Tour the Charming Home of Architect Filipe Pereira and Fashion Designer Austyn Zung

Reimagined for the 21st century, this Sag Harbor home embraces its historic bones.
Filipe Pereira and Austyn Zung Sag Harbor Home

A marine-grade blue from Fine Paints of Europe covers the front doors. The shingles are Alaskan white cedar. Photography by Tria Giovan

You would be forgiven if you walked into the Sag Harbor home of architect Filipe Pereira and fashion designer Austyn Zung and complimented them on preserving the house’s historic charm. Indeed, the structure was built in 1893, and Pereira’s artful renovation has given it a well-loved, old-home ambiance. However, when the couple purchased it, there was almost no original detail to save. The house was so unimpressive, in fact, that it took Pereira a year and a half to convince Zung that they should buy it. “I couldn’t see it,” says Zung, “but Filipe had a very clear vision—and I’m so happy that he did.”

Pereira has worked for luminaries like Zaha Hadid and Peter Marino and now runs his own practice. With his professional instincts, Pereira suspected the home had good bones beneath the vinyl siding and awkwardly placed windows. One of three residences built in the late 19th century for managers of the Bulova watch factory, the house and its lot were small—1,400 square feet and a tenth of an acre—but the diamond in the rough also gleamed with the added value of being within walking distance of the village.

A gut renovation ensued. “I immediately knew what I would do with the space,” says Pereira. Without making any other major changes to the interior layout, he envisioned adding a small sunroom at the back. For the exterior, he walked the neighborhood, looking for clues that would help him give the façade proper context. He finally chose to move the front entrance and windows to more historically appropriate and aesthetically pleasing positions and adding a gable to the roof, which had the dual benefit of giving a welcome feeling of loftiness to the main bedroom.

Inside, Zung and Pereira, who have a son in high school, plotted out easygoing rooms that could handle a little sand on the floors and be closed up quickly at the end of a weekend. “We wanted something small and manageable,” Pereira says, “not some big house that makes you feel like you can’t go on vacation.”

The couple are lifelong collectors, so storage was key to the design scheme. Pereira tucked in bookcases wherever there was a stretch of unused wall. Open storage in the kitchen and dining room holds more books, dishes, and curios, which are styled almost like merchandise in a store (not surprising for an architect who has created interiors for Jil Sander and Hermès and a former creative director at Ann Taylor). Pereira even tucked a false door into the living room to get surfboards in and out of the basement.

Filipe Pereira and Austyn Zung Sag Harbor Kitchen

A La Cornue range anchors the gleaming kitchen, which is kitted out with subway tile from Ann Sacks and Carrara marble countertops. Photography by Tria Giovan

As the renovation plans got underway, the couple realized that the home was calling out for more than the “simple beach house” redo they’d originally imagined, says Pereira. Zung’s longing for old floors led to a months-long hunt for just the right reclaimed wood, which Pereira then installed in intricate herringbone and parquet de Versailles patterns. A hobbyist woodworker, Pereira also salvaged the cedar that they found beneath the vinyl siding, replaned the wood, and used it to build the custom shelves in the dining room. Ten yards of fabric that Zung discovered at a market in Delhi became the jumping-off point for a lacquered green powder room. And when the couple came across a vintage sink at the Brimfield antiques fair, Pereira designed a custom brass frame for it. “We were going to make everything super simple,” says Zung, “especially since the house is so small. But it’s just too much fun to keep layering on the details.”

The print version of this article appears with the headline: History Lesson.
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