Artist couple selling 223-year-old ‘manse’ in Sag Harbor

Artist couple Eric Fischl and April Gornik are selling their historic Hamptons home for $3.49 million. The four-bedroom, four-bathroom house at 31 Madison St. in Sag Harbor Village was built in 1797 as the original manse, or minister’s residence, of the Methodist church across the street.

Fischl and Gornik bought the church, too, for $7 million in 2017. They’re in the process of renovating it and converting it into an artists-in-residence space.

The for-sale home, known as Prime House, is named after its original owner, Nathaniel Prime, who wrote an early history of Long Island. It’s also on the market as a $75,000 rental for July and August. (It is already rented for May.)

It features four woodburning fireplaces, original period moldings and 200-year-old floors — along with updates like central air-conditioning, a new chef’s kitchen, new baths and a laundry room. The first floor features the kitchen, living room, dining room and den.

There’s also a guest-bedroom suite with access to a second-floor loft. The second floor boasts the master bedroom, full bath, sitting room and a writing loft. There’s also a large landing, two bedrooms and a full bath on the third floor.

The traditional home sits on 0.15 acres and features a terraced backyard, along with a separate commercial barn that can be used as a workshop, artist’s studio or retail space.

Fischl and Gornik live in a home/studio in North Haven, Conn. They originally bought Prime House in 2017 for $2.49 million because they wanted to turn it into an artists-in-residence space, but then bought the church, which is bigger, when it became available.

“I knew it from having worked on the introductory architectural ‘walking tour’ of Sag Harbor,” Gornik tells Gimme Shelter. “It’s featured as one of the first stops on that tour.”

Prime House was previously owned by saxophonist and master woodworker Hal McKusick, so “it fit squarely into our vision of Sag Harbor as a place of great cultural offerings as an artists’ residence,” Gornik says. “But after purchasing the church as well, it became a luxury we really didn’t need, even before the pandemic struck. We were hoping we might find someone to purchase Prime House to retain it as a writers’ residency, because we discovered that it’s perfect for that purpose, but at this point our primary objective has to be to secure the even larger church for the future, and focus our efforts there.”

Still, Gornik adds, Prime House “is such an exceptional, totally ‘Sag Harbor’ house that we hope will attract someone who sees it with its history intact, and will preserve it as we and Hal McKusick before us preserved it.”

The listing brokers are Shannan North of Brown Harris Stevens and Lori Schiaffino of Compass.

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