An elegant house in the exceedingly tony Long Island, N.Y., village of Old Brookville has come for sale at $12.5 million. Known as Woodside, the French-style estate’s imposing, vine-encrusted main house has eight bedrooms and eight full bathrooms, plus four powder rooms. Extra-luxe amenities include four fireplaces, a high-end eat-in family kitchen and a separate prep kitchen, a game room, a wine cellar, and a gym. Listed with Paul Mateyunas at Douglas Elliman, the 12.5-acre spread also boasts a separate three-bedroom cottage, a detached three-car garage, a saltwater pool and pool house, and a tennis court. Of course, all this comes at a steep price in the well-off New York City suburbs, where property taxes are notoriously high. In the case of Woodside, they’re a blistering $138,000 a year.
The current owners of the historic estate are hedge fund manager Remy Trafelet and his second wife, Lady Melissa Jane Percy Trafelet, an English fashion designer and former professional tennis player who happens to be the fortunately born daughter of 12th Duke of Northumberland. They were married in 2019 and since then have sought to make some changes to their real estate portfolio. Fun fact: Her family home, Alnwick Castle, was used as a stand-in for Hogwarts in the “Harry Potter” films.
Trafelet paid $15 million for Woodside in 2005, while married to his now ex-wife, Lara Trafelet. That means, of course, the high-finance fat cat is poised to take a brutal $2.5 million loss on the property even if he manages to pull in a full price offer, which seems a bit unlikely given that the estate has been for sale on and off for a couple of years at the same $12.5 million. Tabloid readers may recall that Trafelet and his former wife maintained a notably profligate lifestyle — their expenses topped $16 million a year and their half a dozen homes included a grouse moor in Scotland — that was exposed during their acrimonious divorce, during which she reportedly instructed forensic accountants to “kick him between his legs and bring him to his knees.”
Completed in 1928, the residence was designed by architect Benjamin Wistar Morris, of the firm of LaFarge & Morris, for newspaperman Fremont Carson Peck, publisher of the Brooklyn Daily Times, the Brooklyn Times-Union, and the Standard Union. Peck also served as director of F.W. Woolworth & Co., no doubt an appointment facilitated by his father, Carson C. Peck, who was business partners with F.W. Woolworth. La Farge and Morris’s other buildings include the nearby J.P. Morgan House, in Glen Cove, the Williams Memorial Library at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., the Cathedral of St. James in Seattle, Wash., and St. Patrick’s Church in Philadelphia. Morris himself designed the Cunard Building at 25 Broadway and the Morgan Library Annex on East 36th Street, both designated as New York City Landmarks.
Though they’d like to get rid of their big house on Long Island badly enough they’re willing to endure a multi-million dollar loss, the Trafelets still own a number of other homes to which they can retreat in the lap of luxury. In September, just a year after purchasing it for $4.8 million, the couple lucratively sold a six-bedroom house in Palm Beach for $9.9 million but they still have a modern four-floor townhouse on Manhattan’s Park Avenue, plus what’s known as Mercer Mill Plantation, a stunningly beautiful 6,000-acre wild quail reserve and pecan farm in southern Georgia.