Middlesea, the secluded Long Island retreat of piano man Billy Joel, represents one of the more remarkable recent additions to the New York open market. The rocker and balladeer put the Centre Island property up for sale this month; the asking price for the compound is $49 million. Joel has retreated to it frequently over his two decades of ownership.
The anchor of the estate is a red brick English manor-inspired mansion with five bedrooms and seven baths across 20,000 sq. ft. of interiors. Tudor flourishes and a complex roofline with Victorian-style chimney stacks and a cupola; it dates to 1994, and sprawls into an L-shaped footprint that gives it well-defined wings. It’s a majestic house, and one that fits its landscape and the local history quite well for a recent addition. It’s also a work-in-progress, and for sale mid-renovation.
Aside from a slam-bang double-height foyer with matte-finished checkerboard marble tile and a sweeping floating staircase with an ornate balustrade, the interiors of the house are surprisingly unpretentious. Overall, the home as it presently stands shows off a refined cottage style that’s heavy on the bright white and soft blues and greens, with plank and parquet floors given only a little enhancement at finishing for a more natural look. Fireplaces various and sundry, built-in bookshelves, and the odd window seat overlooking the harbor help express the home’s living style.
The grounds swell to twenty-six acres, making the property one of the most extraordinary in the area. A three-bedroom companion guest house, a three-bedroom in-law or staff apartment, multiple swimming pools — including one indoors — and a bowling alley are the trimmings.
Joel has sold over 160 million records worldwide. He is performing several shows across the U.S. throughout the year, many of them with Stevie Nicks.