Situating a home on the peninsula of Sands Point almost assures inspiring water views. And while this 1930s center hall colonial had some of them, the design didn’t take full advantage of the setting. “All the windows were small and they were only in certain spots that were not advantageous to sit at, like in hallways,” said Port Washington-based designer Keith Baltimore. The home needed to fit empty nesters who entertain in a variety of ways, from dinners with a few couples to 80 people for a charity event. Baltimore reconfigured the floor plan and picked furnishings and finishes with low maintenance, flexibility and those water views in mind.
The new family room is comfortable on the coldest day thanks to energy efficient windows that let light in (not drafts) an a bigger fireplace.
The designer added new windows to the back wall of the home, flooding each of the three new rooms—a kitchen flanked by a living and dining room—with light. The kitchen has two personalities: the hardworking center island is topped with durable, absolute black granite because it wears well and cleans easily. It sits in a white kitchen where simple, clean lines and a hidden pantry keep the space a tidy backdrop to the main focus. “The kitchen doesn’t take away from the water view. It’s beautiful, elegant and soft but your eye continues to look right back out onto the water.” A smaller secondary island, topped with a beefy slab of calacatta marble is more for entertaining thanks to the wine refrigerator tucked underneath. “It sits right in the walkway,” Baltimore said. “So you’ve got to walk around the island to go anywhere. It’s the stopping point where you’d put down your drink, a book or newspaper, or a tray while entertaining.”
The octagonal living room just off the kitchen originally had a smaller fireplace. Baltimore enlarged it, lending warmth to the room come winter.
The seating here remains flexible with a deep sofa and swiveling chairs under an adjustable pendant light. “I went with this kind of Mad Men mantel and fireplace with a tile mosaic framed in walnut. You almost hear the martini shaker.”
The long, narrow dining room on the opposite end of the island has two tables in an exclamation point configuration. A round table seats eight inside a bay window for larger gatherings while a short, farmhouse piece works for weeknight dinners when it’s just the homeowners. The two surfaces provide plenty of serving options: fill the round table with guests and use the narrow one as a server or a brunch buffet; or when all the seating is required, the smaller prep island is close enough to function as a server.