Indoor/Outdoor Living is a Breeze at This Westhampton Home
Designer Billy Ceglia gives empty-nester clients a fresh start.
When Stefanie and Jeff Rubin decided they were ready to trade in their longtime summer home for a new one, the quickest and easiest course of action, it seemed, would have been to find a move-in ready house with all the bells and whistles. But where’s the fun in that? Hence the couple’s choice to stick with their Westhampton property of nearly 20 years and rebuild to accommodate their new empty-nester lifestyle. “We looked at houses all over the South Fork,” Jeff recounts, “but we love this spot and have made some great family memories here. Ultimately, we took the 1950s ranch down to the studs and created something that’s sleek and minimal on the same footprint.” A glowing indoor/outdoor modern abode transpired.
The plan had humbler, less ambitious beginnings under local architect Craig Arm, but the scope of the project quickly escalated after the Rubins brought in their longtime designer, Connecticut-based Billy Ceglia. “After I came on board,” Ceglia says with a laugh, “Jeff and I ended up tearing the house down! The original home had been set up for a different family dynamic. The Rubins’ daughters are grown now, and we wanted to create a modern space that’s tailored, yet comfortable.”
The reborn residence sports a streamlined profile, a new second floor, an open primary floor plan designed with entertaining in mind, a kitchen that’s double in size, and an abundance of glass for an indoor/outdoor feel. “Our previous home was much more traditional, and we also own a hundred-year-old house in Roslyn, so we wanted this new build to be contemporary and current,” Jeff says. “We’re the house where people tend to congregate, and now it’s much more functional for the way we live.”
The only sticking point: the pool, which couldn’t be moved due to zoning regulations. But the pool’s close proximity to the house ended up being a blessing in disguise. “The strong relationship between the pool and the house is actually something you’d find on St. Barth, where the Rubins love to visit,” comments Ceglia. “It has the feel of the island, but in a subtle way.”
Inside, Ceglia balanced Jeff’s penchant for minimalism with Stefanie’s desire for character and warmth. “Billy really understands our personalities and our family’s needs,” says Stefanie, acknowledging the thoughtful, polished mix of contemporary, custom, and vintage pieces. And no surface is too precious, with a focus on performance fabrics and durable materials that can keep up with the wear and tear of beach-house living. “It’s a very easy home to be in,” she adds. “People are constantly in and out of the pool, and we never have to worry about dripping swimsuits.”
The print version of this article appeared with the headline: Retro Reboot.
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