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White House Home Comes to Malverne's Little White Cottage

Joseph DeVito in his Malverne home last week.

By Rosanna Weitkamp

After a year and a half of being vacant, the little white cottage next to Connolly Station in Malverne, once home to the Once Upon a Time gift shop and Malverne Realty, will soon house a new occupant: White House Home, a tabletop gift store.

And Joseph DeVito,49, a new Malvernite with extensive experience in luxury goods, couldn’t be happier.

“I am so excited about this,” said DeVito, who moved here in April with a dream to open such a store in Malverne. “I have been calling the Canzoneri’s for nine months and he finally called me back to say he was ready to rent it to me.”

Joseph Canzoneri, Malverne’s past mayor, has owned the cottage for decades, having inherited it from his father, who was a shoe repairman in Malverne for many years. “In 1943, he purchased the building that we’re talking about,” said Canzoneri. “He worked there until he retired in 1970.” Because the building has no basement, Canzoneri needed to turn away many businesspeople who wanted to put a food business there. Canzoneri thought DeVito’s idea, however, worked well with the store’s layout. The building is among the oldest in Malverne, having been built in 1906.

For over 25 years, DeVito worked in luxury retail, employed by such labels as Barney’s, Gucci and Tom Ford. His primary job was to wardrobe clients, and he eventually expanded his client base to national celebrities like Julia Roberts and Puff Daddy.

He now wishes to bring the same level of celebrity client service to those in the Long Island area that will be soon be customers of White House Home. “I’ll also be offering home styling services,” said DeVito, who added that he wishes to enhance the beauty of what clients already have in their homes. “I welcome people to come see my home and the renovations that I did here. ”

DeVito is doing extensive renovations, both inside and out, on the 110 year-old cottage, and is aiming for a mid-February grand opening. “We want to make it gorgeous,” said DeVito, who added that he was also restoring the store’s fireplace and would be putting in new floors.

White House Home will be selling ceramic dishes, platters, imported vases, pottery, lighting and other items.