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Woody House: Renovated 1930s East Hampton Home by Pietro Cicognani and Peter Marino 

Photographer: Francesco Lagnese 

Architect/Designer: Peter Marino

Client: Pietro Cicognani

Location: East Hampton, NY

Shoot Date: 
July 31, 2019 
Published Date: 
October 06, 2020 
Woody House, a romantic bluff-top 1930s abode in East Hampton at the nexus of the Atlantic Ocean and Georgica Pond, is renowned for its five acres of magnificent gardens, which were inspired by Mughal gardens, the garden designs of Gertrude Jekyll, and Sissinghurst Castle Garden, among others. Cicognani Kalla has been involved with the house for more than thirty years and also converted an existing boathouse into a guesthouse, as well as contributing some of the hardscaping.

The one-room-wide main house was originally the guesthouse of Juan Trippe, the founder of Pan Am Airways, and was in disrepair when Cicognani first saw it. Cicognani Kalla first addressed the main house, making it more symmetrical. He then added a freestanding octagonal tower with 360-degree views on the east side of house, linking it underground to the main house. More recently, he designed a wing that includes a second-floor library and a fir-paneled master suite. It connects to the tower via a wooden bridge with a Chippendale-style railing resembling that of the house’s main stairwell. Below it and facing north is a new two-story Mughal-inspired pergola that looks as though it has always been there.

Peter Marino oversaw the interior design of the main house. There are stenciled “rugs” and walls in the living room and dining room, as well as the foyer, where Cicognani designed a double-height window that floods the entrance with natural light.

Cicognani also wholly renovated the windswept guesthouse, now called Pond House, which was originally Trippe’s boathouse—only the rope-handled spiral wooden staircase of which remains. Inspired by a Scandinavian version that the owner had admired, it was decorated by Genevieve Faure.

Most of the hardscaping and landscaping was designed by the owner, Katharine Rayner, her team, and CKA, but Cicognani helped with the pool, the main outdoor entrance, a pedestrian bridge, and the brick-banded stone posts at the property’s entrance, which are topped by canine sculptures chosen by Rayner, an inveterate dog lover. And, in a structural feat, he excavated ten feet of packed sand beneath the foundation on the west side of the main house to add a huge storage room with light sheds, an office, and specially designed shelving for the legendary hostess’s china. What will be next?

(extract from “Pietro Cicognani” by Karen Bruno; Vendome, October 2020) 
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