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July 15, 2010


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Into the Woods
 
By Sarah Firshein
Photographs by Michael Grimm

IN EAST HAMPTON, DESIGNER ELDON WONG GENTLY TURNS A WOULD-BE BRADY BUNCH–STYLE TEARDOWN INTO A SOARING, LIGHT-FILLED ABODE

Click on any photo for a larger view.

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LOFTY GOALS
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IT TAKES A CERTAIN ARTISTIC VISION TO BEHOLD the beauty of a house reminiscent of The Brady Bunch, a big box with dark everything—small rooms, brown flooring, pine and cedar paneling, zero front-facing windows. But it takes another type of vision entirely to buy the house as a fixer-upper and call it home.

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When designer Eldon Wong came upon such a property a few years ago, he was taken with the verdant Northwest Woods setting, and despite the '70s-era house's obvious negative marks, it had impressive features, including a living room with 20-foot-high ceilings. "It was like a big, soaring box with room for entertaining and hanging out," says Wong. "We knew we'd leave the best of what was there and upgrade everything else. Besides, there's nothing wrong with good design from the '70s!"

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BRIGHTEN UP
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Wong, who splits his time between East Hampton and New York City, approached the process with a curatorial eye that befits his background and schooling in art history; he spent years organizing decorative arts exhibitions for museums and private clients before starting his interior design firm. Along with his partner, Kevin Flanigan, he made sweeping decisions about what would stay (the original cedar siding in the main room) and what would go (much of the dark paint and brick, as well as the indoor greenhouse, which was turned into a light-filled foyer). Bold pops of artwork and sculpture were the final strokes.

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