December 2007: People talk inside their houses, and they talk outside. Some people talk to their houses. But very rarely do their houses talk back. An exception is a large and loquacious stone-and-slate house on Long Island's North Shore—Great Gatsby country. "The secret of this house is that it carries on a dialogue," says Stephen Sills, of the interior design firm Sills Huniford. "It's a dialogue between classical timelessness and the owners' modern art—the way they live today. It's about giving the past a nod yet respecting the present."