19 Lewis Walk

A magnificent ocean-front property, with a side of kitsch.
July 27, 2012

(The clean, colorful living room)

19 Lewis Walk

Cherry Grove. Ignore the snake on the long walk up to Deer Abbey, graphic designer Jay Anning’s tongue-in-cheek oceanside home in Cherry Grove: it’s fake. But it’s the perfect anecdote to prepare you for his design aesthetic: a clean, ’50s vibe that includes vintage Charles Ludlam movie posters and plenty of taxidermy and never takes itself too seriously. But, at its core, Deer Abbey is a stunning piece of property, named after a rather ratty-looking deer head a friend bought for him at a deck sale. (“I realized that [by switching an ‘a’ for an ‘e’] we had a name for the house, and it became known as Deer Abbey.”)

Built in 1954 by Ed Stevens—who owned it until 1999—the home was notorious for parties that were the place to go before the tea dance, according to Anning, who bought the property 10 years ago. “As soon as I saw this house I knew it was the one for me,” says the 65-year-old. “It had not been particularly well cared for by the sellers, who had had it for three years. I immediately saw the potential: great views of both the ocean and the bay, private beach access and far enough from town to be able to enjoy some peace and quiet.”

Architect Peter Vitakis renovated the structure in 2005, adding an interior staircase and opening up the main floor to the view of the sea. An exterior hot tub and roof deck maximize the view. “The whole point for me of coming to the beach is to relax,” says the West Village resident. “Owning a beach house means constant maintenance—the sea air corrodes and rots everything pretty quickly, but standing on my deck and overlooking the ocean I can hardly believe my luck at living in such a beautiful place.”

(Retro decor on the kitchen’s walls)

(One of the home’s several pieces of taxidermy)

(The view of the ocean from the hot tub)

(The home’s nameplate sign)