Just about two years ago, supermodel Christie Brinkley put her stunning 1843 Greek Revival in North Haven up for sale, asking $25 million. Since then, the price has been trimmed gradually, and now it’s in contract, at a last ask of $18 million. Listing agent Enzo Morabito of Douglas Elliman told us that the house needs work, or otherwise he’d ask $40 million for it. Did the buyer get a good deal?
The property is 4.5 acres, including 327 feet of sandy beach overlooking the harbor, yachts, sailboats, and open bay. There are lovely gardens and a gunite pool overlooking the water. The beautiful three-story house includes many period details: columned facades, the wide-plank pine floors, and multiple fireplaces. There are five bedrooms and 5.5 baths in 5500 square feet, and the master suite sports its own sitting room and terrace for taking in the breathtaking views.
One thing we know: if we were buying the place, we’d make a deal for any of Christie’s furniture or antiques she’d part with. We love her taste.
It’s known as the Benjamin Payne house, after its first owner. It all began in 1843 when carpenter and sometime whaling captain Benjamin Crowell Payne build the house. Payne was born in 1813 in North Haven and died in 1879 in North Haven. (These days he’s a resident of Oakland Cemetery in Sag Harbor.) He lived on Sunset Beach Road before building the house on Fahys Road. As a carpenter, Payne was involved with the building of at least four other houses in North Haven. The brother of whaling captain Charles Watson Payne, Benjamin was also involved in the whale trade, serving as the captain of the ship Henry Lee from 1845-47. He and his wife Amanda were the parents of six surviving children.
By April 1911, Payne’s heirs were ready to sell the place. Henry C. Ham purchased the estate for $12,000, with the idea of opening a hotel. Ham was a hotelier by trade, owner of the Nassau Hotel in Sag Harbor. With summer tourists increasing and steamboats running between New York, Connecticut and Sag Harbor, he thought the area could support another hotel. Ham had plans drawn up to remodel the house into a modem summer hotel with an extension in the rear and accommodation for eighty people. He called it the Colonial Hotel
In 1920, Ham sold the hotel to Theodore Dixon, who renamed it the Dixon Hotel. He and wife Madeleine Cook (a daughter of Joseph Fahys, owner of the Watchcase Factory) owned the hotel as late as 1934. Later, they turned it back into a private home called Chalot.
Brinkley purchased the place for $7.15 million in 2004. Yes, it took a while to sell, but as Morabito says, “The place is just magnificent.” We’ll be excited to see the next chapter in the long history of this stalwart home.
For more, click here. 1 Fahys Road, North Haven