AN ELEGANT VESSEL

The constantly shifting views  of Rye’s Number Six

Photographs by Bob Rozycki and Tim Lee

Just hearing the phrase waterfront living is often enough to spark the imagination.

But a visit to a waterfront property in Rye humbly called Number Six sends that imagination soaring.

Most every glance, in fact, sets a daydream in motion.

You can see yourself easing into a lounge chair on the stone terrace, the Long Island Sound practically spread out before you. You’re ready to sit down to dinner in the elegant dining room where walls dotted with oversize windows evoke a yacht-like feel. You see yourself sipping coffee at the petite table perched on the balcony over the tidal pond. Oh, and perhaps most grandly, you wonder how it would feel to greet a new day from the raised master bed, eyes opening to a panoramic view of glistening water and seemingly never-ending sky.

For nearly three decades, these daydreams have been the real life of Edward (Ted) and Giovannella Dunn, who revel in their waterfront locale.

“The biggest attraction on an ongoing basis is the fact the water is different every day, every hour,” Ted says.

Their property is a rarity, a gracious and elegant home surrounded on three sides by water. Number Six, you see, sits on the tip of a peninsula bordered by the Sound and a tidal pond. Together, especially at high tide, these create a sense of being aboard the most elegant sailing vessel.

But don’t expect clichéd nautical accents. Rather there are countless signs of a life well-lived, from the cozy den/library to a living-room fireplace that adds warm appeal both literally and figuratively.

A sense of history

And now, as the Dunns prepare for the next phase of their life, the property is ready to welcome just its fourth owner in more than a century.

The home, a two-story Colonial that evokes a sense of Nantucket, got its start as the coachman’s house of an adjacent estate built at the turn of the 20th century. By 1949, it was converted into a private home.

“They were in the construction business,” Ted says of the Crow family that built the property. “The cement pillars that support the house are underneath. You could take a hammer to them, a chisel to them. You can’t get to them.”

Giovannella says some people might have concerns about the property.

“People think that this house must be damp,” she says. “It’s not.”

She says a centralized heating unit was a deliberate creation to provide years of comfort, while an 11-foot sea wall keeps the home safe in storms.

“I do think it was very, very well-built, and I think we’ve tried very hard to maintain that quality,” she says.

This is a home of tasteful proportions designed to meet every need. (Buyers will note the property is .47 acres on land, the rest on water). Life at Number Six is not about showing off. The most basic example is the garage, a workmanlike tandem model where two cars can rest nose to tail (rather than side by side). The Euro-style kitchen is a cozy, bright affair. A first-floor bathroom feels much larger thanks to a sweeping mural. The bedrooms are each comfortable and bright. Giovannella’s second-floor office, awash in natural light, could easily convert to an oversize bedroom or just as smoothly, a playroom or studio.

A bit of understated luxury is found in the master bath, where white-and-navy tiles surround the bathtub. If it sounds routine, you’re not factoring in the triangular window that provides an unencumbered view of the water.

Nature at your doorstep

All around, there is an abundance of nature, exactly what one would expect such a setting to showcase. The first few years, Ted found himself tracking the varieties of birds that came to feed on the clams exposed by low tide.

The home also lends itself to sporting activities. A tennis court, its net right on the property line, is shared with a neighbor. There’s swimming and a small sandy beach

o frolic on when the tide is out. There is also a dock, with the Dunns doing a fair share of sailing over the years. These days, it’s all about the bright yellow kayaks.

“I don’t think you’ll see us in our kayaks today, but you could on other days,” Ted says.

While there may be boats sailing by, there’s no marina or country club obscuring the views from Number Six. Instead, it feels like a bit of a retreat.

“You forget to put down your curtains sometimes,” Giovannella says with a chuckle.

Indeed, Ted echoes, “It’s a very private place to be.”

It’s also, he adds, “energizing….It recharges.”

That was something Ted, a former Rye mayor and longtime part of Manhattan’s financial industry, came to really appreciate.

“The fact that you could get out of that pressure cooker….You’re three minutes from the station, and you have all that water.”

It is, Giovannella shares, also a home for all seasons. She says she particularly loves the views in winter or whenever there’s a storm brewing. It’s drama like no other.

“I think the blue, you can find it all over the place, but the grays…,” she trails off, leading one to another daydream.

Love at first sight

The Dunns connected with Number Six from the very start.

“I was looking for a house to fall in love with, and it took me three years,” Giovannella says. At the time, they were living in Pelham. Waterfront property was not a priority.

Instead, Ted says, their wish list included things such as finding a home with plenty of trees and with an adjacent second lot.

This property had neither, yet its charm won them over “immediately,” Giovannella says.

“This room did it,” she adds, her gesture encompassing the welcoming living/family room where pale-yellow walls counterpoint the hardwood floor.

Indeed, the purchase wasn’t a long-debated affair.

“We saw the house at 10 o’clock in the morning, and we bid the offering price at noon,” Ted says.

Now, 28 years later, they are preparing to leave Number Six – but they won’t be going far.

Some 20 years ago, the Dunns bought a second home on their same road. The 1950s ranch was rented out, but now, they are fashioning a new home on that property.

The new place will include an elevator (as the current home could not) and still allow the Dunns to remain in the neighborhood.

“With age, you have to be realistic,” Ted says.

Though the move may be prove a bit bittersweet, Giovannella says they may not be out of Number Six for good.

“We hope we like the people who buy it so they will invite us up.”

For more information, contact Marianna Glennon at Houlihan Lawrence, (914) 584-1019 or MGlennon@houlihanlawrence.com

NUMBER SIX at a Glance
• Rye
• 5,300 square feet
• 2.795 acres
• Bedrooms: 6
• Baths: 4 full, one half
• Amenities: Alarm system, balcony, first-floor bedroom, fireplace, mooring/dock, master bath, patio, powder room, tennis court, water access, waterfront, water view.
• Price: $6,950,000

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