Tammy Scileppi


Modernized Historic Oyster Bay Estate Offers Luxury Lifestyle

Imagine everyday life at Swan Cove, a fabulous Gold Coast estate fit for a duke and duchess, or a celeb such as former Yankees/Mets pitcher and current Yankees TV analyst David Cone, who once rented the resort-style residence before the current homeowners purchased it.

The six-bedroom, eight-bathroom single family colonial at 83 Cove Neck Road in Oyster Bay’s Cove Neck last changed hands 20-plus years ago. Envision 7-plus bucolic acres of gently sloping lawn and gardens that segue to a sandy beach at the water’s edge, unforgettable western sunsets, and stunning views courtesy of Oyster Bay Harbor. And lovers of water sports and leisure activities will surely appreciate the convenient access provided.

“There are so many special features to this exceptional property, including the waterfront and panoramic water views, the dock, legal three-plus bedroom, two-full bath rental cottage [with three-bay garage],” says listing agent Carol Cotton of Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty in Locust Valley.

“The house itself is a marvel in that the two original structures have been seamlessly combined to create a warm, inviting home [renowned architect James Gamble Rogers directed alterations in 1924],” Cotton says. “The homeowners have thoroughly enjoyed sharing this property with their family and friends and look forward to having the next owners create their own memories.”

During a renovation in 1998, the current owners restored many of the original details that add to the character and are a reminder of the origins of the house. The reno included all new baths, kitchen, and mechanical systems, among other upgrades.

Another great selling point: the home’s proximity to the Village of Cove Neck, where there’s no shortage of fine dining and shopping, access to cultural venues, and more. And, it’s only 40 miles from Manhattan. 

This lavish lifestyle can be yours for just $5,495,000. 


Cove Neck is the site of President Theodore Roosevelt’s home. His estate, Sagamore Hill, is a popular museum and national park.

Built in 1949, Swan Cove was originally part of the Smith Farm and constructed as a farmhouse and barn in 1829, says the homeowner, describing it as a wonderful mix of new and old. There’s a spacious living room boasting an original fireplace with vintage mantel and moldings opposite stunning harbor views, a paneled library/office with a fireplace, and an amazing spa bathroom featuring French doors that lead to a balcony with great views.

The home also has entertaining space that expands out to the great outdoors via five sets of French doors, revealing scenic marsh views from the bluestone porch and patio that wrap around the side and rear of the home, and lots more.


Elements such as the timeless architectural style, historical significance, and quality of construction and renovations, all contribute to the property’s value. 

According to the listing, a cedar shingle roof with a third level dormer sits atop the white-shingled façade. Leaded-glass lights frame the red front doorway and benches flank the welcoming centerpiece columned portico. Next to the inviting foyer with hardwood floors is a coat room and powder room leading to a wet bar area with fridge and ice maker, then into the downstairs library/TV room with another fireplace. 

Additional plusses include a deeded dock (village permits for two deep-water moorings may be obtained on an annual basis), a heated Gunite swimming pool, and adjacent cabin with utilities and pool house potential. 

Aside from its primo location, so many aspects of this 6,826-square-foot dwelling are worth celebrating.

Water views form a backdrop to the dining room’s focal point: a wall of floor-to-ceiling paned windows. More romantic French doors open to the patio dining area. Custom goodies include a family/TV room with built-in banquette adjacent to the chef’s kitchen with custom cabinetry/granite countertops. 

Top-of-the-line appliances include a six-burner gas range with grill and two dishwashers. The breakfast area is tucked into a wide bay with windows. In the kitchen is a wine fridge, pantry closet, and another Sub-Zero fridge/freezer. 

The foyer’s main staircase leads to the second floor, showcasing a luxurious master suite wing and beautifully appointed library, complete with book-lined walls of cherrywood cabinetry, fireplace, and high tray ceiling. There are five more bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms. Behold a spa master bathroom of Carrera marble with two sinks, heated floor, soaking tub, large steam shower and nice built-ins. 

The entire house can be powered by its own backup generator and has an irrigation system, multizone heating/central AC, landscape lighting, and sound system. 

While enhancing their beloved abode with a host of modern enhancements, the homeowners have always kept its roots in mind. 

For more information, contact Carol A. Cotton, Associate Real Estate Broker, Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty at 516-359-7946 (cell) / 516-759-4800 x178 (office) or Barbara Candee, Associate Real Estate Broker: 516-456-0330 (cell)

How To Redesign Your Home With Zen in Mind

While many folks make New Year’s resolutions that revolve around getting a better bod, others choose to look inward and seek ways to find joy and inner peace through meditation and mindfulness.        

And experts agree that it’s important to de-stress after the holidays. 

“Take a deep, cleansing breath and re-experience the little things as you go through your day,” says former Buddhist monk-turned-psychotherapist and author Donald Altman, who, along with local design team Twice As Nice Interiors in East Islip, offer creative solutions toward achieving a Zen lifestyle and bringing that relaxed vibe into indoor and outdoor spaces.

Escape for a while and find tranquility at home by creating a peaceful sanctuary away from the concrete jungle of New York City. Infusing your surroundings with positive energy and calming, Zen-inspired design is easy… and therapeutic. 


“Creating a Zen environment either inside or outdoors should be first and foremost, clutter free,” says Twice As Nice Interiors owner Mary Middlemiss. “If creating a space outdoors, pathways lined in greenery and rocks leading up to a quiet space with a water feature are always good ideas. Adding a swing is an extra bonus! 

She offers guidelines while designing our interior spaces.

“Use colors that represent nature,” she says. “Keep it as natural as possible. Textiles that are light and soft are important. Natural light is key. 

“Keep furniture to a minimum but also consider using natural wood or stone products,” she continues. “Today’s furniture industry has changed so much, with too many products being produced in China with toxic chemicals and fibers. We are a green company and are very careful with our design selections.” 

She adds: “Lastly, we always encourage our clients to enhance your space with a natural oils scent through a diffuser to not only add freshness, but calm and balance.” 


Entrepreneur, hip-hop mogul, and best-selling author Russell Simmons believes the most fundamental key to success is meditation. His Manhattan townhouse – featured in HGTV’s episode about Zen-inspired homes – reflects his devotion to yoga and Eastern philosophies in its unique décor and design. Emmy® Award-winning actress Jaime Pressley’s home reveals Asian art and statues of Buddha set against neutral colors. In another episode, designer Genevieve Gorder transforms a boring backyard into a relaxing, Asian-style retreat.


Altman, who’s had years of clinical experience, says his approach with clients then, and with his books and workshops now, is simple.

To cultivate a more Zen approach at home or work, he suggests decorating with tranquil, pleasant, and meaningful objects.

“Objects from our past can have a calming effect and will help you get into the present moment,” he explains. “Photos of loved ones, a family keepsake, religious icon, and even the symbol of a favorite hobby or sports team can invite a feeling of peace and joy. In my own office, I have the baseball glove I used as a teen. It reminds me of my history and something pleasant from my life.”

Altman says that looking for that wholeness within is a journey for everyone. 

“When I had the opportunity to ordain in a monastery headed by a well-known teaching monk, I got some immediate lessons on how the mind works,” he shares. “That’s because in a monastery you don’t get distracted by computers, phones, TV, and a million other things that keep you from watching the mind!” 

Fortunately, one need not enter a monastery to discover that pearl. Altman’s books, 101 Mindful Ways to Build Resilience and One-Minute Mindfulness, are filled with quick, effective practices for gaining clarity, emotional regulation, de-stressing, and accessing the here and now.

“Who wants to live in fear?” he asks. “We are meant to find joy, to find light. That means understanding that stress and suffering is universal. Once we know that, we can recognize that the antidote is love and compassion.”

He adds, “And gratitude is in all my books because it’s such a powerful medicine for overcoming negative emotions and cultivating connection with others.” 

Historic South Shore Colonial Boasting Eye-catching Gardens Sits Between Two Top Villages

Before becoming the nation’s second president in 1797, John Adams built his reputation as a blunt-speaking man of independent mind. He would have loved knowing that this grand East Patchogue John Adams Colonial nestled on almost two acres of beautifully landscaped grounds embellished with a surprising koi pond and amazing gardens was named after him. 

Every home has a story to tell, especially when it’s steeped in history like this one. Constructed in 1918 for the prestigious Robinson family, who were active in the community, this magnificent and very private John Adams Center Hall colonial with four levels located at 149 South Country Road has only housed three families since that time. It is truly a must-see and the price is right at $1,150,000.

“Views of the enchanting gardens can be had from just about every room in the house but are particularly enjoyable from the large screened porch just off the formal living room,” says Anthony Gandolfo, associate real estate broker at Rice Realty Group, Inc. in Bellport.

“This stately home is located conveniently between two premiere South Shore villages – the historic Village of Bellport and bustling Downtown Patchogue — just named one of the Great Places in America 2019 by the American Planning Association,” he adds. “Both offer spectacular restaurants, unique shops and boutiques, and theaters showcasing top-notch talent and entertainment all year round.”

It took years for the current owners, Long Island native Tara Graskemper and her husband Joseph P. Graskemper, D.D.S., to fully restore the interior, exterior, and grounds to reflect the home’s glory days, enhanced by modern conveniences.

Just down the road is an 18-hole bayfront golf course at the Bellport Country Club. Ferries to Fire Island are minutes away. MacArthur Airport is a 15-minute drive and Patchogue’s Long Island Rail Road train station is a mere 1.5 miles from the home. 

The front of this 4,000-square-foot showpiece boasts a large hedge bordered by an expansive lawn. That part of the property housed a nursery at one time, hence, the variety of specimen plantings and trees, all of which have been brought back and lovingly maintained. 

Original interior details include push button lights, oak and mahogany flooring with inlay, solid mahogany interior doors with crystal knobs, original picture molding, and much more, according to the homeowners, who moved to the area from San Diego in 1996 and raised their three children in the home. The couple, who decided to downsize, has been very involved in their community. And the property has been used as the backdrop for charity events in the past.  

The family has enjoyed four comfortable bedrooms, including a luxurious master with private deck. There are three full bathrooms and one half-bath as well. Both the fully finished third floor and finished basement have heating and plumbing. 

An inviting foyer showcases a dramatic staircase. To the left, a focus wall in the formal living room features a cozy fireplace. Walk through the double sets of French doors and discover a relaxing screened-in porch with slate floor that looks out on stunning views of the surrounding gardens. 

According to the homeowner, the elegant formal dining room right off the kitchen has seen many holiday feasts and intimate dinners. She points out that meal prep is a breeze in the gleaming, stylishly designed and thoughtfully planned kitchen, which boasts premium appliances including a six-burner Thermador gas stove, Sub-Zero fridge, and Viking dishwasher, while still maintaining the original integrity of the room. This space gracefully flows into a sunny dining area with views of the yard and gardens. 

Every summer, lucky guests and family members have taken dips in the large in-ground swimming pool recently redone with Diamond Brite Coating, and sunbathed on the patio where tall hedges maintain privacy. Just beyond, there’s a lovely Cape Cod-style guest/pool house and fully functional Lord & Burnham greenhouse, made of cypress and glass to last a lifetime. 

Notable features/upgrades include a four-car garage, full security system, upgraded heating system, and steel beam construction, as well as hidden fencing for the pool and fencing around the immediate backyard. All gates are custom made.

“149 South Country Road is a perfect home for those wanting classic charm with the best of Long Island just outside their door,” Gandolfo points out. 

“We spent the best time of our lives in this house,” adds Ms. Graskemper, who says she also loves the sense of community. “It’s been a great home; very good to us, and a labor of love.”

“The house feels alive to me,” he continues. “It feels like I’ve been here only as a guardian, taking care of it til the next family moves in. And now it’s time to move on.”

Contact Anthony Gandolfo, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, Rice Realty Group Inc.:

Direct: 917-975-5646 / anthony@ricerealty1.com  

Danish and Japanese Interior Design Trends Take Hold in U.S.

Hygge, a hot decorating trend rooted in Danish culture, is all about creating a warm, welcoming home, such as this Laurel Hollow living room designed by Sandra Asdourian. (Photo by Brian Berkowitz)

Embrace life’s simple pleasures by finding joy in the warmth, beauty, and comforts of wellness décor. 

Anyone can create comfy, cozy-chic, uncluttered living spaces that promote emotional and spiritual well-being. So, why not do like the Danes — who may be the happiest people on the planet — and change things up in 2020?  

Declutter and cozy up to hygge (pronounced HYOO-guh) and discover what some say are healing benefits. This hot, Danish-inspired contemporary design trend, which goes well with a laid-back lifestyle, is based on a culture that believes in providing a warm, welcoming environment, finding contentment in everyday life, and being in the moment, as well as living with less. But adopting that philosophy can be challenging. 

“You have to live with intention and practice mindfulness every day, knowing that you have a goal,” says Certified Professional Organizer/Feng Shui Consultant Cynthia Braun, who has been helping many Long Island families find calm through order for years. 

“My clients say they would like to achieve a minimalist lifestyle, but most people have an emotional attachment to their stuff and can’t let go,” she adds. “There’s also a need to fill up empty spaces.”

And that’s a big no-no in wellness design. 


Sophisticated and eye-catching, hygge decor can be seen everywhere these days and is reflected in warm, sunny living spaces that feature a neutral color scheme mixed with earthy hues drawn from nature, streamlined furnishings (mid-century modern styles, etc.), furry accent rugs and snuggly throws, natural materials, and decorative pillows in a variety of textures, including faux fur.

At the heart of these spaces sits a cozy gathering spot where everyone feels welcome and families can unwind together. 

“More and more of my clients have been asking for cozy, comfortable hygge spaces in their homes,” says local designer Sandra Asdourian. “They want a room to relax in, something less formal. They may be having an elegant cocktail party in their living room, but want a family room that’s relaxed. 

“Big sectional sofas with lots of pillows in neutral nature fabrics and textures,” she continues. “A place to sink into and put your feet up while reading or watching TV. Also, room to play board games or cards with friends and family.”


Scientists have found a connection between acquisition and unhappiness.

A great way to jump-start your wellness journey at home and find more inner peace in the new year is by getting rid of things that don’t bring joy, clearing surfaces, creating more space, and moving furniture around to free up the circulation flow. Find a relaxing nook near a sunny window; reboot with a Zen meditation/yoga corner. Bring the outside in with nature views or greenery like spider plants and bamboo palms that purify the air (or use a room purifier); add an indoor fountain.

DIY hygge design ideas are easy to achieve. 

“It all ties into great feng shui,” says Braun, who’s a wiz at transforming spaces by bringing in positive energy, good fortune, and tranquility through the magic of furniture placement and symbolic colors.


Rooted in Asian philosophy dating back 5,000 years, another popular trend celebrates life’s imperfections, authenticity, and a lived-in feeling. 

The antithesis of a ‘too-much’ society, Japanese-inspired wabi-sabi is the search for timeless wisdom. In decorating, the key attributes are asymmetry, irregularity, simplicity, and modesty. Choose natural-looking pieces that show wear over time, such as leather, wood, and linen, and simple, modern furniture. Highlight old elements; objects with patina add charm and excitement. Honor ceramics; mix styles and finishes; avoid bright colors.

Both hygge and wabi-sabi philosophies promote a sense of well-being and value quality of life over material things.

So, celebrate the true meaning of family and snuggle up with loved ones, break bread with good friends, and reimagine your living space.

Fully Restored Floral Park Victorian Boasts Original Details, Modern Upgrades

This eye-catching, storybook Victorian is getting a big thumbs up from delighted neighbors and visitors. 

Nestled against a picture-perfect autumn scene, on a quiet tree-lined street, the recently renovated and oh-so-charming historic residence awaits its new owner. The property is located at 285 Lowell Avenue in the Village of Floral Park in Nassau County, which neighbors Floral Park, Queens. Built around 1894, the home’s original owner was an animal lover and veterinarian named Dr. William Van Nostrand.

“It’s a perfect mix of classic and new,” says broker James McGuire of Andron Realty Group, who points out that all the original architectural details and woodwork on the exterior and interior have been lovingly and meticulously preserved and restored by the current owner and local contractor Gregory Kelly of K & B General Contracting, who has lived in the area for 50 years. “The homeowner really admires old-world craftsmanship and has taken great care and pride in restoring this home to its original glory.” 

Boasting both practical and beautiful “bells and whistles” features, this striking 2,269-square-foot, single-family home, which graces an expansive 7,020-square-foot lot, has been completely updated and improved for modern living with top-of-the-line kitchen and bathrooms. Yet it maintains its charming character, as evidenced by the wonderful wood trim and moldings, the original oak hardwood flooring with mahogany border throughout much of the home, pine floors in the second-floor bedrooms, and original pocket doors. A cozy, wood-burning fireplace with an exposed brick accent wall above, serves as the focal point in the den and is perfect for those chilly winter evenings and roasting marshmallows.

Curious residents have been visiting the popular Victorian and marveling at its new look. While exploring the first and second floors via two staircases in between, check out the comfortable living spaces: The first floor has a convenient half bath and the nice-sized living and formal dining rooms eagerly await those merry holiday guests who may soon gather round for drinks, festive meals, and good conversation. The modern eat-in kitchen has special features, including a farm-style sink and a pot filler/water spout at the stove — nice perks for the avid cook — low maintenance (heat- and bacteria-resistant) quartz countertops and island, as well as Frigidaire Gallery appliances.

On the second floor is an impressive master bedroom with an en-suite bathroom and walk-in closet, three more bedrooms, and a full bathroom. One flight up, discover a full walk-up attic with bonus room and a cedar closet. And down below is a partially finished basement with a full-size pool table, washer, and dryer. Outside it has a detached two-car garage.

Kelly purchased the property one year ago and is selling it for $998,000. Thanks to his amazing skills and know-how, the house is in mint condition. Modern improvements include updated systems, a new furnace, and a new 50-gallon hot water tank.

The exterior has been completely restored, including all the original finishes, according to McGuire, who points out that the original wood siding was preserved and painted in colonial blue with a complimentary accent color scheme, while the copper exterior gutters/leaders provide another finishing accent.

“This home is not a historic landmark, so there is no restriction on future renovations/color changes, if the new owner wishes to customize the house,” McGuire explains.

Folks who visit may wish to take a few minutes to enjoy the inviting front porch which has a romantic swing and bench seat, then take a walk around the nabe and see why Floral Park is considered such a safe and desirable area.

“Floral Park’s motto is, ‘a great place to live,’” says McGuire. Some of the reasons: the recreation center with newly renovated, residents-only pool, as well as a children’s park area with athletic fields and courts. 

“There’s a small-town community feel, and so many restaurants and shops — all within walking distance,” he adds. “And historic Belmont Park is only a mile away.” 

More plusses: The home isn’t far from the Long Island Rail Road station, making for an easy commute, with only a 35-minute ride to Manhattan. And the village has a private police department and its own fire and sanitation departments. In addition, its elementary and high schools are highly rated.

“Generations of people have come back to look at the home — former residents and neighbors who grew up in the area,” says McGuire. “Some even recall Girl Scout meetings there. This home is now ready for the family that will write the next chapter of history in the Village of Floral Park.”

Contact James A. McGuire, CBR, Associate Real Estate Broker at 516-662 4657/JamesM@AndronRealtyGroup.com 


Pro Tips To Make Aging At Home Easier For Everyone

Bright colors, plenty of natural light, and extra lighting are among the design suggestions the pros give for those retiring at home. (Getty Images)

As about 10,000 Baby Boomers retire every day, many want to spend their golden years in their own homes.

With that comes the need to mitigate mobility issues, such as installing a stairlift or a walk-in tub to avoid falls, all of which requires some atypical renovations.

“Everyone wants to stay at home if possible and be comfortable at home as they age,” says Dr. Lucy Macina, attending physician at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola in the division of geriatrics. “But it takes a bit of planning and making environmental changes.” 

Here’s some tips from the pros. 


These days, homeowners have a wide range of cool design options that can help them age in place with grace. 

“Good universal design aims to provide enhancements to one’s living environment by making it safer for daily functioning and navigation,” says Tonia Omeltchenko of Fox + Chenko Interiors, a local design firm. 

She suggests levers instead of knobs on doors and faucets, motion-activated faucets and lighting, pullouts for easier access in kitchen and bathroom cabinetry, and smart technology such as voice-activated lighting and thermostats.  

A certified aging in place specialist can retrofit a senior’s home with a great security system for around the same cost as one month in an assisted living facility. These systems are not exclusively designed for caregiving functions.

Aesthetic solutions that can make living spaces geriatric-friendly on any budget include widening doorways to accommodate a walker or wheelchair, reachable pullout storage solutions, and towel racks that can double as grab bars when balance grows unsteady. Consider lowered countertops with freezer and microwave drawers underneath, open spaces under the cooktop and sink, and trendy wall-mounted bathroom sinks that also leave space for walkers and wheelchairs.  


Seniors and their families should think ahead. The National Institute on Aging suggests that a caregiver for an older adult learn how to get the senior the support needed to stay at home. 

“Rethinking the layout of your home can result in new ways to use an old space, or a more efficient use of your square footage,” says Jean Brownhill, founder and CEO of Sweeten, a free service that matches renovators with vetted general contractors, monitoring the project to completion. “Being smart about storage not only means items are easily within arm’s reach, it ensures clutter is tucked away so that surfaces and floor space have a clear path.”  

Among Sweeten’s projects that helped seniors age at home comfortably was a family whose aging mother needed a one-floor living situation so she wouldn’t need stairs to use the bathroom or kitchen. That meant converting an extra room on the first floor into a senior-friendly bathroom adjacent to her bedroom. So the contractor installed an easy-to-slide pocket door between the bedroom and bathroom, a handle on the outside of the shower, an ADA-compliant toilet, and ensured the curbless shower entry was large enough to accommodate a shower chair. 


“We find that there are two main issues that seniors and their families face and should consider when planning for the future: physical challenges such as diminishing vision and mobility, and emotional strains of loneliness and depression,” says Omeltchenko.

To address the physical needs of the individual, consider access to all levels at home, doors wide enough for wheelchairs, additional lighting, lever knobs to make using doors and faucets easier, safety railings, removing rugs and mats, and choosing furniture that is safe and comfortable.

As for emotional needs, consider bright, happy colors, drawing enough natural sunlight to improve moods, avoiding clutter to improve daily functioning, and incorporating heirlooms and photographs to highlight treasured memories. 

“This topic hits close to home for both of us, as clients and family members frequently express the desire to age in place,” says Jennifer Fox Fox + Chenko Interiors. “Nothing makes us happier than being able to design beautiful spaces to celebrate lives being well lived.”

Huntington Bay Compound Offers Panoramic Harbor Views and Gardens Galore

It’s easy to fall in love with this timeless gem, which offers picture-perfect sunset water views across Huntington and Lloyd harbors.

Located at 142 E. Shore Road in Huntington Bay, this sprawling, modern-style, completely updated Victorian built on a one-acre lot around 1893 comes complete with a charming, fully functional, two-story guest cottage; a tranquil stream; and lots of room to roam. The asking price is $1,850,000.

“This magnificent waterfront compound is truly a rare find,” says broker/owner Joyce Mennella of Lucky To Live Here Realty in Cold Spring Harbor. “The sunsets are remarkable from the front porch and the direct water access [to enjoy water sports, etc.] is perfect during warmer months. You can take your kayak and jump right in or enjoy private waterfront dining every night.”

Guests will love the peaceful waterfall and backyard fireplace in the rear patio – a perfect space for entertaining and unwinding. The advantage of having a separate private cottage is immeasurable.

“My favorite feature is the separate guest cottage,” says Mennella. “It has its own kitchen, two bedrooms, [one and a half bathrooms], laundry and rec space — really great when family or friends visit.”

The homeowners, who bought the property 19 years ago and raised their five children there, have enjoyed the stellar views from their wonderful front covered porch. Another perk: They could moor their boat right in front of their home.

The main house offers a whopping 5,000 square feet of living/entertaining space that includes six bedrooms, an en-suite master, four full bathrooms plus one half bath, formal dining room, and a huge family room. Eye-catching interior features include extensive millwork and architectural detail throughout.

Updates include a new kitchen and library complete with wine/beverage fridge, family room, and three bathrooms. They also put in a new heating system, central air, and more.  

By keeping the footprint, the homeowners said they have enjoyed very low taxes. And they emphasized that the proximity five minutes from downtown Huntington, which has some of Long Island’s best restaurants and shopping, was a definite plus for them.

Downtown Huntington offers residents and visitors a cornucopia of things to do and see, including exploring museums, historic places, theater, dance, music, visual art exhibitions, educational programs, and artist workshops.

That’s assuming residents of this gorgeous Victorian can manage to leave their beautiful home long enough for a night out on the town. 

For more information, contact Elena D’Agostino & Joyce Mennella, Listing Brokers/Owners at team@luckytolivehere.com or 631-692-7100

How To Unspouse Your House After Becoming Single

A fresh coat of paint is the quickest way to bring change to a living space after becoming single. (Getty Images)

Saying adios to a significant other is no easy task.

Unspousing one’s space and making the adjustment from cohabitating to living alone — after a divorce, breakup, or someone’s passing — takes hefty doses of courage. 

“Clearing the clutter is both liberating and empowering,” says designer Tonia Omeltchenko of Fox + Chenko Interiors, an award-winning firm based on Long Island. “You are essentially taking control of your life and allowing yourself to facilitate positive change.”

She and her design partner Jen Fox offer suggestions for creating a space that reflects the new you.


They start with tips for women.

“Show off your signature style to create a feminine home,” she says. “Have fun with gorgeous color and a mix of patterns in luscious fabrics such as velvet, linen, or silk on your furnishings, walls, and window treatments. Look for graceful furniture silhouettes, in materials of mirrored finishes, custom metallics, and specialty woods.”

For guys, it’s time to make a masculine statement.

“Choose furnishings of rich materials such as leather, shagreen, or stone,”  Omeltchenko suggests. “Shake up a traditional seating area by centering recliners around a cocktail table. Consider a live edge table in a beautiful wood to impart a modern organic feel.”

They also suggest choosing strong colors and bold patterns to personalize the bedroom. 

The master suite is where the design budget for luxury items should ideally be spent,” Omeltchenko says. “High thread-count sheets, sumptuous pillows and bedding, beautifully layered window treatments, and soft adjustable lighting are both soothing and exciting. So, whether one is looking for self-healing or ready to move on to another relationship, they’ll be ready for any eventuality!”


Life’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey, the saying goes. Same goes for design. 

“We suggest staying focused and completing the goal of making your home reflect you and your interests as you start a new life,” says Fox. 

Declutter, purge, and rearrange the furniture. Paint fresh colors on walls for an instant change.

“Consider purchasing some key furnishings to update your look,” Omeltchenko suggests. “A modern sectional sofa offers plenty of seating and can replace a more traditional configuration with a sofa and chairs. Custom window treatments perfectly finish your rooms and add a special sense of style.”

Keep spaces bright and airy and bring life and good energy in with plants. 

What about the kids? According to both designers, it’s important that children feel secure, safe, and happy in their room. Be sure to include familiar toys and belongings. Involve your child so they have a say in selecting any new bedding or furnishings.


A breakup can be an incredibly painful experience. 

“Having reminders of your ex-partner around your living space is likely to prolong this period of grief,” says Marisa T. Cohen,Ph. D.,  a local relationship coach and educator. 

She suggests removing items such as photos to avoid reminders. But don’t be too quick to purge everything when in an emotional state. 

“You may come to regret that later,” she says. “Wait until the emotions dissipate a bit and then decide what you want to save. And don’t do anything too drastic (like renos) if you aren’t feeling yourself.”

Having a support system and seeking advice from a coach, therapist, organizer, or designer can make a big difference.


This is the opportunity to focus on what you want your space to look like.

“Take the time to really think about what is important to you and how you want that reflected in your home,” Cohen says. “Use your new space as a canvas to explore your own interests and style. It can be a wonderful time for self-exploration as you decide what you want to fill your space with.” 

Both designers suggest creating surroundings that bring joy. 

“Focus on yourself as you heal and move forward with your life,” says Fox. “Take time to discover what makes you truly happy. Stretch out and fill your spaces with light, laughter, and love!”

Waterfront Estate Offers Smart, Resort-style Living in The Heart of Babylon

That breathtaking grand entry with the sweeping dual staircase is the star of this gated waterfront estate in the heart of Babylon Village.  

“Stunning home with gorgeous views from every room of the Great South Bay. Perfect sunrises and sunsets,” says listing agent Tammy Ramsay of Eric G. Ramsay Jr. Associates LLC in Bay Shore.

Experience 9,329 square feet of high-end, resort-style living, and enjoy tons of entertaining space. All for just $3,695,000.   

This sprawling mansion at 199 Peninsula Drive is nestled in a private cul-de-sac and surrounded by 557 feet of coastal magnificence. 

With easy access to Fire Island, the property graces 1.21 acres and occupies three quarters of the peninsula bordered on the east by the Carlls River. Unique amenities include a deep water slip that can accommodate up to a 55-foot yacht with 18-foot beam. There are two Jet Ski lifts and one 10,000-pound boat lift that can accommodate a 26-foot boat. 

“Nothing competes with life on the water,” says seller Tom Sweeney, who has lived at the home with wife Fran and their family for 19 years. “It’s like living at a five-star resort that you actually own.”

Amenities include a 12-person spa Jacuzzi and 45-foot by 20-foot Gunite pool with waterfall, a fully equipped outdoor kitchen, 800-bottle wine cellar, and 3,000 square feet of custom Saturnia flooring from Turkey. In addition, this smart home offering a cornucopia of special high-tech features is conveniently located less than a mile from the Long Island Rail Road’s Babylon station. 

“Babylon is a great community,” says Sweeney. “It has a small-town atmosphere, with great neighbors. Everything you could ever want and desire is nearby.” 

Walk to downtown restaurants, shops, the theater; enjoy concerts at the gazebo; and visit arts and crafts events and flea markets. There’s even a hiking trail and paddle boating.

The homeowners, now empty nesters looking to downsize, moved into the house as their sons were entering high school and raised them there through their teen years and college experiences. 

The couple purchased the property from Bret and Lynn Saberhagen in 2001. Bret was a professional baseball player for the Kansas City Royals and the New York Mets and played one year with the Boston Red Sox. 

“Most everyone remembers this as ‘Oh, that’s Saberhagen’s place,’ whereas we remind them that it is now and has been the Sweeneys’ home for 19 years,” Sweeney quips.

Built in 1998, this eye-catching house has eight bedrooms; six are en suite including the master. There are six full bathrooms and three half bathrooms. The traditional-style home embellished with romantic balcony and porch offers a huge eat-in kitchen that was redone with cherry cabinets, new high-end appliances, Miele subzero freezer and refrigerator, Bosch dishwasher, GE Monogram microwave, convection oven and gas stove. There’s a formal dining room and living room as well as a den/family room, office, and amazing gym. 

The Sweeneys have fond memories of the good times they’ve enjoyed while living there.

“Several wedding and engagement parties, multiple birthdays, graduation parties, Fourth of July fireworks; warm summer nights on the patio enjoying sunsets; thunder and lightning storms over the bay; the frozen icicles on the trees after a winter snowstorm,” Sweeney recalls. “And most of all, raising our two sons on the water, fishing for snappers, crabbing, kayaking and sharing great times with family and friends with our backyard BBQs and parties… It is truly a home for making memories.”

While 2012 saw major renovations, the couple notes that over the years, there were too many home improvements to mention. But some big changes included the installation of more than 90 new Andersen windows, WallTech lifetime two-tone exterior painting, painting, and adding 557 feet of docking. Other revamps: the addition of solar panels to heat the pool, the creation of waterfalls, all new LED landscape lighting, new walkways covered with Indiana stone and brick pavers, and a newly paved circular driveway with new gate mechanisms and controls.

Sweeney says he and his family have truly enjoyed everyday life in their marvelous manse, and jokes, “I still have to pinch myself every morning when I get up.”

Contact Tammy Ramsay, Licensed Sales Associate at 516-319-8605.

The Psychology of Renovation: Does Newer and Shinier Equal Happier?

It's important to consider wants vs. needs when planning a home renovation. (Getty Images)

It seems there’s more to remodeling than meets the eye. 

Beyond the desire for a better life, a welcoming and more functional environment, and a higher return on investment, what’s really behind the renovation addiction that has been sweeping the country in recent years?

It’s complicated. But experts agree there’s a strong emotional element that fuels every home improvement decision or for that matter, the decision not to renovate. It’s like the battle of the reno junkies vs. those nostalgic types, who like the familiar and prefer to save their money, only updating as needed — and sometimes even choosing to maintain their home’s original retro vibe.


Krystine Batcho a licensed psychologist and professor of psychology at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, says people have an emotional investment in their homes.

“When a person has some control over their residence, psychologically their home becomes an extension of them,” she says. “More than a collection of things, it’s also the reservoir of some of life’s most important experiences and memories. The table in that kitchen is where people who love one another shared more than food and drink; they shared the joys, successes, disappointments and worries of their lives.” 

Many homeowners seem dissatisfied with the look and functionality of their dwellings. Indeed, a swankier kitchen or bathroom may be breathtakingly transformative. But is it truly warranted? 


Covering up a home’s former self has its plusses and minuses. Like plastic surgery, it should be done for the right reasons. And like a facelift or butt lift, it doesn’t guarantee happiness in the long run. 

“When someone feels stagnant or stuck in their situation, their career, relationship, or their personal growth, they might hope that a major change in their home will be the catalyst to get things moving again,” Batcho explains. “Renos to accommodate changing physical or family needs will be considered successful to the extent that they meet those needs. But the impacts of projects that are inspired by emotional or psychological motives are more complicated.”

For example, a reno that makes a space more conducive to social interaction, or more efficient, freeing up time to spend with others, is more likely to enhance a person’s quality of life, or a new dishwasher that gives a family more time to sit and talk can contribute to healthier relationships.

“Objects do not, in themselves, make people happy,” she says. “Happiness depends more on experiences. How an object is used affects how happy it makes someone.”


A reno motivated by emotional or personal dissatisfaction is less likely to resolve an underlying unhappiness. 

“People expect newer to be better and that remodeling a space will provide the same type of happiness boost as from a newer model of TV or smart phone,” Batcho notes. “If the final result fails to meet expectations, the disappointment can lead to unhappiness and remorse. It’s important to be realistic about what a shiny new space will provide.” 

Babylon Village designer Sandra Asdourian says her clients fall into one of three “emotional” groups.

“The first group wants to mix their existing furnishings with new, keeping some of the furniture they have for an updated look,” she says. “The second wants all-new ‘everything.’ The third has a hard time letting go of something unless it’s broken or unusable … but there are always ways to update, i.e., chairs can be reupholstered, wood furniture refinished or painted.”   


It’s important to be practical. 

“With my clients, the emotional aspect of doing a reno is the desire to update their décor to be in alignment with their lifestyle,” says Asdourian. “But in some cases, the need is there — maybe the wife loves to cook and the kitchen’s layout doesn’t work for her cooking style or comfort. Or, they have a new baby or elderly parent living with them and need an extra bedroom.  

“My goal is to deliver a space they can call home,” she continues. “It’s a place for their family to not only live in harmony but to be filled with great memories. So, if they have an antique piece that was their grandmother’s, we will work it into the design plan. Because it’s not just a house, it’s your home.”