When Sunny Hostin first laid eyes on her palatial 10-bedroom, 10-bathroom estate in Purchase, N.Y., it was a fixer-upper.
The 1920s Tudor was originally built for Governor Herbert H. Lehman, but his family lost control of the home shortly before the investment bank Lehman Brothers went under in 2008, leaving the property in “a state of disrepair,” says The View co-host. “When I got here, it had no running water, no electricity—there was a bat flying around in the hall.”
What won Hostin over was the separate carriage house on the property where her mother, Rosa Beza, could live: “My mom said, ‘You know, I was reading, and J.Lo lives in a house like this, and it’d be perfect.'”
The Emmy Award-winning journalist and lawyer went through six months of renovations—including installing an entirely new kitchen—but “stayed true to the home” by keeping the hardwood floors, the original staircase and stained-glass windows.
Though she admits “it’s been a real labor of love,” Hostin has no regrets. “It’s so nice to live in an older home, because it has real history, and it’s really nice to carry that on,” she says.
Hostin decorated with a warm palette—like painting her ceilings a mustard yellow (a tip from Martha Stewart)—and incorporated her collection of Latin, Caribbean and African art to create a haven for her mom, her husband, Emmanuel, 47, an orthopedic surgeon, and their kids Gabriel, 15, and Paloma, 11.
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Her family’s favorite place to congregate is the sprawling kitchen, which features antique cabinets, a massive island and an impressive Viking range where Hostin is often whipping up dishes with fresh eggs from the flock of six chickens that live in her backyard coop.
“It’s the heart of our house. It’s where I cook all the time, it’s where the kids hang out, they do their homework, and where my husband prepares for any operations he’s doing,” she says.
Despite it’s size, Hostin insists that the property never feels empty. In addition to being a home for her family and a new au pair who they welcome every two years, Hostin also takes advantage of the space to host a bevy of parties.
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“We host an annual Easter egg hunt for 200 kids. We have a Halloween party every year. We’ve had a wedding. We’ve had an engagement party. We’ve had a 50th anniversary party. We’ve had a wake for a celebration of life,” she says. “We’ve done it all.”
“A lot of people see the house from the outside, and they’re like, ‘Nobody can really live here comfortably,'” adds Hostin. “But I would say 100 percent of the folks then say, ‘Oh my gosh, I forget how big it is once I’m inside.’ Our house is always filled with people, and for a big house, it’s really important.”