Minimalism and Modernism Marry Beautifully Inside This Bellport Home
A couple in the fashion industry breathes new life into a 1927 Colonial Revival.
It’s no surprise that Gary and Sarah Wolkowitz’s white-shingled Bellport getaway resembles a chicly tailored bandbox. Founders of the 50-year-old fashion hosiery brand Hot Sox, the couple bought the 1927 home in 1980 and began transforming it into a treasured oasis for family and friends. It also serves as s fitting backdrop for an art collection gathered from their travels around the world. Photographer Bruce Weber, a longtime Bellport resident who had photographed the Wolkowitzes’ young son, Bryce, for a Polo Ralph Lauren campaign, first introduced the couple to the now-not-so-secret hamlet, perhaps the last remaining “un-Hampton.”
“We fell in love with the place,” Sarah recounts. “The house sits on a gorgeous tree-lined property overlooking Great South Bay, and our bedroom has windows on all sides, so it’s like you are floating over the water. And the community is very special and small, filled with really interesting people in art, fashion, design, theater, and film.”
The original owner left his artistic imprint in the form of handmade tiles—odes to his favorite poets—still extant on the fireplace. “The house has had many renovations over the years,” says Gary, who today oversees the Polo Ralph Lauren hosiery collection.
“We set about marrying minimalism and modernism via a 1927 Colonial, and we feel we pulled that off well.” The couple collaborated with architect Michael Gabellini, whose firm, Gabellini Sheppard, had previously worked with them on their Park Avenue apartment. “Michael is a terrific architect, and we have a very similar design sensibility,” says Gary, who also charged Gabellini with “building the pool and the entire outdoor patio living structure.” The design features Bulgarian limestone that wraps around the house and creates the sensation of “living on a white platform,” as Sarah describes it. She also makes sure to give an extra shout-out to the talented local craftsmen who contributed to the renovations.
Against the whitewashed blank canvas, artwork ranging from an Annie Leibovitz portrait of John Lennon to pencil drawings by Marcel van Eeden is on display to full effect. As Gary notes, “Our homes—here and in New York, as well as Tuscany and St. Barth—have always served as backgrounds for our collections, neutral environments that accommodate photographs, paintings, furniture, and objects.” Accordingly, the unassuming Bellport gem exudes an undeniably international quality. Furnishings include a bedroom collection from Milan-based Armani Casa, an artisanal table in the living room picked up during a vacation on Mykonos, and pieces by design titan Christian Liaigre.
“The house is a compilation,” Gary muses, “so whatever you see here is some sort of footnote or testament to all the places that we have visited.” A dinner party, Sarah adds, “might feature hand-painted Greek plates, platters from San Gimignano in Tuscany, and Japanese bowls. When we fall in love with something, it’s because of its beauty and craftsmanship.”
“Living in this house and in Bellport is a never-ending story,” Sarah reflects. “We are there for keeps and continue to evolve with what’s around us.”
The print version of this article appeared with the headline: Bellport Beauty.
Subscribe to C&G