Robin Gibb of Bee Gees fame lived in this lavish waterfront home on Long Island’s Gold Coast during the 1970s until it sold in 1983. But while he may be the most recognizable personality to most readers, the home’s earlier history is just as storied. Built in 1926 as a wedding gift from Arthur H. Fleming for his daughter Marjorie, the seven-bedroom, 10-bath mansion in Lloyd Harbor was made to last with its strong construction and slate-tiled roof. Fleming was a lumber operator out West and a major donor to Cal Tech, as was Marjorie, who married Wilton Lloyd-Smith. Architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue designed the home (where Albert Einstein was a frequent guest), and he also designed Cal Tech, the cathedral at West Point and St. Bartholomew’s in Manhattan. It’s now for sale for $12.9 million through Sotheby’s, listed with Bonnie Williamson.
The three-story main house’s details—both newly added and original—are exquisite and speak to the graciousness of a bygone era. At the front entryway, an expansive coat room and powder room greet guests before a long hallway extends to French doors that look out on the water and let in plenty of sunlight. An enormous living room has coffered mahogany ceilings, matching the refurbished ceiling of the entry hall. The grand dining room offers magnificent bay views and has a fireplace plus more beautiful woodwork. An enclosed garden room leads out to the pool. Off the dining room is a butler’s entrance that leads to a sparkling new kitchen, kitted out with dual Sub-Zero refrigerators, a Wolf stove and wine storage.
A large library is also located on the first floor. Along one wall, the bookcase opens to reveal a secret bar (the home was built during prohibition years, after all) and along the opposite wall another hidden door leads to a half bath. Other charming details include an elevator, a working dumbwaiter that travels from the third floor all the way to the basement and an enormous walk-in safe.
From the garage entrance on the main level, there is a mudroom, a newly added bathroom and a media room. The garage can hold four to six cars.
The oversized primary bedroom suite sits on the second floor and opens to a private terrace overlooking Oyster Bay. The current owner added an enormous mahogany walk-in closet and completely refurbished the primary bathroom with imported tile and radiant heat flooring. An additional powder room rounds out the suite. Down the hall is another spacious family room with two balconies and a second kitchen. Two more family bedrooms, both with en suite baths, occupy this level, one of them used regularly by Albert Einstein on his visits.
The home’s third story holds the remaining bedrooms, a home office and a massive game room.
The estate sprawls across nearly seven acres and has 500 feet of private beachfront as well as a (recently refaced) 200-foot deep-water dock jutting out into Oyster Bay. Nearing the century mark, the home also received other substantial renovations, with foam-spray insulation used behind Venetian plaster walls and radiant heating added beneath the hardwood flooring. The house was replumbed using all copper pipes, and state-of-the-art wiring was installed. Interestingly, the property also includes geothermal wells for heating.
The acreage includes a pool and a greenhouse, built by horticulturist Paula Rice, who purchased the home from Gibb in 1983. She invested more than $1 million in the property’s perennial gardens that are scattered throughout the estate.
The property also includes a caretaker’s cottage, which, like the main house, was completely renovated. It has a living room, galley kitchen, one bedroom and bath. While the entire estate’s renovation was a passion project undertaken by the current owner, he never quite moved in, so the space is ready and waiting for its next family.