Nestled in the brush on the shoreline of Lloyd Harbor stands Panfield, the magnificent estate of Bernadette Castro, heir to Castro Convertibles, the modern-day furniture pioneers of the pull-out sofa. The company is still in existence today, sold online and through the Home Shopping Network (HSN). Castro became a sensation at the age of 4 as the company’s spokesmodel. She served as commissioner of the New York Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation from 1995 to 2006.
The Tudor revival/Jacobean designed estate was originally built for Albert Goodsell and Margery Robbins Milbank in 1915.
In the late 1960s, Bernard Castro went house hunting with his daughter, Bernadette, her husband and their 9-month-old baby “in the country.” The family was in search of a multi-generational estate.
“We walked in the front door [of Panfield] and he was in love; it reminded him of everything grand in Europe,” says Castro.
The Castros purchased the home from Salvatore Giordano, Sr., former CEO and executive chairman of Fedders Corporations, the home air conditioning pioneers.
Giordano purchased the home in 1957 and subdivided most of the property.
Panfield boasts 25 rooms and more than 13 bathrooms. Every room has a fireplace and the floors are glorious maple.
“The foyer of Panfield is the wow factor of this home,” says Castro. And it is. Its symmetric, oak-lined walls stretch more than 30 feet and are adorned with hand-painted portraits, all meticulously captured by Dutch painter Kenneth Van Rensselaer.
She confesses she loves all of the rooms in the home, as each has its own appeal and brings joy for different reasons.
“The living room is most special because it’s where all of the grandkids hang out when they visit,” says Castro, mother of four and grandmother to eight.
“Panfield is a grand ol’ girl with lots of good karma,” she says, adding, “one of the best memories of the house has to be when my parents and my husband were alive and we’d have the big family Christmases.”
Despite its elegance, Castro confides that Panfield has been a regular home to her family and that she will continue with her preservation of the home and community.
“To me, Panfield is a family legacy. I look at Panfield as doing my part,” says Castro. “I have served the state through stewardship and now I am the steward of Panfield.”