Step Inside a Gray North Sea Home

North Sea T.R. Pescod

T. R. Pescod’s current East End home is his sixth in the area, but make no mistake: A typical Hamptons home-flipper he is not. A native son, he grew up above his father’s Speonk veterinary practice, and later a solar-powered, state-of-the-art showplace in Westhampton Beach. “I was the only kid in my high school who had to mow his roof,” Pescod recalls of the progressive structure. “My dad was a frustrated architect of sorts and instrumental in creating that house—the two of us even laid the bluestone floors together. I inherited the design bug from him pretty early on.”

But it wasn’t until after two decades of bouncing between New York City, Paris, and Los Angeles—first working in the music business and then as a model and actor—that Pescod returned home to Long Island, in 2001. “When I moved back from L.A., my mother suggested I take a look at Southampton Shores,” Pescod says. Though skeptical of the ’50s-era planned community (“I had thought I wanted something off by itself in the woods”), he was taken by the area’s private beaches, mature plantings, and bounty of seaside properties. He ultimately bought a home without a water view, but always planned on upgrading to waterfront property when the perfect parcel became available. His patience paid off in 2007, when a red vinyl–clad home on an amazing lot came on the market.

Though he originally envisioned a renovation job, a meeting with green-leaning contractor Steve White of Timeless Homes quickly convinced him otherwise. “When I explained everything that I wanted,” says Pescod, “Steve told me that unless I was emotionally attached to the original structure, he could tear it down and build me a better, less expensive house.” Newly single after a ten-year relationship, Pescod was eager to flex some creative muscle, encumbered only by the limitations of a half-acre lot. He found a kindred spirit in White, and while neither had ever completed a project of this scale, the team embarked on what Pescod jokingly refers to as “a one-and-a-half-year affair with my contractor that resulted in only one lovers’ spat!”

Long fascinated by the lighthouses on the East End and Nantucket, Pescod asked White to build a tower, constructed from three-by-ten-foot beams that were salvaged from the torn-down home. “It was important to me to bring the spirit of the old house into the new one,” he says. In a nod to his childhood home, he also installed locally sourced bluestone slabs around the living room’s oversize fireplace and used the same material to create steps leading from the four-bedroom cottage to his newly completed pool, guesthouse, and bulk-headed dock.

Inspiration for the interiors came from a bit farther away, in Scandinavia, where modeling work had taken Pescod regularly during the past decade. “I’d been shooting a lot in Swedish beach cottages and lake houses, and I loved all the bleached wood planks and whitewashed pine,” he says. And while his tastemaker friends like interior decorator Steven Gambrel and Ina Garten were eager to weigh in with ideas (Pescod managed Garten’s gourmet shop, Barefoot Contessa, in high school), the self-confessed control freak stuck to his original vision. “The whole house is a play on gray,” he says with a smile, turning his steely eyes up toward his trademark silvery hair. “My whole life I’ve been obsessed with this color—even all my cars have been gray—and I love the way the light plays with all the different shades. When you’re as detail-oriented as I am, seeing something go from a concept in your head to a finished product is incredibly satisfying.”

A version of this article appeared in the September/October 2012 issue of HC&G (Hamptons Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: 50 Shades of Gray.