The new bed and breakfast called Vine+Sand is not the only black house on the North Fork. In fact, it’s not the only black house on its picturesque stretch of Main Road west of Southold. But Ann Hom, the designer behind the renovation of the 200-year-old farmhouse, knew it would turn heads before it even opened last June — and it did. “People would stop their cars and just look at it,” she said. “They were used to seeing a yellow farmhouse. This is different.”
Hom’s design firm, San Francisco-based FHS Interiors, does residential and hospitality design, so when her longtime friends John Pierce and Mark Hoffman called on her to help them turn an old house into a B&B, she knew it was right in her wheelhouse.
For 10 years, Pierce and Hoffman operated an Airbnb in Playa del Rey, Calif., that got rave reviews. Both were actors, and their Airbnb, which started as a side-gig, became a passion. They became perennial superhosts, with international visitors, and found they enjoyed it immensely. When they left Southern California for New York, they started looking for a place where they could do hosting full time, and found it in an old farmhouse on Main Road in Southold.
The oversized front porch serves as a focal point joining the old and new spaces. (Photography by David Benthal)
The house held surprises and secrets. “We had hired an architect to do some drawings and he confirmed that it is a lot older than we thought it was,” said Hom. “The original farmhouse is 200 years old with a couple of additions.” They learned from their contractor that it’s not unusual to find things in the walls of an old home during a renovation. The contractor presented them with photographs and a piece of wood with “Hoffman”printed on it, probably from one of the businesses run by the Hoffman family of Southold in the early 20th century and, coincidentally, also the name of one of the owners.
Hom’s charge was to turn the house into a four-bedroom B&B with private owners’ quarters, and she said her first goal was to give the 1820s structure and its newer additions a more cohesive look. “We did that by creating a large front porch as a focal point to join the old and the new,” she said.
She decided to leave the floor plan essentially unchanged, to restore both the architectural details and the floors, which is a rare and glorious wood known as pumpkin pine. Where it was necessary to replace flooring, she chose wood as close as possible to the original.
On the second floor you’ll find the B&B’s four guest rooms. (Photography by David Benthal)
All the ceilings had to be replaced, so she chose wood-paneled ceilings and white walls for the sitting room and the great room to create warm and inviting spaces.
Throughout the house, Hom maintained a black and white theme. “It’s important for the inside and the outside to refer to each other,” she said,“and I really wanted to celebrate the detail of the house.” She also restored all the original plaster moldings, which are painted black.
The walls in all four guest rooms, the great room and sitting rooms are white because, in addition to being a B&B, Vine+Sand is an art salon. “It’s a great place for guests who appreciate the design aesthetic and also for people who love to look at art,” said Hom. “It’s always changing. You might stay there once and the next time it’s 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 came in August. Palumbo is known for his residence at The Orient Point Lighthouse, where he created an installation. The works on display at Vine+Sand are available for sale.
The decorative floor in the foyer is original and striking. It leads to a sitting room with rich and textured furniture and an original marble fireplace. The sitting room opens to a light-filled room with window seats, tables and art on every wall. This great room is a salon space and doubles as the breakfast room.
Vine+Sand isn’t just a place to stay but also an art salon with ever-changing collections. (Photography by David Benthal)
When it came time to design the interiors, Pierce and Hoffman had in mind using some of the antique furniture they already owned, but Hom had a different vision. “They said they could have done it without me, but it would have been more of a granny-style,” said Hom. “They ended up not using any of the family antiques.”
Modern where it counts, the house is powered by solar panels on the roof, the light fixtures are modern and each guest room has a bathroom and individual heat and temperature controls.
Hom so enjoyed the experience of designing the house, and is so pleased with the outcome, that she became a partner with Pierce and Hoffman in the business, although she lives in the Bay Area.
“I found it hard to walk away,” she said. “It’s really fun to have a business in a small town like this.”