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Discover Cottage Charm in Bellport

A 19th-century shingle-style cottage in Bellport, Long Island, is restored for today’s living

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Bellport Village is a quaint hamlet on Long Island’s Great South Bay, a laid-back beach community with a lot of charm and casual elegance. Historic architecture, a private beach and a charming Main Street have attracted low-key creatives to the area for decades. Michael Tomei of Michael Vincent Design, who spends summers in Bellport, has made a name for himself meticulously renovating old homes in the area. In 2021, in close partnership with the local Historic District Preservation Committee, Tomei purchased a 19th-century shingle-style cottage on Brewster Lane and brought it back to life through a thoughtful restoration. “This charming cottage was built in 1858 by one of the original founding families of Bellport Village,” explains Tomei. “It was a carriage house sectioned off from the original estate. The intention was to maintain the original character and footprint of the original structure. The cottage had a unique rambling quality that needed to be preserved, and the home needed to be appropriate for this casual beach town.”

“Bellport village has a laid-back, approachable vibe, which was key to every detail—from the layout to the finishes.” — Michael Tomei

The first step for Tomei was to excavate the basement while salvaging wood, brick and cobblestones, which were then used throughout the property. Another challenge was to open up the front hall to create a gracious entrance. “The original entrance was cramped, with a very steep staircase and narrow hall,” says Tomei. “The front staircase had to be relocated to the heart of the home, connecting the kitchen to the second floor.” Another favorite addition is the sunroom with 180-degree views and expansive windows. “It makes you feel as though you’re living in nature,” says Tomei. “During the summer months, the space opens up seamlessly to the outdoor deck, perfect for entertaining weekend guests.”

A light, coastal color palette connects the interior to the water nearby. Neutral tones were used throughout, except for in the dining room, where Tomei chose a blue-green shade for an evening entertaining mood. “We took an old English approach to the trim—matching the walls, but with a slight change to the finish to create a monochromatic look,” says Tomei. In order to honor the house’s bones and location, the design team took great care to source antiques which were then refinished or reupholstered. “We worked with local auction houses as well as local craftsmen to create special pieces throughout,” he says. “Each bathroom was outfitted with Victorian washstands converted into sink vanities to ensure correct historical references in a modern space.” The painstaking restoration stayed true to the cottage’s heritage while modernizing and updating the spaces for modern living. “Bellport Village has a laid-back, approachable vibe, which was key to every detail—from the layout to the finishes,” says Tomei.