abby Moloney took time to speak with me about their property and the 18 months it took to complete the restoration. “We had been driving to dinner at Bistro 25 when we noticed a For Sale sign,” said Abby.  “The house was a big mess.” Covered in brambles with porches actually falling off, they looked at it online and once they’d seen the layout of the rooms, they called the listing realtor and went to see it the next day.  “We went back and forth with each other several times...should we buy it, should we not?” Finally in November 2015, they purchased it.

During the renovation, they stripped down everything to the studs. There was no insulation, so all the plaster walls were replaced with drywall. They took down every molding, fireplace, cabinetry, doors, windows and hardware first, numbering the pieces and then storing them as the work on the interior was done.  The parquet floors were taken up and all the floors leveled with radiant heat throughout. The crooked ceilings were remedied and they built an impressive butler’s pantry with a food pantry within it off the kitchen.  Beautiful landscaping was installed in the backyard, along with a heated pool and an outdoor living room complete with a built-in fireplace.  Peter meticulously hand-restored the hand-tooled leather ceiling in the dining room, and then carefully covered it up until all the dust settled from the masonry and carpentry. The six fireplaces in the home were converted to gas.  Having three floors, they installed an elevator with an eye toward their future. Since the property didn’t have a garage, the Moloneys, with the help of their architect Al Sutton, took a portion of the west sunroom and created one, keeping the entire remaining wall of floor-to-ceiling doors intact, flooding the room with light.

Abby was completely responsible for the interior decorating, using classic whites and colors gentle on the eyes.  “We brought as many pieces from our home into our new home,” she said. It’s a mix of antiques, homey chairs and well-chosen artwork.  It’s also a smart home, with remote access throughout for the security, lights, pool, thermostats, cameras and stereo. Their vision for the project was to restore the house to its former and natural glory. 

The Moloneys both felt they’d like to show their home in this year’s house tour as a way of giving back to their new community, who has welcomed them with open arms.  

BHA’s next event will be held on Saturday, Dec. 2 and Sunday, Dec. 3 at Meadow Croft on Middle Road in Sayville. Join in on the holiday revelry for “A Silver and Gold Christmas,” with magnificent Dutch, Victorian and Edwardian Christmas decorations; vintage clothing, cookies and hot chocolate, music and a visit with St. Nicholas! For more information, contact Bbphistorical@gmail.com.

Note: Some historic details in this article are courtesy of Bayport Heritage Association.