Vine+Sand has a fresh take on North Fork hospitality
The new bed and breakfast called Vine+Sand isn’t the only black house on the North Fork. In fact, it’s not the only black house on this picturesque stretch of main road west of Southold. But Anne Home, the designer behind the renovation of the 200-year-old farmhouse, knew it would turn heads even before it opened last June — and it did. “People would stop their cars and just look at it,” she said. “They’re used to seeing yellow farmhouse. This is different.”
Home’s design firm, San Francisco-based FHS Interiors, does residential and hospitality design, so when her old friends John Pierce and Mark Hoffman invited her to help them transform an old house into a bed and breakfast, she knew it was in her wheelhouse.
For 10 years, Pierce and Hoffman have operated an Airbnb in Playa del Rey, California, which has received rave reviews. They were both actors, and their Airbnb, which started as a side gig, became a passion. They always became excellent hosts, with international visitors finding they enjoyed it very much. When they left Southern California for New York, they began looking for a place where they could host full-time, and they found it in an old farmhouse on the turnpike in Southold.
The oversized front porch serves as a focal point connecting the old and new spaces. (Photo by David Benthall)
The house held surprises and secrets. “We hired an architect to do some drawings, and he confirmed it was much older than we thought,” Hom said. “The original farmhouse is 200 years old with some additions.” They learned from the contractor that it is not uncommon to find objects in the walls of an old house during the renovation process. The contractor presented them with photographs and a piece of wood with the name “Hoffman” printed on it, possibly from one of the businesses the Hoffman family operated in Southold in the early 1900s, and coincidentally also the name of one of the owners.
Home’s mission was to convert the house into a four-bedroom bed and breakfast with private owners’ quarters, and she said her first goal was to give the 1820s structure and its more recent additions a more cohesive look. “We did this by creating a large front porch as a focal point to connect the old and the new,” she said.
I decided to leave the floor plan essentially untouched, to restore both the architectural details and the flooring, a rare and exquisite wood known as pumpkin pine. When flooring needed to be replaced, she chose wood as close to the original as possible.
On the second floor you will find the bed and breakfast’s four guest rooms. (Photo by David Benthall)
All the ceilings had to be replaced, so she chose wood-paneled ceilings and white walls for the living room and great room to create warm, inviting spaces.
Throughout the house, Home maintained a black and white theme. “It’s important that the interior and exterior refer to each other, and I really wanted to celebrate the details of the house,” she said. She also restored all the original black painted plaster moldings.
The walls in all four guest rooms, the great room and the sitting rooms are white, because in addition to being a bed and breakfast, Vine+Sand is an art salon. “It’s a great place for guests who appreciate a design aesthetic and also for people who like to look at art,” Hom said. “It’s always changing. You might stay there once, and the next time you’ll find a different art collection. The art is mostly contemporary, with works by William Rand, Peter Dayton, Johan Wahlstrom, Joe Gaffney, Marsha Resnick, and Blair Seagram currently on display.”
Artists come there to talk about their work, including Agathe Snow and Randy Palumbo, who attended in August. Palumbo is famous for his residency at Orient Point Lighthouse, where he created an installation. Works featured on Vine+Sand are available for sale.
The patterned floor in the foyer is original and stunning. It leads to a sitting room with rich and ornate furniture and an original marble fireplace. The living room opens to a light-filled room with window seats, tables, and artwork on every wall. This great room is a parlor space and can also be used as a breakfast room.
Vine+Sand is not just a place to stay but also an art salon with ever-changing collections. (Photo by David Benthall)
When it came time to design the interiors, Pierce and Hoffman were thinking of using some antique furniture they already owned, but Home had a different vision. “They said they could have done it without me, but it would have been more granny-style,” Hom said. “They ended up not using any of the family antiques.”
The house is modern where it counts, powered by rooftop solar panels, lighting fixtures are modern and each guest room has a bathroom and individual heat and temperature controls.
Home enjoyed the experience of designing the home, and was so happy with the result, that she became a partner with Pierce and Hoffman in the business, even though she lives in the Bay Area.
“I found it difficult to get away,” she said. “It’s really fun to have a business in a small town like this.”