WHEN I FIRST SAW Phyllis Landi’s cedar-shingled cottage on a curving half-acre waterfront lot not far from the ridiculously charming village of Sag Harbor, I thought I’d found my dream house. Of course, Phyllis, a freelance TV producer, lives there, and has no intention of moving.
But this house has it all, in my book: location cubed, and the warmth that comes only with age (it was built in 1908). And, like all my favorite houses, it’s quirky: the house, now around 750 square feet, was once twice the size. Owned by two sisters, it was cut in half at some point, and the other half moved down the road a piece.
Phyllis, who bought the cottage in the early ’80s, used it for many years as a weekend place, and now lives there full time, did all the right things. She put on an addition for a kitchen and breakfast nook, opened a wall between the two main rooms to create one expansive living/dining area , and put French doors on the back, bringing in light and leading to a deck that must be glorious in warm weather.
Yes, it’s tiny, but perfect for a woman and her 3-month-old golden Lab puppy, Wilson (there’s one bedroom in the attic loft, and a daybed for guests in the sunroom, above).
It helps that Phyllis has a confident hand with decorating. She painted dark paneled walls and woodwork mostly Linen White (she painted right over the panels in the living room, below, and added wainscotting up to chair rail height in the dining room). She stuck to a neutral palette to keep things serene and uncluttered. Most of the furnishings have a 1930s-’50s aesthetic.
The main pieces are a ‘pretzel’ rattan sofa and chairs in the living room, which came from Secondhand Rose in New York; a blond wood Heywood-Wakefield dining table, hutch, and console, below; Eames chairs in the same pale wood; a shag wool rug and George Nelson daybed from Design Within Reach.
The kitchen has a classic cottage look, all white with pieces of collectible art pottery and Fiestaware providing splashes of aqua and green.
In the attic bedroom, Phyllis built a window seat with storage beneath.
After visiting Phyllis for the first time, I decided I’d move a mountain to get a place like hers. Later, when I found out what it was worth (well upwards of a million), I realized I’d have to move an entire mountain range, which is beyond my capabilities. So I went back to my own cottage in the woods, a tad disappointed, but delighted that such a place even exists.
A giant shout-out to Carrie of Brick City Love, who blogs about the ongoing renovation of her Newark, NJ, rowhouse, for her patient tutuorial in uploading pictures to WordPress from Flickr. She has saved me untold hours of time and aggravation. THANK YOU CARRIE!!