New Sound Avenue B&B takes a modern turn

12/02/2011 10:00 AM |

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Cedar House Bed and Breakfast on the North Road in Mattituck.

Frank Scarola, proprietor of Scarola Vineyards, came across a dilapidated barn on Sound Avenue in Mattituck in 2006. It had no flooring — only dirt — and no plumbing or electricity.

He found evidence of a more prosperous operation in the past — glass milk bottles, old flour bags and a dusty horse plow. That led him to believe the site could once again be a profit-generator.

“I had a vision,” Mr. Scarola said. “I knew it could be beautiful if it was restored.”

He wanted to turn the old barn into a bed and breakfast but didn’t have the time, he said. When his cousin Donna Perrin and her husband, David, former sales managers for a national wine distributor based in Florida, wanted to move closer to relatives on the North Fork, Mr. Scarola, his wife, also Donna, and the Perrins jointly purchased the land. And last spring the couples opened a reincarnated version of the old barn as Cedar House on Sound Bed and Breakfast.

The family gutted much of the barn and built anew, leaving the original framework intact. They installed everything from heating and air conditioning to septic tanks and solar panels. Much of the cedar wood from the original barn was salvaged, planed, polyurethaned and put back up.

“You can see the old nail holes,” Mr. Perrin said, patting on a wooden beam in the bed and breakfast’s kitchen.

The Scarolas and Perrins believe their bed and breakfast was originally a dairy farm in the 1930s and then served as a potato packing plant. The 7,000-square-foot structure now houses five guest bedrooms, a great room, the Vineyard Lounge, seven full bathrooms and two half-baths and sits on 2.5 acres, most of which is open space.

The owners planted a tiny vineyard next to the bed and breakfast this past May.

“It’s just a baby,” Mr. Perrin said of the half-acre vineyard, which will soon produce the first Scarola Vineyard grapes. Mr. Scarola has been purchasing grapes from local vineyards, including Onabay Vineyards, Lenz Winery and Martha Clara Vineyards, and has them turned into wine at Wölffer Estate Vineyard in Bridgehampton by winemaker Roman Roth.

The Scarolas and Perrins are growing Marquette grapes, a hybrid of Pinot Noir and Frontenac grapes, in their vineyard.

Mr. Perrin said he and his wife, who are the bed and breakfast’s principal operators, want their guests to think of the bed and breakfast as a comfortable, upscale place.

“We want to debunk the old bed and breakfast myth,” said Mr. Perrin, who sported a T-shirt with the phrase “Not Your Grandmother’s Bed and Breakfast” written on the back during a recent interview.

The Perrins aimed to keep the historic nature and North Fork feel of the property intact, while offering modern luxuries like 42-inch flat-screen televisions and state-of-the-art kitchen equipment.

“I think bed and breakfasts are stigmatized,” Mr. Perrin continued. “People imagine old houses with empty-nest parents walking around and having to share bathrooms. We’re not that. We’re more of a boutique hotel.”

The couple set out to create a bed and breakfast that has “a rustic feel with modern amenities,” he said. “It’s not doilies and frills.”

The Perrins designated bedrooms to specific areas of the home to offer the most privacy. Two bedrooms lie in the north and south wings of the home and the master suite sits near the center. Each bedroom has a private bath.

The Great Room, with a large flat-screen television, billiard table and coffee station set up in the corner offers a space for guests to socialize — and for Heidi, the Perrins’ 11-year-old German shepherd, to roam about.

The Perrins and Ms. Scarola decorated the building’s interior themselves, mainly with furniture made of reclaimed wood from In The Attic Too in Laurel. They used some pieces they found in the former barn, like a colonial dry sink that now serves as the coffee station in the Great Room.

Scenes of local farm stands painted by East Moriches artist Robbie Goldberg hang throughout the building and can be purchased, and bottles of Scarola Vineyards wine line most shelves.

Restored theater seats from The Mayflower Theatre in Southampton are set up in the Vineyard Lounge, where each guest is welcome to a complimentary Scarola Vineyard wine tasting. Guests can also take tours of the little vineyard and three barns that sit on the property and still contain relics left by previous owners, like a child’s wooden wagon, as well as antique furniture.

The Perrins and Scarolas also store equipment their own families once used. In one barn, cousins Donna Perrin and Frank Scarola keep an old-fashioned grape crusher and destemmer that their relatives once used to make wine in Queens. Mr. Perrin also stores a tractor his family once used on their vegetable farm in Ogdensburg, N.Y., where he grew up.

“This is everybody going back to our roots, back to our heritage,” he said. “It’s pretty exciting to take that ‘from our family to yours’ story and share that with other people.”

sbrix@timesreview.com