Listen, people: there are old houses in which the woodwork should not be painted (Victorian mansions, Arts and Crafts) and there are old houses in which the woodwork should be painted (generally Colonials, Italianates). It all depends on style, date, and so on. This poor Sag Harbor Italianate, known as the Nathan Howell House, has had the paint stripped from its interior millwork, which is not only not historically correct, just plain looks terrible.
That poor wood looks scraped and abused and dry. It was always meant to be painted, partially to protect it, and partially because it’s not “good” wood. That is, when the Howell house was built and then enlarged about 175 years ago, there was a hierarchy of wood that was meant to be seen–mahogany, rosewood, other exotic and fancy woods–and the humble local woods that are supposed to be painted.
Now you might be saying, “How dare you? It looks great.” OK, fine, clearly there are people who like this sort of thing. That doesn’t make it right.
Now let’s move on to the rest of the property! Which is fabulous. Originally built in 1833 by Nathan P. Howell, from a wealthy whaling family, the house was in the Greek Revival style. Twenty years later, Mr. Howell enlarged and renovated, changing the building into the fashionable Italianate style. The house stayed in the family until the 1970s.
The property was last on the market four years ago after a very extensive renovation, which included making the basement/cellar area into living space and adding an elevator. It was snapped up in a matter of weeks. Asking price was $9.95 million and purchase price was $9.75 million. It appears to have been renovated again, with a new kitchen and what looks like an addition on the back. The property, now repped by Mark J. Baron, Jane Babcock, and Eve Gianni at Brown Harris Stevens, then went back on the market asking a hefty $18.75 million. No one bit, and just a few days ago the ask was lowered to a much more reasonable $16.5 million.
So what does a buyer get for that? One of the finest and largest old houses in Sag Harbor. 10,000 square feet, seven bedrooms, 8.5 baths, a widows walk and cupola up top and a fun games room below. A very generous 1.1 acre plot with a gunite pool, and a “four-bay, climate controlled garage with art studio attached.”
What do you think? Is the price right? Like the stripped woodwork and think we should shut up? Sound off in the comments.
For more, click here. 238 Main Street, Sag Harbor