Space. It’s what most of us dream about. But making good use of it is another thing. When blessed with too much square footage, rooms often go unfinished, furniture never quite fits and a house fails to become a home. So, imagine wrestling 24,000 square feet into shape. When a project of that size came her way, architect Giusi Mastro had her work cut out for her. She certainly couldn’t pretend that the Long Island home wasn’t grand. But with a firm understanding of scale and proportion and an artist’s appreciation for material, texture and color, she embraced its stunning dimensions to create interiors as authentically functional as they are visually and emotionally compelling.
“After the footprint of the house was designed by a local architect, my client realized that what makes a grand and inviting place is not the amount of square feet, but what you do with it and how you express it in architectural language,” says Mastro, founder of ORA Studio NYC. She began by fashioning a more intimate foyer, then mediated the expanse of the home’s main floor by turning the six, thin structural columns that ran across the space into significant architectural features, allowing her to define a dining room and media area, and two lounges. Illuminated coffered ceilings – each one in a slightly different pattern – further demarcate the individual yet interconnected spaces. The separate but adjacent kitchen is arranged around two islands, one of which is equipped with a cooktop and an impressive, reflective hood hanging above it. On the second floor, Mastro created a gallery that overlooks the floor below. Outfitted with custom glass shelves for display, it serves as an elegant prelude to the master suite, complete with his and her closets and bathrooms. A family room, laundry, children’s playroom and guest accommodations round out the program.
Happily, for the Puglia-born Mastro, her client lived in Italy for many years and was receptive to her determination to employ Old World traditions in a contemporary manner. Stone – which she applied extensively – was key to that approach. Bianco Lasa marble covers the staircase, living room floors, main kitchen and her master bathroom walls and floors. His bathroom features Nero Marquina floors and Statuario Fantastico-clad walls. The monumental fireplace in the living room is made from Serpeggiante Kenya Zebra marble. “I love to use stone and precious materials that enhance a contemporary design and have a luxe look,” shares Mastro. “Stone is living and breathing, it adds a natural aspect to interiors and has a durability and high- end quality that my clients desire. Coming from Italy, where every piece of stone is a piece of history, in every large city and small villages in remote locations, it is part of my DNA to love stone and precious materials. Having a client that can understand and embrace that is a plus.”
Like a luxury yacht too massive to turn on a dime, this property wasn’t wrestled into shape easily. Its sheer scale and air-eating volumes were meant to impress, not disappear behind sofas, chairs, rugs and pictures. Mastro met it on its own terms. She didn’t cut it down to size. Instead, she sized it up, beautifully. Brava!
Photography by Richard Cadan.
For more like this Long Island home, be sure to check out this “luxe but livable” space in Great Neck, NY.
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