Open a door on the home’s lofty third level, step on to this expertly crafted, stainless-steel, corkscrew slide, and you can whoosh down to the ground. Hands in the air, rollercoaster-style, naturally.
“It’s a really fun slide for kids and grown-ups, though it was designed as a more elegant solution to the traditional fire escape,” explains listing agent Bonnie Doran, with brokers Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty.
Known as the Maidman House, this sprawling, wooded, three-acre compound overlooks Hempstead Harbor on Long Island’s tony Gold Coast. It also comes with 200-feet of private sandy beach.
New York property scion Richard H. Maidman reportedly bought the run-down compound in 1971 from the Brooklyn Archdiocese, which had been using it as a retreat for nuns.
He called on his friend, the then up-and-coming architect Richard Meier, to remodel the original main house. Meier essentially gutted the property, completely reconfiguring the interior and exterior.
On his website, Meier says the home was “in poor condition, lacking both amenity and an identifiable style.” What it did have was “a magnificent setting, including hundred-year-old maple and oak trees and a park-like surround sloping gently down to a sandy beach.”
The now 86-year-old Pritzker Prize-winning architect, famous for his design of The Getty Museum in Los Angeles and Spain’s Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, took the house down to bare bones.
“The transformation involved gutting the entire interior except the main stair, while retaining the foundation, basement, exterior bearing walls and roof.”
To transform the bland exterior, Meier added towering, curved end pieces—he calls them “high bookends”—providing “a foil to the somewhat squat volumetric mass of the house.”
The result was pure Meier, with his trademark stark-white exterior, bold stance, dramatic curved forms and horizontal elements to give a clean, minimalist look.
Astor Lane, on Long Island’s Sands Point peninsula, leads down to this wooded estate, just 40 minutes by train from Manhattan and next door to the 210-acre, members-only Village Club of Sands Point.
With its 18-hole Tom Doak-designed golf course, tennis, hiking and swimming, the club is village-owned and part of the fabled Guggenheim Estate.
The main house has more than 4,600-square feet of interior space over three floors and comes with five bedrooms: a sprawling master suite on the second floor and four bedrooms set in the pitched roof with skylight windows.
The open-plan first floor living area features a towering, double-height ceiling with a gallery featuring a library and cozy reading area. Sliding doors open out to an oversized deck with views of the harbor.
The newly renovated kitchen—done with Meier’s overview and approval—is again all-white with professional-grade appliances and features a row of cabinets seemingly suspended in air across a large window.
On the grounds, a highlight is the home’s lovely three-story boat house right on the sandy beach. A main living area opens out onto a waterfront terrace, while an open-tread ladder leads up to the galleried loft-style bedroom with its spectacular water views.
Also on the property is a stand-alone guest cottage with three bedrooms and a studio, a tennis court, a small swimming pool and terraced gardens.
A recent addition is the detached, five-car garage—seems the Maidman family, which still owns the property, are keen classic car enthusiasts.
And, according to Sotheby’s Bonnie Doran, that lovely black 1939 Cadillac Fleetwood limousine and lemon-drop-yellow 1969 Mercedes-Benz 280SE Convertible in the photos, could be included in the sale.
“This is truly a unique, exceptional property on the Gold Coast of Long Island, an area that is in high demand right now,” says Doran. “I expect the buyer to be someone who has a true love of architecture and sees the appeal of a home designed by the great Richard Meier.”