When Jackie Mahfouz first saw her grandson scurry to the pond at Longhouse Farm in Warwick, New York, she realized she wanted to buy the bucolic estate. 

“It warmed my heart how excited he was,” she said of the child spotting fish and frogs in the water. “There’s something about this property. People who come don’t want to leave––it’s such a serene, peaceful, happy place.”

Her son and daughter, both based in New York, were hunting for a home in 2019 when Longhouse Farm was on the market. However, the 11-acre property, just 90 minutes from New York City, was beyond their budget. Captivated by the Warwick setting, deep history, charm and gorgeous grounds, Mahfouz and her husband, Richard, stepped in. They made an offer on the rambling estate after giving Richard, away in Europe, a video walkthrough, ultimately purchasing the compound for $1.425 million. 

“The beauty and the peacefulness really grabbed us. We have to have this place,” Mahfouz said. 

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Once purchased, the extensive renovation, which lasted from 2019 to this year,began. Mahfouz acted as the general contractor, assembling a team of sub-contractors to revamp the 18th-century Colonial farmhouse inside and out. However, the remodel took longer than she had expected due to logistics and supply issues during the pandemic. Nonetheless, the family carried on with the revamp, living on the property simultaneously, bringing each piece of the home back to life.

“I envisioned what the house would look like, and I wanted to carry out the full vision until it was completed,” Mahfouz said of the equestrian estate, which comprises a main house, a carriage house, a nine-stall horse barn, a heated swimming pool, fountained pond and trout-fed stream. “My vision was to transform this beautiful old farmhouse into a simply elegant and timeless place.” 

In doing so, Mahfouz wanted to reveal a “fresh face” and extend the home’s life for many more years. For instance, the living room underwent a complete overhaul, including a new floor to support a baby grand piano. 

“The floor did give me concern because there were gaps where you could look into the basement,” she said. After the new floor was installed on top of the existing, Mahfouz commissioned the painting of the black and white checkerboard pattern. But she did more than improve the floor structure. 

“It screamed coffered ceiling to me, and I envisioned crystal chandeliers hanging from the coffered panels,” she said. The contractors also replaced wood panel doors with glass panel doors to draw light into the foyer and installed solid brass hardware and floor registers. For the finishing touch, the room’s custom draperies are hand-embroidered scenes of New York’s Central Park.

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Updating the chef’s kitchen was also a significant project. The space now showcases a La Cornue range and a Sub-Zero refrigerator, with an adjacent everyday dining area. To capture more storage, Mahfouz removed the original island and built an oversized quartz-topped island with sliding doors and cupboards.

For formal meals, the dining room assumes a calming, neutral palette, a departure from the whimsical red wallpaper that lined the walls prior to the renovation. Likewise, the primary suite, featuring serene tones, was transformed into a luxurious retreat. 

While the interior was refurbished from top to bottom, the family also upgraded the exterior. Those improvements included a gunite swimming pool with a cabana, stone walkways and walls, landscaping, outdoor lighting and painting the structures.

After living on Longhouse Farm with their two children and grandson for five and a half years, the owners are now selling the  Warwick estate for $3.875 million.

“The property served as a safe haven for us during the pandemic and a place of transition for the kids until they were ready to pursue their own paths,” Mahfouz explained. My husband and I realized (that) we no longer need this grand estate for just the two of us.”

Mansion Global caught up with Mahfouz, who elaborated more on her renovation experience.

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I describe my aesthetic as… I’m not prone to one style. I have a bit of an eclectic taste. I love to experiment with a house to transform what the house is to me. 

The biggest lesson learned from the renovation was… Never do a renovation during a pandemic. It takes much longer.

The one tip I’d offer to someone undertaking a renovation is… It is crucial to have the right team of contractors working in concert with one another to keep the project progressing forward in a timely manner.

My favorite room after the renovation is… I am very fond of my dreamy bedroom. I wanted it to be a calming, relaxing aesthetic.

The most dramatic change is… The living/music room. We needed to make sure the floor could handle the weight of a baby grand piano that was on its way.

The one material or product I discovered is… a piece of glass that had been painted white. I immediately instructed (the painters) to strip the paint from the glass, and we discovered it was a beautiful old blue Depression-glass window. 

The one expense I didn’t expect was… After removing the baseboard heating and installing the wall-mounted air conditioning and heating unit in the family room, I realized we would need to add extra insulation under the floors to retain the heat in the room during the winter. 

I decided to renovate instead of build a new home because… I loved the home, character, historical significance. It had good bones (and) just needed a facelift.

The renovation ended up costing… slightly under $900,000, not including new furnishings.