The Collection of Michael and Eleanora Kennedy, Kilkare, Wainscott, NY
Michael and Eleanora Kennedy lived a rarified life in their shingled beach house in the exclusive Georgica Association on the eastern edge of Wainscott in the Hamptons. Michael Kennedy enjoyed a long and successful career as a civil rights and criminal attorney whose most notable clients included members of New York’s high society, Mafia bosses, a Black Panther, and a member of the 1960’s radical group The Weathermen. He was General Counsel to High Times for forty-one years, where he fought alongside the founder, Tom Forçade, to subvert the prohibition of marijuana. In what became the longest and most famous American criminal jury trial, The Pizza Connection, he represented one of the godfathers, Sicilian mob boss Gaetano Badalamenti. Mr. Kennedy worked on only one divorce case in his career, and although the settlement was sealed, reliable sources reported that Ivana Trump was very pleased.
The Kennedys were drawn to the East End of Long Island in the 1970s for the same reason that the Georgica settlers found their way there in the late nineteenth century. Located on one of the most beautiful beaches in the Hamptons, the Georgica Settlement provided privacy and comradery for a like-minded group to relax and enjoy themselves far from prying eyes.
Kilkare was originally built by Camilla and Walter Edwards in 1877 by a shipbuilder whose hand can be seen everywhere in the construction, from the ship’s knee braces to the built-in furniture. When Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy found this picturesque Victorian pile in 1975, just fifty feet from the water’s edge, they knew it was the perfect spot for them. Mrs. Kennedy, a graduate from the New York School of Interior Design, immediately set about renovating the seven-bedroom shingle-style beach “cottage”. She chose not to disturb the grand structure, and to marry the nineteenth-century detail with Anglo-Indian decoration. According to Mrs. Kennedy, “Kilkare is a whimsical Victorian name meant to evoke a fictional Irish town, the sort of place where you could kill all your cares”. Her renovation project is chronicled in Out East, Jennifer Ash Rudick and Tria Giovan’s tome on Hamptons houses and gardens.
Stair is proud to offer selections from the Collection of Michael and Eleanora Kennedy, Kilkare, Wainscott, NY on September 28th at 6 pm. Included in the sale are an unusual Anglo-Indian dining table, a large set of dining chairs and screen which occupied the dining room and played host to many a party at Kilkare. From the living room, we are offering a pair of whimsical Anglo-Indian caned hardwood settees upholstered in classic white muslin. An eclectic assortment of shells, blow-fish, coral and a star fish complement the hand-carved furniture and lent a sense of tranquility to the beach house. On the porch, a charming child’s sized Anglo-Indian caned plantation chair, reserved for grandchildren, was perched beside a pair of similar full-size chairs, from which the family relished a view of the Atlantic Ocean.