He Didn’t Plan to Buy a Place on Fire Island. But This Was No Ordinary Home.

Kelly C. Gamble


Glenn Rice’s journey to possessing a home on Hearth Island, N.Y., commenced unexpectedly in Boston and was propelled, surprisingly, by his like of theater.

In September 2017, Mr. Rice, a actual estate agent, frequented Boston to see a good friend conduct in the opening night time of the engage in “WARHOLCAPOTE.” At a meal afterward, he befriended Rob Roth, the playwright who wrote the demonstrate.

“We just began speaking and received together like gangbusters,” stated Mr. Rice, 49. “So at the conclude of the evening, he said, ‘You need to come out and stay with me in Fireplace Island. I assume you are going to like it.’”

Credit…Giulia Menechella

The up coming summer months, Mr. Rice took Mr. Roth up on the present and uncovered that he preferred Mr. Roth’s getaway in the Pines incredibly substantially in fact. But as he strolled together the boardwalk, it was yet another household that commanded his consideration: a massive, pyramid-formed setting up with cedar shingles on 3 sides and a soaring triangular wall of steel and glass on the fourth.

It was virtually as if a massive mock-up of I.M. Pei’s Louvre Pyramid experienced washed up on the seaside.

Intrigued, Mr. Rice commenced asking all over and realized that the residence was owned by Jeff Mahshie, a trend and costume designer. So when Mr. Rice’s friends encouraged him to request for a tour, he barely hesitated right before walking around.

Mr. Mahshie answered and welcomed him inside of — and Mr. Rice could not imagine his eyes as he took in the sweeping see about sand dunes to the ocean and the bay.

“We stroll in, and it’s just amazing,” Mr. Rice mentioned.

The house was developed by Julio Kaufman, an Argentine architect, in the early 1960s. Then in 2001, the author Paul Rudnick acquired it and employed yet another architect, Hal Hayes, to update and expand it. It was Mr. Hayes who additional the metal-and-glass wall, and who reconfigured the inside to make the top rated degree an open residing-and-eating spot with a kitchen and the decrease amount an expansive major suite. Exterior, Mr. Hayes extra a poolside guesthouse comprising 3 connected packing containers with pyramidal roofs.

Mr. Rice marveled at the compound, engaged Mr. Mahshie in dialogue about scripts he spied on tables and eventually advised him that he was lucky to live in these kinds of a breathtaking property.

“And he mentioned, ‘Actually, I’m contemplating of promoting,’” Mr. Rice recalled.

Mr. Rice occurred to be in the method of marketing his Harlem brownstone, which would offer him with the funds to invest in the home. Back again in Manhattan, a handful of days later on, “we fulfilled for lunch in TriBeCa and did a handshake deal,” Mr. Rice said, after agreeing to a price tag of $1.32 million.

“I just fell in appreciate with the home and considered everything about it — like the approach by which I was having it — was incredible,” he stated.

Just after closing in December 2018, he necessary to furnish the dwelling, but he was organized for that, also: An aficionado of structure, Mr. Rice runs a side company identified as Supervision, acquiring and selling classic midcentury-fashionable home furnishings and add-ons. For the residing room, he brought in a pair of teak-and-cane sofas made by Peter Hvidt and Orla Mølgaard-Nielsen in the late 1950s, plus a pair of slouchy armchairs with lacquered wood frames and blue suede upholstery from the 1970s. For the most important suite, he set up a Norwegian Westnofa rosewood bedroom set from the 1960s and classic French resin benches with multicolored geometric bases.

“Pretty significantly all the things is from close to the exact same time period as the property,” Mr. Rice claimed. “It’s my aesthetic anyway, but it turned out that I was selecting items that fit.”

He opted not to make any huge architectural modifications, but the household needed substantial repairs and upgrades, from replacing rotten cedar boards exterior to incorporating heat tape around pipes that would in any other case freeze in the wintertime.

“Being on Hearth Island, involving the ocean and the bay, is actually difficult on the houses,” he claimed. “All the salt, the regular humidity, et cetera. So every year I do a major venture. I did the electrical program and the plumbing procedure. This slide, it’s going to be the replacement of all the doorways and home windows.”

In all, Mr. Rice believed that he has used about $400,000 restoring and retaining the residence.

He has also flipped the script on owning a summer season dwelling, spending the vast majority of the yr on Hearth Island and periodically returning to his apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. When he isn’t dwelling in the pyramid, he rents it out on Airbnb and Vrbo, wherever it can fetch extra than $3,000 a night in the summer months. “It is my major residence,” he claimed, “but I do hire the household out in the significant year to aid defray all of the ongoing expenses.”

And if he misses a number of incredibly hot, sunny days in July and August, which is Alright. “Looking through that window,” he claimed, “no subject what the weather conditions is — a storm, a snowstorm, a sunny working day or clouds going by — is just wonderful.”

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