By Tessa Raebeck
Delores D’Angelo’s home in Sag Harbor isn’t particularly big or professionally decorated. She calls it her “little dream house” because it’s unique, peaceful and filled with mementos—and grandchildren.
“I think it’s a little surprising when you walk in,” Ms. D’Angelo said Thursday, July 3. “I just have a lot of stuff that I like.”
The timber-peg home on Glover Street is one of five that will be featured on the annual Sag Harbor House Tour, put on by the Friends of the John Jermain Memorial Library (JJML) Friday, July 11. The houses, four in Sag Harbor and one in North Haven, were selected for their variety, individuality, and for being lived in homes rather than cookie-cutter models. The tour has been ongoing for some 40 or 50 years, but the organizers never fall short of finding unique houses to showcase.
The home Ms. D’Angelo shares with her husband Phil, their Labrador and whatever kids and grandchildren are home was built in 1987 and overlooks Sag Harbor’s tranquil Upper Cove.
“It’s all pre-cut,” Ms. D’Angelo explained. The frame is put up first, she said, followed by the interior walls, electricity, insulation and last, the shingles, resulting in a colonial-style exterior.
“It’s like a barn. They raise all the timbers up,” she said. And that was exciting—to turn the corner on Long Island Avenue and see this structure where there had been nothing for so long. It was just a wonderful thing and we love Sag Harbor, so it was really the best of both worlds to be here.”
The D’Angelo’s have transformed the timber-peg model into their family home by sticking to what they like. They love to watch the wildlife, so, rather than a neatly manicured backyard, they keep it friendly for visiting animals. While many people erect fences and douse their plants with sprays to ward off deer, the D’Angelo’s prefer having those neighbors stop by for a snack.
“It’s just a very peaceful—I think it’s a sweet little house,” Ms. D’Angelo said. “It’s very lived in…It’s not a pristine—maybe that’s the difference, it’s just a real family home.”
In addition to children, the house is filled with various items collected over the years—there’s something to look at in every corner.
Ann Lieber, who is on the library’s board of trustees and helps choose the homes on the tour, said she is excited about the D’Angelo’s house because it “has so many things that they’ve collected that are important to them and it’s been part of [their lives], things from their childhood, etc.”
The Friends of the Library choose homes like the D’Angelo’s for that exact reason—their authenticity.
“I think the big thing is that they’ve all taken things that were part of their families and their lives and have made them part of their very lovely homes,” said Ms. Lieber. “That’s one of the really nice things.”
“We have homes that the families have decorated with things that are important to them, rather than somebody just coming in and decorating,” she added. “I really feel like each home is individually styled with things that matter to them.”
The North Haven house is home to Susan Edwards and Ian Ziskin, the fifth generation of a Sag Harbor family, with furnishings collected from the couple’s former homes and the lives of those five generations. Ms. Edwards and Mr. Ziskin decorated the house by re-creating their favorite pieces from the 10 houses they formerly owned across the country. In addition to a large collection of art and sculpture, the Western, Prairie and Craftsman style house, which overlooks Genet Creek with views of Shelter Island, offers a living history of Sag Harbor.
Architect Scott Baker renewed a 1926 Sears Roebuck pre-fab house on Franklin Avenue with a 1,250-square foot addition in 2007 when Norah McCormack and Gordon Boals purchased the house. In the grand “great room,” light shines through the soaring ceiling from all directions. The house has a twin across the street and legend has it that two sisters who feuded without speaking for 20 years lived in the homes.
A Hampton Street home owned by Ki Hackney Hribar and Carl Hribar was built in 1790 as a simple one-story dwelling. Captain Jonas Winters expanded it in 1853 and it was again modified in the Victorian style in the 1920s. When the Hribars moved in, they reclaimed the pine-plank floors and beams from the original 1790 roof and added a few modern touches, such as a window seat and a “ship’s staircase,” which has brass railings, bead-board and rope trim.
“They’ve taken a really old house and opened it up and it’s just beautiful,” said Ms. Lieber. “And they too have many things that are part of their family life.”
Another historic home is that of Anton Hagen and Linley Pennebaker on Main Street. The Greek Revival-turned-Federal was built in 1840 and rotated by 90 degrees and converted into the Colonial style in the 1940s. Continuous renovations since Mr. Hagen purchased the home in 1980 include furniture designed by Mr. Hagen and family antiques, folk rugs and other collectibles.
In addition to showcasing the varied tastes and extensive histories of Sag Harbor residents and their village, the JJML House Tour is a major fundraiser for the library’s programs.
The proceeds, co-chair Chris Tice said Monday, are “what pays for all the programs that the library provides for the community.”
“That’s why the house tour is so important for the community and for the library,” she added.
The John Jermain Memorial Library House Tour is Friday, July 11, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $45 if purchased in advance and are available at the library’s temporary location at 34 West Water Street and at the Wharf Shop, located at 69 Main Street in Sag Harbor. Tickets purchased on the day of the event are $50 and will only be available at the library. For more information, call (631) 725-0049 or visit johnjermain.org.