In 1986, Tom Hanks and Shelley Long had audiences in stitches in The Money Pit, a film about a dream house that becomes a renovation nightmare. That story, of course, is just fiction – or is it?

The exterior scenes for the movie were shot at Northway, a gem of historic architecture. Located in Lattingtown, N.Y., the home was built in 1898. When Rich and Christina Makowsky purchased the Long Island mansion in 2002 they weren’t aware of the extent of the deterioration – Northway was more like The Money Pit than they would have believed! For 18 months a crew of 30 worked on the house. Heating, electrical and plumbing systems were all replaced, as well as ceilings and a new cedar roof.

Mr. Makowsky admitted that at first they didn’t realize how bad the situation was, or how similar. “We definitely could have done the sequel,” she said.

The Makowskys chose to return the house to the grandeur of Long Island’s Gilded Age, but with all the modern conveniences. This included:

  • Combining three rooms into one to create a chef’s kitchen with a mahogany island and marble countertops
  • Adding walk-in closets and en-suite bathrooms to the four bedrooms on the second floor, and cedar-lined closets to the four bedrooms on the third floor.
  • Completely renovating seven full-size bathrooms and two half-baths
  • Adding a high tech media room adjacent to the living room, plus a refrigerated wine wall and a 500 year old fireplace from France
  • Finishing the lower level to include a rec room, powder room, gym with (another) fireplace and staff suite

Today, Northway is definitely in much better shape than in 2002. “It’s now the anti-Money Pit,” Shawn Elliot of Shawn Elliot Luxury Homes & Estates said. “The home was restored at the finest quality.”

The restoration of Northway proves that any structure can be salvaged and turned around if you utilize the right architect and contractor.

Historic preservation of New England architecture is an important part of our work at TMS. If you’re considering a restoration project like Northway, please contact us today! 

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