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An Old-Fashioned Fixer-Upper

It started, as real-estate adventures often do, with a pragmatic plan. Interior designer David Nastasi and his husband, Michael Stone, had outgrown their Brooklyn Heights apartment and had it with the commute to their East Hampton country house. So they started to look for something in between. “We were really only toying with the idea of moving to the ‘dreaded suburbs,’” the couple says. “We really wanted a fixer-upper,” Nastasi says. “Something I kept calling a ‘time-capsule house.’” They looked at around 20 contestants, but they were either too forlorn, too big, or both; then they spied a photo of the exterior of an impressive Colonial. After one step inside, they were sold. That was in 2014. In 2015, Nastasi and his business partner, Kate Vail, along with a contractor it took them some time to find, got to work. The delicate task at hand: Renovating while keeping the graceful character of the traditional architecture intact.

One of the challenges in the renovation was to find a contractor who didn’t want to replace the slender original wood columns on the front façade, seen here, with “fat fiberglass ones guaranteed never to rot and guaranteed to destroy the carefully considered proportions of the exterior,” Nastasi says. They persevered, kept the columns, and installed new wood shingles after removing layer upon layer of asphalt. Photo: Genevieve Garruppo
The living-room walls are covered in Phillip Jeffries paper. The rug and the sectional sofa are from Lillian August. “I was determined that the living room be used daily,” Nastasi says. “And to that end, we hid a television and built in floor-to-ceiling bookcases and a window seat.” Photo: Genevieve Garruppo
The interiors are filled with a variety of fresh-patterned wallpaper. Here in the dining room, Vail selected the Gastón y Daniela Villa Erba print in Azul/Negro. Photo: Genevieve Garruppo
The kitchen needed a lot of love. “It had been marginally upgraded in the ’70s, and included chocolate-hued homemade cabinetry,” Nastasi says. Today it is a gleaming cooking/entertaining oasis with KitchenAid oven and dishwashers and a Sub-Zero fridge (not seen). The lights are from Schoolhouse Electric and the wood stools are from Sossego. Photo: Genevieve Garruppo
The bathrooms hadn’t been touched since the ’30s, so major work was in order. Here, in the master bath, the sinks are from Kohler and the wall tile and shower-floor tile are from Ann Sacks. Photo: Genevieve Garruppo
A guest bathroom has stayed in character, honoring the charming quarter-round window with a claw-foot tub that was original to the house. They painted the underside with the Benjamin Moore shade Universal Black. Photo: Genevieve Garruppo
The office, formerly the maid’s room, has been covered in Surfaceview wallpaper. The vintage faux-bamboo table was purchased at auction. Photo: Genevieve Garruppo
The Bird Room (a.k.a. the guest room), so called for the Sanderson wallpaper in Cream Woodland Chorus. The lingerie chest and side table, seen here, and bureau, not in view, were made by Nastasi’s grandfather in the ’30s. “It isn’t a new or unusual story,” Nastasi muses, “but our goal had been one more bedroom and one more bathroom in a prewar building in our neighborhood in Brooklyn Heights. Instead, we ended up in the suburbs. Our heads are still spinning a bit.” Photo: Genevieve Garruppo
An Old-Fashioned Fixer-Upper That Was Untouched for Decades