JUNE 13, 2014
The Long Island mansion used for “The Money Pit,” the 1986 comedy starring Tom Hanks and Shelley Long about the ultimate fixer-upper fiasco, is poised to go on the market for $12.5 million. The annual property taxes on the home are $65,992.
The eight-bedroom 1898 house in Lattingtown, N.Y., has been totally redone, meticulously designed and decorated with a Versace-esque flair. The three-story white clapboard home has a center hall and is reached through a gated entrance and down a quarter-mile-long rhododendron-lined drive to a white-pebble motor court. “It’s now the anti-‘Money Pit,’ ” said Shawn Elliott of Shawn Elliott Luxury Homes & Estates, the listing broker. “The home was restored at the highest quality.”
When the movie was shot, the home was owned by Eric Ridder, a publisher and a member of the American yachting team that won the gold medal at the 1952 Olympics. Front and back exteriors of the home, which is bracketed by symmetrical wings and is known as Northway, appear in the movie; most of the interior scenes were staged in a studio. Still, the current homeowners, Rich and Christina Makowsky, who bought the 5.4-acre estate in 2002, said their experience imitated art.
“We didn’t realize how bad it was,” said Mr. Makowsky, a shoe manufacturer and distributor. “The house was falling apart when you went from room to room. We definitely could have done the sequel.”
A crew of 30 spent a year and a half gutting the house, taking down ceilings, ripping out the cast-iron radiators, redoing the plumbing, heating and electrical systems, installing a cedar roof that cures to gray, not brown, and restoring the home to the splendor of Long Island’s Gilded Age.
“One thing led to another to another,” Mr. Makowsky said, from the plaster ceiling medallions to the hand-carved balustrades, crown moldings and herringbone floors. Each of the seven full and two half-baths was renovated. The pool, pool house, driveway and landscaping, including an outdoor sound system and a six-car garage, were also overhauled.
Ms. Makowsky, a clothing designer, revamped the interiors for contemporary living with an eye for detail, bringing in chandeliers and bronze sconces from Europe. “It was designed to entertain,” she said.
As one walks in the front door, three of the eight fireplaces are visible — in the foyer, the library and the dining room, which comfortably fits 28. The media room, off the living room, has an imported 500-year-old French fireplace and black suede tufted fabric on the walls. A refrigerated “wine wall” holds about 80 bottles. Cocktails before dinner are served in the library, which is connected to the dining room by French doors with transoms.
Three rooms were combined to create a chef’s kitchen, with marble countertops and a mahogany center island. French doors lead from the dining room to a butler’s pantry. A nine-foot-long, four-foot-high oval window in the breakfast area overlooks an English rose garden. The master suite wing includes a sitting room with a fireplace, a palatial dressing room with mirrored French doors on the closets and a sumptuous master bath with a free-standing oval tub, twin vanities, a shower room and a separate water closet. The four family bedrooms on the second floor have en-suite baths and walk-in closets. The third floor has four additional bedrooms, a hall bath and cedar-lined closets.
The finished lower level has a spacious recreation room, a large gym with a fireplace, a laundry room, a guest or staff suite, a powder room, a pantry and a French door to a bluestone patio.
A herringbone brick veranda wraps the back of the house. Down a brick staircase is an in-ground heated saltwater pool with a paver surround. An 800-square-foot pool house has a slate floor and a tray ceiling and is outfitted with a full kitchen, a full bath, a changing room and a laundry room. Also on the manicured three-tiered grounds are a fountain and a gazebo.