The house at 177 Main Street in East Hampton Village, dating to 1680, is one of the oldest houses on the East End, completely reimagined by its previous owner, fashion photographer Don Ashby and his wife. The now 5,500-square-foot house, across from the East Hampton Town green, was listed recently with Enzo Morabito at Douglas Elliman for $4.495 million.
Once a saltbox colonial, the house was originally owned by the Mulfords, a founding family of the village in 1648. It was built without nails, using only joined wood. It was coined Congress Hall in the mid-19th century, when David Mulford, who lived there alone as a bachelor, used it as a gathering place for local men to discuss politics.
The Ashbys bought the shingle-style in 2012 and expanded it to the rear of the nearly half-acre property and modernized the space, while keeping many historic features to maintain its charm. Located in the village historic district, nothing that could be seen from the street could be changed. The house was lifted and placed on a new foundation to allow for a lower level.
“A flat-roofed, two-story wing, visible from the front of the house, was added about 200 years later, while a long, narrow one-story addition held the old kitchen,” according to an article in The East Hampton Star.
Morabito says the shingle-style house is a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. “The transformation from Old World to new, rebuilt to exacting standards and historic district specifications by East End builder William Hugo, now presents as an art-filled abode with modern touches throughout,” Morabito says.
It was listed in August for $4.85 million, with a price adjustment two weeks ago.
The five-bedroom house features a Boffi-designed kitchen, state-of-the-art technology throughout and five-and-a-half marble bathrooms.
One of three gas fireplaces is located the living room, which has exposed beams that lend to the historic charm of the property. The brick hearth, along with the rest of the wall, is painted in an ebony color.
In the kitchen, there is a large island that has a glass counter and a wooden tabletop, for counter seating, that rests on top but is not attached and can be moved. NanaWall stackable folding doors pull back for indoor-outdoor dining on the brick patio. The double-height dining room offers views of the wrap-around, heated gunite pool.
The luxurious master suite on the second floor includes a sitting area around a fireplace, exposed beams on the ceilings, double-height windows, and built-in closets. The equally roomy master bathroom has a large glass-enclosed shower and two vanities.
Out back there is a structure that can be used as a studio, as well as a two-car garage that offers even more potential recreational space.
The property is only one mile to Main Beach in East Hampton Village and a half-mile to the heart of the village.
“We didn’t want to eradicate the oldness of Congress Hall. We wanted to build on it. We’re modernists and like things that are minimal, so the goal was to combine the old with that modernist look,” Kathy Ashby told The Star. “We love thinking about spaces and their potential. It’s addictive, actually. You get a really emotional response when you feel you’ve got something right.”
In 2017, the couple sold the house for $3.6 million. The asking price started out at $3.995 million.
The house is now owned by Pangolin Ventures LLC.