Friday, July 24, 2009

Hampton Designer Showhouse Opens

Tomorrow night is the opening
gala for the Hampton Designer Showhouse in Water Mill. The Showhouse, which benefits Southampton Hospital, features the work of approximately 30 interior designers, each designing a room of the house to their own
whim. This is an opportunity for designers to make their own creative statement, unencumbered by a client's direction or restriction, so naturally the results are eye-catching, often stunning, and occasionally beyond belief. We
participated in the Showhouse last year, and we were looking forward to returning this year as guests, without the pressure of designingand installing a room in what is always a very tight time frame!

The opening gala benefit is probably one of the biggest events of the summer in the Hamptons, and sadly we are not going to be here this weekend to attend. And that's not the only thing we're missing...There's also the New York Stem Cell Foundation's Architect & Designer Tag Sale, the James Beard Chef's & Champagne event, Rock the Farm, the Itzhak Perlman Music Program Concert Series, the Hamptons Pursuit Car Rallye to benefit The Retreat...and the Hamptons Magazine Clambake, at the Montauk Yacht Club, no less! This weekend is a veritable perfect storm of great events and benefits in the Hamptons, and we're missing them all!

But it's the Hampton Designer Showhouse opening gala that we will miss the most. Aside from the amazing rooms (and great people watching, of course!), we wanted to be the to support our friends in the industry, especially Carole Reed, Brian Brady, Jeff Lincoln, and Co-Chair Jamie Drake.

For those of you in the area, we hope you will get the chance to visit the Showhouse this summer. We had planned to preview the house this week and take photographs to include in this post...Unfortunately the timing did not work out, but rest assured, we will be there early next week to see the house and take photographs to share with you here soon. In the meantime, we have included some photos of the room we designed at the Hamptons Designer Showhouse last year. Enjoy the weekend!

The Hampton Designer Showhouse is located at 179 David's Lane in Water Mill, and is open from July 26th - September 6th, 11am - 5pm. Click here for more information.

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Man's Home is His Sandcastle

We were invited to a cocktail party last Saturday evening hosted by Joe & Kristen Farrell at their new home in Bridgehampton to welcome the interior designers participating in the 2009 Hampton Designer Showhouse. The Showhouse opens Saturday, July 25th with a lavish preview gala benefiting Southampton Hospital, and was built by Farrell Building Company.

But this party was to premier the Farrell's own personal show house, their brand new estate dubbed "Sandcastle," a 31,000 square foot, 9 bedroom 11.5 bathroom compound on 12 acres on Halsey Lane. Farrell Building is already known throughout the Hamptons for their traditional shingle-styled mega-mansions, and this house does more than just raise that bar...It moves it into a whole new stratosphere, prompting many people to wonder what place a house like this has in today's uncertain economic times with changing attitudes towards luxury.

Sandcastle is the Farrell's personal home - They moved in Memorial Day after an unprecedented 18-month build time that saw 100 tradesman working six days a week, practically around the clock towards the end of the project. The house has just about anything anyone could ever want in a house (and several things you wouldn't even think possible and/or practical). Along with the usual bells and whistles of a Hamptons mega-mansion, this luxury manor features a 2,800 square foot master bedroom suite with dressing area, walk-in-closets and sitting areas, a huge professional chef's kitchen with walk-in fridge, a walnut-paneled study, a spare bedroom bunk room that sleeps eight, a movie theater with a planetarium ceiling, a kids lower-level media room with 5 flat screen tv's, a virtual golf simulator, a model train room (one of the trains has a video camera mounted to the front, broadcasting onto a wall-mounted flat screen tv), a two-lane bowling alley with digital scoring machines, an indoor skateboarding half-pipe, a karaoke room with performance stage and changing room, a disco with full bar, a spa & sauna room with heated massage tables and a fireplace, a professional gym and racquetball/squash/basketball court, a 60' x 20' heated gunite pool with electric cover and underwater stereo system, a sunken tennis court, a soccer/lacrosse field, and last but not least, a two-floor, four bedroom pool house. I'm sure I'm leaving something out, and no, I'm not making any of this up!

We spoke with Joe and Kristen (who we met originally at last year's Hamptons Designer Showhouse), and they really seemed thrilled to be settled into their new home. Kristen spoke lovingly of all the special features they included for their three children, and Joe talked about how much work it was to coordinate all of the furnishings, design elements, and systems throughout the house. And, although they did work with noted decorator Kenneth Alpert, Joe picked out many of the furnishings himself.

Sandcastle is listed for sale at $59.5 million through Corcoran SVP Gary DePersia. But at a time when there is a glut of houses on the market in the Hamptons, and developers are having a hard time selling high-end spec houses, that price tag seems more than just a tad unrealistic. But then again, maybe that's the Farrells' intention...If they love their new house so much, perhaps they've priced it so that if actually does sell, it will be well worth their while to move, presumably onto something even bigger and better (if that's possible).

Is Sandcastle the ultimate Hamptons Dream House? Is it an extravagant example of real estate excess at a time when flagrant displays of wealth are being frowned upon? We'll leave that up for you to decide. Love it or hate it, we can practically guarantee that most people have never seen anything like it. And, P.S. - We are totally stealing the kids bunk room idea!

(Pictured below: House exterior front, house exterior back, main staircase, formal living room, dining room, study, master bedroom, master dressing room, girl's bedroom, girl's sitting room, boy's bedroom, kids bunk room, laundry room, skate ramp, bowling alley, model train room, spa & sauna, racquetball court, pool house, pool house interior)

UPDATE: Curbed Hamptons is reporting that the Farrell's have agreed to rent Sandcastle for two weeks in August at a price of $425,000, down from the original rental price of $500,000. I guess it's true, there really are bargains to be found in the Hamptons these days ;)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Saturday in Amagansett: Clients & Corn

If you're a designer in the Hamptons, you're going to be working Saturdays, there's no two ways about it. The fact is, most of our clients don't live out here year-round, so we meet with them when they come out, which is usually on the weekends. If you don't like that, then you're in the wrong business (or living in the wrong place!).

We've made peace with the fact that we work a six-day work week...So we jumped in the car this morning and headed to Amagansett (13 miles away, yet a good 30-45 minute drive in summer Hamptons traffic) to meet with clients that have a small ranch-style house on Hedges Lane, right in town. This is a new project for us, but these are old clients from the J. Mabley Custom Furniture store days, and they contacted us to help them make their summer house more functional for them and their five children. At our first meeting last month we only talked about interior furnishings, and possibly renovating the dated 60's era bathrooms down the road...But we had been stewing over something ever since that meeting, and it had to do with the words "small ranch" and "five children" not working well together in the same sentence!

The house has three small bedrooms: A master bedroom, a boys room (bunk beds for the two boys), and a girls room (bunk beds for the two girls, and a crib for the baby)...Close quarters at the best of times. It's fine when the family is out of the house at the beach, but on a rainy day, everyone is on top of each other and things can get a little nuts. These guys need some breathing space! What's the point of having a weekend getaway house if you're can't relax and enjoy it? So, we brought in our friend Triff, a local builder and all-around good guy, to meet with us and our clients and discuss how to give them a little more room and make their house a place where they can actually relax in their own space (without breaking the budget).

They have about a half-acre of land, and they plan to add a pool as well, so there really isn't much room to expand out...So, it looks like we're heading upwards. What we are weighing now is whether to put on an entire second floor, or incorporate the existing roof line and punch in some gables and dormers. Building an entire second floor yields the most square footage, but the cost is much higher than working with the current roof line (several hundred thousands of dollars, to put it roughly). Adding a couple of gables in the front of the house, and perhaps some shed dormers in the back of the house will give them nearly as much square footage, but for less money.

Either way, the Town of East Hampton's Building Department is going to require them to bring all of their electric and plumbing up to code (which is standard whenever you're looking to come anywhere near to doubling the total square footage of a house). And then there is the new septic system that will have to go in to accommodate the additional bedrooms (and the bathrooms that come along with that), and possibly undergrounding the electric coming in off the pole (which currently hangs right through their front yard, as though someone with a death wish was going to hang laundry on it). It's the classic renovation "can of worms," but if they want to gain more living space and increase the potential resale value of their home, this is the perfect time to do it. Better to deal with it now while they go through the pain period of a renovation, rather than have to return to these same issue down the road, just when they're starting to feel settled.

Next up, we'll bring in an architect to start sketching options for the exterior front and back of the house. In the meantime, we didn't want to waste a trip out to Amagansett without visiting the Amagansett Farmers Market, so we popped in there on our way home and scored some fresh local corn. The corn crops in the Hamptons are around waist-high right now, so in this instance "local" refers to the North Fork. But considering the horse corn that we've had to make do with up until now, we can live with that :)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Welcome to the Hamptons...

Thanks for stopping by! We launched Designing the Hamptons to give you a peek into the interior design and decorating world of the Hamptons, a place where we live and work (and play a little too, when we have the time :)

As you may know, the Hamptons refers to a group of towns on the southern fork of Long Island, NY that is a popular summer resort destination, often called the playground of the rich and famous. And we are fortunate enough to get to design and decorate some of the wonderful houses out here!

Our design blog will feature some of the projects that we are working on out here in the Hamptons, from all aspects of the job...Initial architectural design, room and space planning, construction and architectural details, interior design and decoration, furnishings and accessories. We will talk about our design aesthetic and what we think makes a true Hamptons home, share some of our favorite design resources, and provide an insider's insight in the world of the Hamptons.

So, welcome to the Hamptons! Thanks for visiting us, we hope you enjoy your stay here...