Brian Cohen doesn't want you to take his 16,000-square-foot mansion seriously.
You can tell what he means when you visit the labyrinthine Long Island mansion, where every hallway passes through an octagonal center atrium before leading off to a theater, wine cellar and other attractions.
"It's a little bit like Disneyland," said Cohen, who was the first investor in Pinterest. Currently, Cohen is the CEO of the New York Angels. "The house is meant for fun."
His Sands Point home, near Port Washington, N.Y., is currently on the market for $9.5 million.
Cohen custom-built the house, commandeering the project as his own general contractor. The opportunity presented itself after Cohen sold his company TSI Communications.
"There's a part of me in the house," Cohen said.
The house is equipped with a giant geothermal heat pump, computer-controlled lighting and sound systems, and more than 350 lights designed to prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder.
"It's my own giant laboratory," Cohen said. "I got to experiment. Try all these new things. In 2000, people would walk in an see our flatscreen TVs and just say 'Wow.'"
After 14 months of paying his contractors by the hour — an unheard of practice in the construction business — the house was complete. Cohen, his wife and former business partner Carol, and their three children moved in.
"The kids were giddy," Cohen said. "It's an extraordinary home to find yourself living in as a child."
But when the Cohens' youngest son, Max, left for Arizona State University, the home went on the market and Mr. and Mrs. Cohen moved to an apartment in the West Village.
"My wife and I are both city people, born and raised," Cohen said. "The suburbs are for families. I don't fall in love with things, I fall in love with people. Our house served its purpose ...
"We still use it these days for what I call 'Hallmark moments,' but change is inevitable. A one-bedroom apartment is really all my wife and I need."
Welcome to Sands Point. On the Cohens' two-acre property, there are six landscaping elements. When the family moved in, the town "jokingly" cited them with a landscaping ticket, Cohen said.
The outside of the home is meant to have more of a Hamptons feel, since it's so close to the water. The other homes in the area are more colonial looking.
Upon entering you see the giant staircase that wraps around the octagon atrium. Cohen said he constructed the home this way so as soon as you walk in the door, you can yell up to their children in their bedrooms.
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