To Renovate DeRose Windmill

Susan Rosenbaum | January 29, 1998

New life is about to be infused into the historic Main Street property where the East Hampton director Sidney Lumet filmed part of his successful 1981 mystery thriller "Deathtrap."

The property, at 121 and 123 Main Street, set back from the street and accessible only by a narrow lane, was recently sold by Harold Rosinsky, a manufacturer, and his wife, Claude, for $2.16 million.

Its new owner is Kenneth Kuchin of Park Avenue, Manhattan, and Princeton, N.J., who recently sold his central New Jersey bus business and retired. The western portion of the property, with a poolhouse and swimming pool, at 123 Main, was purchased jointly by Mr. Kuchin and his partner, F. Bruce Anderson.

Because the main house is attached to a historic windmill, the property is part of East Hampton Village's Main Street Historic District. And, because of that, the Village Design Review Board had to okay any renovations, which on Jan. 21 it did.

An Accurate Replica

In front of the property, at 117 Main, is the late 18th-century Jeremiah Miller House, which Edward DeRose bought in 1885 and behind which he constructed what has become known as the DeRose Windmill, a "faux" structure, but an accurate replica of an authentic East Hampton windmill. According to Robert Hefner, the village's historic preservation consultant, its authenticity can be found in the "height of the octagonal tower, the width at the base and cap, the conical cap, the few small windows, and the windshaft and sails."

"Vivid Example"

It is, Mr. Hefner wrote in a memorandum to the Review Board, "one of the most vivid examples of the close relationship between East Hampton's local architecture and the architecture of the early summer colony."

The De Rose estate came to be known as "Millfield." A 1903 article about it in Architectural Record included a photograph of a small gambrel-roofed cottage attached to the windmill.

Several additions to it produced the three-bedroom, two-story residence Mr. Kuchin began this week to renovate.

A View Of The Steeple

James McChesney, a Southampton architect, said he designed a roughly 600-square-foot addition to the house, including a new dining room and mud room on the first floor, and a maid's room and bath on the second. The kitchen is to be renovated and a first-floor powder room to be moved.

The poolhouse will be modernized, and in the windmill, the first floor will become a library, and the second floor an office, plus deck.

Its windows will be largely maintained, and two new ones added.

The owner said he wanted a view of Main Street, particularly, he told the Review Board, of "the church steeple," just across the street.