Friday, April 1, 2011


'Bagatelle', the Thomas Hastings estate designed by himself c. 1913 (after the 1908 version was destroyed by fire) in Old Westbury. The estate has been for sale for the better part of four years, it is currently listed at $10,800,000, click HERE to see the listing on Daniel Gale Sotheby's. Click HERE and HERE for more on 'Bagatelle'. Listing photo from Daniel Gale Sotheby's.


magnus said...

That's alot of gilding in there. It makes my teeth hurt.

The Down East Dilettante said...

What Magnus said. But beautiful bones underneath.

What is to become of these houses? overpriced, over taxed---and here we have the very famous house of a very famous architect, on a relatively liveable scale, yet...

Anonymous said...

Oh, the poor, poor interiors! Somewhere in there is a lovely house trying to breathe.

Zach L. said...

The house used to have significantly more property that the current owner subdivided and sold off years ago. Now you can see the neighbors from anywhere in the backyard. Which also totally destroyed Hastings' intent for the grounds.

The Devoted Classicist said...

The 1908 house, which I take is what we are seeing in the HOUSE & GARDEN article, was absolutely lovely. Although the article describes it as an Italian farmhouse, I can see many comparisons to the work of British architect Edwin Lutyens. From the topiaries in the courtyard to the oval (?) dressing room with a fireplace and telephone, it was all beautifully thought out.

The Ancient said...

Maybe some nice Russian gangster is looking for an out-of-the-way place to park his girlfriend.

Anonymous said...

This is a beautiful manison as all of these are. At least he kept this one and some of the land. The pictures on the Daniel Gale site are terrible, not clear, and that's a shame. When I was going to Post during the mid 70's, I love Stone Arches.

Anonymous said...

Someone attended the Rush Limbaugh School of Interior Decorating.
Erenessi Charimag

lil' gay boy said...

Despite the bad photos, and even worse, heavy-handed decor, this is one of the great timeless classics of the Gold Coast. Stripped of the frippery and restored to Hastings intentions it would be a lovely, livable 21st century indulgence. Less is more is an axiom that should have been followed in the brick-walled breakfast room.

I've never been a fan of those who like to "pick out" the detail of molded plaster in either gold leaf or paint; such treatments, IMHO, were always meant to use light & shadow to enhance the detail, and change thusly through the course of the day. The window treatments & light fixtures border on the criminal, and as it stands it's just too fusty & fussy ––– but easily remedied. And the woodwork is just gorgeous.

I've always loved Stone Arches and thought it one of the more successful repurposings of an estate, albeit without the full preservation of Roslyn House. Given the amount of land remaining & the surrounding properties, &10.8MM is too much for this gem.

Security word - hexalier: a six-sided fruit tree.

wooded bliss said...

Well, what should it be priced at?

The Ancient said...

WB --

The more pertinent question is, What would it cost to restore the interiors?

There aren't enough useful pictures to answer that.

Doug Floor Plan said...

When Zach commented on the reduced privacy of the backyard I looked for the house on Bing to see for myself. In case anyone else wants to see:
1) Open Bing Maps & paste 'Stone Arch Rd & Hastings Rd, Old Westbury, NY 11568' as the search.
2) Convert to Bird's Eye View.
3) You'll see a house on the NE corner, then a house to the east (right) of that. The house immediately to the north of that house is Bagatelle.
& of course Zach is correct -- you can wave at your neighbors in most any direction.

Doug Floor Plan said...

I went to the Dec 1911 'House and Gardens' issue to get as good a look at the floor plan as I could & then compared it with room photos. I’m surprised at the privacy of this house.
• You aren’t looking at the house for most of the driveway to it & the journey is arranged so you actually travel past the house & then loop back around into the courtyard, making the house seem even more remote than it is.
• The courtyard is more enclosed than most – again, privacy.
• Although the front door has a glass panel which allows you to look straight down a hallway that cuts across the width of the house & out the glass-paneled door leading to the patio in back you can’t see any room in this house while standing at the front door; & although the dining room & living room flank this hallway entry to those rooms is through doors instead of open arches & the doors are solid wood & not glass paneled … & the doors are staggered so that even if both are open you can’t sit in one room & look directly into the other.
• A second, longer ground floor hallway runs perpendicular to the one just discussed; the main staircase is along this hall to the left of the front door (from outside) & is tucked away & not easily visible from most anywhere inside.
• The library is at the end of this longer hallway to the right of the front door (from outside). In one of the older photographs you can see a screen had been placed so that you could not be looking into the library as you approached it coming down the hallway; the current owners do not have such a screen.
I’m sure for an architect of Thomas Hastings’s success (plus he built this house twice) these features were very deliberate & appealed to him personally. I suspect he would have hated the loss of privacy in the backyard.

lil' gay boy said...

A word about the privacy:

Whilst true that when this house was designed it was meant to be at the center of a much larger property, where the program of sequences & calculated vistas were meant to enhance the whole experience as one moved throughout the estate, in its current diminished acreage it is by no means crowded off the lot.

Anyone who has visited Stone Arches knows much of its appeal lies in the surviving landscaping; in the height of summer, many homes are well shielded from the street, let alone visible to each other. And in the winter when the trees are bare, one sees little more than the twinkling of lights in the distance over the vast, rolling spaces. There is no through traffic.

For me, it's the perfect balance of spacious privacy and the knowledge that familar faces are nearby.

Doug Floor Plan said...

LGB, in response to your praise I went looking for ‘Stone Arches’ & stumbled across the address for Bagatelle – anyone can open Bing Maps & paste ‘7 Stone Arch Rd, Old Westbury, NY 11568-1122’
Or paste (this worked for me before I posted, so we’ll see):
LGB, I wish I knew how to turn that long Internet address into a hyperlink like you do, but it never works for me in Zach’s comment section (I’m unable to change font either). & LGB, is this street the ‘Stone Arches’ you’re praising?

Anonymous said...

This might sound crazy, but I actually lived here from 1975-1983.

It was bought out of Francis Garvin's trust fund. Most of the original property was sold off to a developer after I moved in, but I could certainly tell you about it...Flower gardens, beautiful horse pastures...Heaven!

Anyway, I lived there for 8 years...Awesome! I have many stories about my 8 yrs there. I lived there before the current owners. I ran an Ad Agency there... "United Media Inc."
back in the late 70's, early 80's.

Secret underground tunnel to the original Garvin Estate north, 2 original bottles of Absinthe from 1890, ghosts in the Ballroom, Stables and on the 3rd floor Suite - I know who they are: (Garvins daughter (Ballroom Bay Window), a Chauffer(Upstairs Stables)& a Lover(3rd Floor Suite).
(Special thanks to Monica Randall).

Monkeys were living on the 3rd floor during the 20's...Those guy's in the 20's really partied! (Stanford White, "Red Swing" & all).

Note to current owner: Did you ever figure out why the paintings on the backs of the vanity mirrors had monkeys in top hats & tails?

It is a great house. I loved living there! If I had 9M I'd be back.

Ron Berezuk
Former Director of United Media, Inc. 7 Stone Arch Road, Old Westbury.

Anonymous said...

I grew up here from 1975-1983 as my father posted in 2011. I remember attempting to plant an apple tree right in the middle of the right side driveway. (Good think it didn't take eh?) I also remember a hill in the back that I used to roll down for hours. I rode the horse (who's horse was that by the way?) around the driveway several times. My greatest memory is of the stair case. I remember an easter egg hunt up them. At the time, the carpet was blueish/green and there was a window by them. To the left?

Gunner Tierno said...

Hi Guys,

I live here currently, it's a pretty cool place. I'm also fascinated by all the history. This article has been great for background info.

Wishing the monkey room was still around!