Architect: HORACE GIFFORD, 1964.

Angelo Donghia, a rising star in the interior design world, turned to Horace Gifford in 1964 to create a bayside retreat for himself and his best friend, the couture designer Halston. Like Gifford, Donghia was a precocious talent who made his mark at an early age. By the 1970’s, Donghia was a household brand, having established a mass-market business model that was later emulated by Ralph Lauren and Martha Stewart.


Donghia’s eclecticism and opulent taste were at odds with Gifford’s austerity, and the client’s classicizing influence is apparent in the broad boardwalk that was centered on the home, a gesture in direct opposition to the winding path favored by Gifford. Three arched bays delineated a symmetrical plan with a clear front and back. Paint and plaster made a rare (for Gifford) appearance, abetting black and white Donghia furnishings. Green glass pool-table pendants designed by Harry Gitlin illuminated the kitchen, as they would in virtually every other Gifford home. A lowered, flat ceiling across the home’s midsection brought curved clerestory windows to both ends of the living room and the bedrooms, diffusing light across the rounded ceilings. Artist Hans Namuth immortalized the house with black-and-white photos that were published first in the New York Times and then House and Garden.


Circa 2005, the home was nested into a glassy expansion by architect Hal Hayes.

This home is featured in Fire Island Modernist: Horace Gifford and the Architecture of Seduction.


Photos: Hans Namuth. Plan: Christopher Rawlins.

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