Thursday, June 3, 2010


I visited Balcastle on a hot summer day in 1998. The house had just been put on the market and I was curious to see the interior of the American Gothic Revival style estate that sat right in the middle of Southampton village. The brick and limestone design was modeled after an Irish castle, a towering structure that stood above the traditional shingle style homes that surrounded it. Built in 1911 by J. Edward Elliston, a local designer and builder, the house stood out because of its unusual design and extravagant use of materials.

When I walked through the house many years ago, I was struck by the amazing mullioned windows and fine millwork. The bones of the house were exquisite, but the structure had been neglected and would require a complete overhaul. Also, the interiors were stuck in a 1970's decorating time warp with requisite low ceilings, avocado kitchen appliances and hippy decor. It needed a lot of work!  Thankfully architectural genius Bill Sofield bought the property and over several years restored the estate to its former Gothic glory. 

The home that Mr. Sofield affectionately calls  "A white elephant” is once again on the market.  With his focus on another fixer-upper in Bedford, N.Y.,  Mr. Sofield has decided to sell Balcastle.  The home has been meticulously restored with beautifully appointed interiors that reflect the homes Gothic heritage, and updated for today's lifestyle.  I must admit, the romantic master bedroom in the tower reads like a page from a fairy tale and the whimsical Gazebo is enchanting.  Any Princess ready for a move?     

The brick and limestone tower is both dignified and imposing.
Beautiful English gardens surround the pool.

 A gorgeous architectural feature of this compound is the Gazebo, a Neoclassical and Gothic Revival folly nestled on the grounds overlooking the pool and gardens. The 30 foot facetted glass rotunda acts as pool house, informal garden room and guest residence, perfect for summer parties. In fact, the Gazebo is rumored to be the home of extravagant and wild summer parties in the 1970's and '80s!

 Mr. Sofield said that a past owner, a Bulova heiress, housed bear cubs there in the 1930s. One of the cubs eventually found its way to a taxidermist; Mr. Sofield kept it on display.

Soft, muted tones and classic furniture grace the living room.

The home's windows are exquisitely detailed with hand-carved mullions and traceries.

Perfectly restored old-world kitchen with original hemlock parquet floors.

A royal master suite. The room is situated on a crenellated tower with a fireplace, ensuite antique soaking tub and private rooftop terrace. I love the dramatic curved arches and stunning light pendant.

A sweet vignette!

Guest bedroom features antique Gothic Revival bed and bureau.

I love the character of this bedroom.  The tiny mullioned windows frame the bed and bring lots of charm!

Photos courtesy of Brown Harris Stevens, Southampton


Stephanie @ La Dolce Vita said...

A little too much for me! It certainly isn't what we envision when we think "Hamptons" is it?

paintedpreppy said...

The pool water is an amazing color, I would like earrings that color.

Kim@Chattafabulous said...

As a lover of historic houses, I can certainly appreciate the architectural details, and I can empathize with the hard work that went into restoring it. Thanks for sharing this!