He Didn’t Plan to Buy a Place on Fire Island. But This Was No Ordinary Home.


Glenn Rice’s journey to proudly owning a home on Fireplace Island, N.Y., started unexpectedly in Boston and was propelled, surprisingly, by his love of theater.

In September 2017, Mr. Rice, an actual property agent, visited Boston to see a pal carry out within the opening night time of the play “WARHOLCAPOTE.” At a dinner afterward, he befriended Rob Roth, the playwright who wrote the present.

“We just started talking and got along like gangbusters,” mentioned Mr. Rice, 49. “So at the end of the evening, he said, ‘You should come out and stay with me in Fire Island. I think you’ll like it.’”

Credit score…Giulia Menechella

The following summer season, Mr. Rice took Mr. Roth up on the provide and located that he appreciated Mr. Roth’s getaway within the Pines very a lot certainly. However as he strolled alongside the boardwalk, it was one other home that commanded his consideration: a big, pyramid-shaped constructing with cedar shingles on three sides and a hovering triangular wall of metal and glass on the fourth.

It was virtually as if a big mock-up of I.M. Pei’s Louvre Pyramid had washed up on the seaside.

Intrigued, Mr. Rice started asking round and realized that the home was owned by Jeff Mahshie, a trend and costume designer. So when Mr. Rice’s mates inspired him to ask for a tour, he barely hesitated earlier than strolling over.

Mr. Mahshie answered and welcomed him inside — and Mr. Rice couldn’t consider his eyes as he took within the sweeping view over sand dunes to the ocean and the bay.

“We walk in, and it’s just incredible,” Mr. Rice mentioned.

The home was designed by Julio Kaufman, an Argentine architect, within the early Nineteen Sixties. Then in 2001, the author Paul Rudnick purchased it and employed one other architect, Hal Hayes, to replace and broaden it. It was Mr. Hayes who added the steel-and-glass wall, and who reconfigured the inside to make the highest degree an open living-and-dining space with a kitchen and the decrease degree an expansive main suite. Outdoors, Mr. Hayes added a poolside guesthouse comprising three linked containers with pyramidal roofs.

Mr. Rice marveled on the compound, engaged Mr. Mahshie in dialog about scripts he spied on tables and at last advised him that he was fortunate to reside in such a wide ranging dwelling.

“And he said, ‘Actually, I’m thinking of selling,’” Mr. Rice recalled.

Mr. Rice occurred to be within the technique of promoting his Harlem brownstone, which would offer him with the funds to purchase the home. Again in Manhattan, a couple of days later, “we met for lunch in TriBeCa and did a handshake deal,” Mr. Rice mentioned, after agreeing to a worth of $1.32 million.

“I just fell in love with the house and thought everything about it — including the process by which I was getting it — was amazing,” he mentioned.

After closing in December 2018, he wanted to furnish the house, however he was ready for that, too: An aficionado of design, Mr. Rice runs a aspect enterprise referred to as Supervision, shopping for and promoting classic midcentury-modern furnishings and equipment. For the lounge, he introduced in a pair of teak-and-cane sofas designed by Peter Hvidt and Orla Mølgaard-Nielsen within the late Nineteen Fifties, plus a pair of slouchy armchairs with lacquered wooden frames and blue suede upholstery from the Seventies. For the first suite, he put in a Norwegian Westnofa rosewood bed room set from the Nineteen Sixties and classic French resin benches with multicolored geometric bases.

“Pretty much everything is from around the same time period as the house,” Mr. Rice mentioned. “It’s my aesthetic anyway, but it turned out that I was choosing things that fit.”

He opted to not make any massive architectural modifications, however the home wanted intensive repairs and upgrades, from changing rotten cedar boards outdoors to including warmth tape round pipes that may in any other case freeze within the winter.

“Being on Fire Island, between the ocean and the bay, is really hard on the houses,” he mentioned. “All the salt, the constant moisture, et cetera. So every year I do a big project. I did the electrical system and the plumbing system. This fall, it’s going to be the replacement of all the doors and windows.”

In all, Mr. Rice estimated that he has spent about $400,000 restoring and sustaining the home.

He has additionally flipped the script on proudly owning a summer season dwelling, spending nearly all of the 12 months on Fireplace Island and periodically returning to his condominium in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. When he isn’t residing within the pyramid, he rents it out on Airbnb and Vrbo, the place it will possibly fetch greater than $3,000 an evening in the summertime. “It is my primary residence,” he mentioned, “but I do rent the house out in the high season to help defray all of the ongoing costs.”

And if he misses a couple of sizzling, sunny days in July and August, that’s OK. “Looking through that window,” he mentioned, “no matter what the weather is — a storm, a snowstorm, a sunny day or clouds going by — is just fantastic.”

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