August 24, 2017

An Island Idyll on Shelter Island is Full of Nautical Charm

A 1924 Sears Kit House is Chock-Full of Nautical Chic, Celebrating the Halcyon Days of Summer.

by Nicole Haddad photographer Costas Picadas

SHELTER ISLAND IDYLL
The Hochmans rebuilt the porch overlooking the bay, painted it Seacoast Gray, and added a copper ship lamp that darkened with age.

ISLAND IDYLL

Dan found the living room's beautifully worn coffee table discarded on 107th Street in Manhattan.
Dan found the living room's beautifully worn coffee table discarded
on 107th Street in Manhattan and refurbished it himself.

WHEN MARA AND DAN HOCHMAN saw their 1924 Sears kit house on sunny Shelter Island, they knew they had to have it. The nostalgia of the home evoked a simpler time, when families gathered to listen to the radio, and an outing to the movies was an event to be treasured.

The well-scaled, spacious four-bedroom home—one of a few sought after Sears kit homes left on Shelter Island—is nestled in the Silver Beach community. It is a throwback to an era when you could order a house from a catalog and receive it in the mail—or in this case by railroad, and then by ferry—complete with an instruction book for a carpenter to put together. It also serves as a harbinger of the modern prefab eco-houses on the market now. "Our house is a beautiful getaway," says Mara Hochman. "It is close to the Hamptons, close to wine country, and it sits in the perfect spot—we see the sun come up, the sun set, and the light of the moon over the bay is spectacular."

shelter island, mara hochman
To keep the old-school American charm but add functionality, the Hochmans decorated with antique kitchen and farm-fresh themed antique signs, installed 12-by-12 checkered linoleum floor, updated the appliances, and refinished the sink, adding storage below; Mara's collection of pine bowls tie into the English pine seen throughout the home.

The Hochmans purchased the home in 1992, with a layout that was already close to perfect for a couple with a son on the way and room to grow. When you walk in, a foyer leads straight into an expansive shared living and dining space, with two roomy bedrooms to the right and a bathroom in the middle. To the left of the foyer sits the kitchen, which also connects to the living space. Two large bedrooms upstairs and a bright, luxurious bath overlooking the bay complete the space.

Mara and Dan Hochman, Shelter Island
Left and right: The foyer's welcoming appeal; The charming dining area boasts breathtaking views and an English pine dining table that can seat 12. Lightweight chairs the couple found in an antiques store on Houston Street and an industrial pendant light complete the seaside look.
dan and mara hochman, shelter island, sears kit house
Left and right: The Hochmans decorated with antique kitchen and farm-fresh themed antique signs; The breakfast table and coffee sign came with the house, also an attractive remnant from a Sears catalog. The Hochmans painted the table a cheerful turquoise for a pop of color.
Mara and Dan Hochman, Shelter Island
Left and right: Collections of seashells and sea glass acquired over time adorn the home; The Harlem Regatta poster sits above a fireplace mantel facing the French doors which Mara says are "always open during the summer." Each vignette showcases the couple's eye-catching finds and penchant for attractive details.

To take advantage of the Peconic Bay views, the couple set about renovating the space to reflect the surroundings while still keeping the integrity and character of the old house. "These houses weren't built with specific site settings in mind," says Dan Hochman, "so we enlarged the waterfront French doors and built dormers in the upstairs bedrooms to take in the wonderful bay views."

Mara and Dan Hochman, Shelter Island
Left and right: The treasured, handcrafted Adirondack chairs, picnic table, and benches were made by a North Fork furniture maker, who passed away a few years ago; Dan Hochman painted the outdoor shower aqua-green, because he wanted it to have "an older feel that brings you back to a comfortable place."
Mara and Dan Hochman, Shelter Island
Left to right: A collection of glass bottles reflects the sun; An old pine cupboard and soft traditional wainscoting add allure to the upstairs bathroom; A vintage sailing poster from the 1970s hangs in the downstairs bedroom facing the porch.

To keep the seaside cottage-like feel, the Hochmans decorated the house with antique signs, old glass bottles, sea glass in jars and bowls throughout, and stacked soda pop boxes. They also installed a 12-by-12 checkered linoleum floor in the kitchen. "We have a certain 1920s/1930s look that we love," says Mara. "It's our hobby to hunt for the house." The old ship lamps, industrial pendants, as well as the buoys decorating the outdoor shower reflect Dan Hochman's penchant for maritime designs, which happen to go perfectly with the yearly white painted floors, found and made pine furniture, and the breakfast table nook and coffee sign original to the house—the former of which they painted a cheerful turquoise color perfect for island life. It is a home that refects that halcyon days of summer, bringing them fully into the present.

mara and dan hochman, shelter island, sears kit house
Left and right: A delightful corner contains an assortment of wooden boxes, colorful bocci balls, and baskets. "I collect games," says Dan. "I like having them around for visitors. It reminds me of the grand old era of lawn bowling!" The Mickey Mouse rotary phone in the foyer was once the subject of a friend and photographer's art exhibition.
mara hochman, shelter island
Left to right: Collections of seashells and sea glass acquired over time adorn the home; A folk art vignette atop an English pine dresser in an upstairs bedroom.

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