Behind The Hedges 16.10.2019 08:00 Hedges Index: Montauk Over the Years

News & Features

Montauk Point Lighthouse
Hedges Index: Montauk Over the Years
October 11, 2019
The 38th Annual Montauk Fell Festival is this weekend, October 12-13. To celebrate, let's have a look at how things have changed over the years at The End, by the numbers.

Price, 100' x 25' lots, Hither Hills, offered by New York Mirror, 1940 $100

Sales price, similar size lot, Hither Hills, 2017 $1.395 million


Year the Memory Motel was built by Frank "Cap" Roys and Marilyn "Snooks" Roys 1951

Cost of martini, Memory Motel Seaglamor Cocktail Lounge, 1955 $1


Cost of early bird dinner, Ruschmeyer's, 1969 $3.95

Cost of least expensive menu item--French fries--Ruschmeyer's, 2019 $8


Fare, Montauk to La Guardia Airport, Montauk-Caribbean Airways, 1966 $22.50

Value of $22.50 in 1966 dollars in 2019 $174

Fare, Montauk to Teterboro Airport, Montauk Sky, 2019 $365


Cost of Montauk house tour, including LIRR ticket from Penn Station and dinner at Gurney's Inn, 1967 $20

Real Estate Roundtable: The Things We Do for You Folks...
October 09, 2019

From booking a wedding venue to helping a pet chicken, East End real estate experts are known for going the extra mile for their clients.

During a particularly bad winter storm, my client, whose oceanfront house I had listed, asked me at 10 p.m. to go down and turn off the main water and empty all pipes of water. No heat and 0 degrees with a foot of snow. -- Harald Grant, Sotheby's International

I had a rental customer who was very beautiful and had a fabulous body. When she arrived at the rental, the gym didn't have a treadmill. She wanted it--she needed it immediately. I had two in my home gym that I dusted a lot. I called my guy who moves anything anytime, and he moved the treadmill. I left it at the rental. The owner said that was fine! On another occasion a tenant said there was no Nespresso machine. I hadn't a clue what that was, but I called and ordered it and had it sent to the house. She purchased a house a year later...not from me! -- Carol Nobbs, Douglas Elliman Real Estate

At the end of the day we work in the service industry. I am normally more than happy to help out where I can, as long long as it's within reason. I've been asked to check on the pool heat at a house before an arrival, mailing forgotten items, and help one of my past buyers figure out how to turn the water on when spring came around. I had one customer where I organized bike rentals, dog grooming and picked up prescriptions for them. -- Doug Sabo, Nest Seekers International

My repeat clients wanted to have their wedding at the Maidstone Club in East Hampton and I was able to make that happen for them! And the wedding was fabulous. -- Judi Desiderio, Town & Country Real Estate

What happens in real estate is that many customers/clients become close friends. As such, you wouldn't have a problem, if your friend calls to ask if you could take the dogs for a walk, drop them off or pick them up from the bicycle shop, open their house for an appraiser to do a refinance or recommend a good chef. Is it outside the realm of real estate, yes, but outside the realm of friendship? No. -- John Christopher, Sotheby's International

I once put a high-end renter in a house for the season (sight unseen) and he was very unhappy with its kitchen equipment, supplies and pool toys. I am one of those 24/7 brokers who rarely has downtime. On this particular day, I was at the beach to enjoy a late afternoon swim and watch the sunset. The serenity was quickly broken when his outraged calls and texts began. A little while later, I found myself shopping at Target with his list, filling two carts and adding a hefty sum to my AmEx card! In real estate, we bend over backwards to keep good buyers and sellers happy. -- Aimee Martin, Saunders & Associates

The best advice that I have and continue to provide my clients is simple. If you are a buyer, buy when the market is over-supplied, and if you are a seller, list your house when the market seems like it will go up forever. It sounds basic, doesn't it? However, it goes against human nature. When the market is going down, everyone wants to buy at the bottom. When it's going up, you want to sell at the top. You will never achieve either. I tell my clients it is that middle range, not the bottom and not the top, that will send their children to college. -- Alan Schnurman, Saunders & Associates

Many years ago, I had a single girlfriend purchasing a home on her own. She was a bit nervous about the purchase and was trying to get to a level of comfort. She asked if we might be able to stay overnight in the house to get a better feel for living there. The sellers were kind and accommodated us. We woke up the next morning prepared to move forward. Kind of a real estate slumber party! -- Angela Boyer-Stump, Sotheby's International

My favorite and by far most endearing, but well beyond what the average agent does in this industry, was to rehome a customer's pet chicken, in order to get the listing. I couldn't resist the tears in his eyes as he told me how special she was, and I was definitely on it. I got the listing, sold his home, and she's now the luckiest chicken ever! -- Kim West, The Corcoran Group

One of my customers was a single guy, attractive, good sense of humor and smart with a great job. He had been my customer for several years and became one of my friends. I introduced him to one of the young brokers in my office, who was also attractive with a good sense of humor and smart.  They dated, got married on Shelter Island, had two great children and 18 years later are still married. I think that was one of my better deals! -- Pat Petrillo, Sotheby's International

Reel Estate: Always Be Closing in the World of Cinema
October 08, 2019

The inherent drama, the big personalities, the even bigger money, the potential for conflict and comeuppance and some crazy storylines--real estate has long been a natural for Hollywood. Hamptons real estate has yet to play a major starring role in film (although we can imagine there are some in the works), but in honor of the Hamptons International Film Festival, we celebrate the top real estate movies of all time.

The Cocoanuts (1929)--Filled with the enthusiasm fueled by Florida land boom of the Roaring '20s and without a glimmer of the Great Depression waiting right around the corner, this Marx Brothers film puts the comedic siblings in a real estate game with a guy who wants to develop the resort area of Cocoanut Manor. Think Carl Fisher ever saw this flick?

Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948)--Imagine if Mr. Blandings had to deal with wetlands, the ZBA, historical societies, the Dongan Patent...

The Money Pit (1986)--The potential rigors of a distress sale notwithstanding, this Steven Spielberg co-executive produced comedy is a keen reminder that renovations rarely go completely as planned, and it would be safe to assume that you're going to come in over budget on that next project.   

Field of Dreams (1989)-- If you build it, they will come. At least every spec home builder and developer of valuable farmland hopes so.

Pacific Heights (1990)--A renter moves into an apartment and all hell breaks loose when he starts a reno, won't move out and winds up taking control of both the property and the owners' lives. And you thought your summer tenants were a challenge when they wanted the fridge stocked.

Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)--David Mamet's big-screen adaptation of his Pulitzer Prize-winning play gives a glimpse into the darker side of sales, and Alec Baldwin gives us one of moviedom's most memorable monologues. Put the coffee down...

Joe's Apartment (1996)--Whether you're in the big city or out in the suburbs, the first film by MTV Productions is a reminder that finding an affordable apartment just might mean sharing space with some interesting roommates.

American Beauty (1999)--Annette Bening cleans the kitchen, vacuums the rug, dusts the light fixtures--hey, whatever it takes to live by the mantra "I will sell this house today," right?

Closing Escrow (2007)--This mockumentary follows a trio of real estate agents and their quirky clients as they all search for a dream home--and ultimately wind up bidding on the same property. Nobody would go to such extreme, often absurd lengths to win that kind of war, would they?

The Queen of Versailles (2012)--An actual documentary that plays like part reality TV, part cautionary tale, this film follows a Florida billionaire and his wife as they suffer a reversal of fortune in the midst of building a 90,000-square-foot estate during the 2008 financial crisis.

99 Homes (2014)--An unemployed single father loses his home in foreclosure and falls in with an unscrupulous broker in a desperate effort to reclaim what was his. A potent reminder of how much the concept of home really means, and what lengths people will go for it.

The Big Short (2015)--A two-hour lesson in subprime home loans, collateralized debt obligations, credit default swaps and why an endlessly inflating housing bubble is too good to be true. Unless you bet against it, of course.

Pocket Listing (2016)--Watch this thriller about a disgraced broker lured into selling a couple's villa as a drinking game, and take a shot every time you hear a brilliant cliché. "In order to sell houses, you need to make your clients feel immediately at home." "I don't just sell houses, I deal dreams." "A pocket listing is every realtor's dream--it's the Houdini of all real estate deals." "It's not real friends, it's real estate."

Honorable Mention: The Amityville Horror (1979)--Sure, there are swarms of flies and blood oozing from the walls, but did we mention it's near the ocean and on the same south shore of Long Island as the Hamptons?

Interior design by Allegra Dioguardi
Staging Your Hamptons Home for the Fall Market
October 03, 2019

Fall officially began on September 23 this year. Was your Hamptons home on the market all summer without any accepted offers? Do not despair! According to Robert Murray from The Corcoran Group, "There is no longer a 'spring market' or a 'fall market' in the Hamptons. It's an all year-round market due primarily to the internet. People come out to see houses all year and your property has to look great year-round. If anything, staging is more important in the fall and winter, when things can look a little dreary and the landscaping isn't looking lush."

Savvy sellers will do what is required to take advantage of this. The first step is to ensure that your home for sale is being presented to its best advantage. The key is to make your property look in such a way that will appeal to the greatest number of potential buyers. This is where staging comes in.

Staging consists of depersonalizing, painting, upgrading, improving and furnishing the home to create an attractive living space that potential buyers can "see" themselves living in, even if your home looks and feels exactly the way you like it. You may have painted the whole house, hung new window treatments and brought in new furniture. But when it's time to put your house on the market, the key is making it look and feel exactly the way that will appeal to your buyer. A stager can look at your property objectively.

Good home staging is indeed based on good design principles, but there is also a "selling psychology" involved. A potential buyer will view your home from a different perspective than the way you view your home while living in it.

Design elements such as artwork, paint color and collections, as well as styles of furniture, are potentially very personal. A seasoned stager will be able to edit these items and suggest paint colors to create a universally appealing look. The biggest mistake to avoid when staging your home is the belief that investing money preparing your home to sell is money spent unwisely. Nothing could be further from the truth! You wouldn't try to sell your car without detailing it, so why would you try to sell one of your biggest financial asset without merchandising it properly?

Buyers may be looking for reasons to negotiate. Don't give them any. A beautifully presented home that is professionally staged will make buyers fall in love at first sight. Statistics show that staged homes sell faster and for top dollar. Remember, you never have a second chance for a great first impression and the cost of staging is typically less than your first price reduction.

A key factor in staging your Hamptons home is subtly portraying the "Hamptons lifestyle." This means the beach, the water, the vineyards, vacation, farm stands and relaxed luxury--all of these things we love about the East End. When potential buyers walk onto a property, you want them to envision themselves living in the home and to recognize the great lifestyle that goes along with living here--regardless of the season.

You can achieve this in subtle but unmistakable ways. I navigate toward natural fabrics, finishes and textures, and furniture that is comfortable yet elegant. Pops of color in accents pieces help make the listing photos more engaging on the internet. Windows should be dressed lightly or not at all to allow for views of the outdoors and to show off sunny interiors. Gourmet kitchens, landscaped exteriors, and outdoor living spaces decked out to the nines all contribute to the expectation of ease of lifestyle that your home for sale should portray. Professional stagers know how to achieve all of this, netting you a great return on your staging investment.

Remember, no one wants to buy your house. They want to buy their own house.

Allegra Dioguardi is the owner of Styled and Sold Inc., a home staging and interior design firm located in Westhampton Beach.

The Modern Treehouse at Bull Path in East Hampton.
The Modern Treehouse in East Hampton
October 02, 2019

Attention to the minutest detail. That's what strikes you as you enter 98 Bull Path in East Hampton's northwest woods, the "dream home" of builder James McLoughlin and wife Janine, as designed by architect Blaze Makoid.

Details such as the reflecting pool, the cozy window seat in the kitchen and the intimate spaces created in a very large house show the kind of stunning home that can be created when a builder and homeowner have the meeting of the minds with their architect. Every feature shows careful thought and a thorough knowledge of both the site and the effect that can be created via architecture. Even the finishes of the grasscloth on the walls and the carpets relates to the exterior, ever present through the windows.

Childhood sweethearts James and Janine McLoughlin purchased the land on Bull Path "probably 10 years ago," says McLoughlin, "but we weren't really able to build for a while after that. We were drawn to this area because of the large pine trees. We used to come here and sit in our car and talk."

Janine adds, "We'd open up the sunroof and just sit. The snow would be coming down. And it was so peaceful and quiet."

"We'd talk about what we do with the property," says James. "We knew we wanted to build a modern home, and I wanted to build something to help showcase my company and my abilities. We had an idea of a really beautiful modern treehouse. After a few years, we were ready to start building and developing the property. I hadn't worked with Blaze before, but I was following his career and I was a fan of his work.

Blaze Makoid says, "Nowadays when people talk to us about new projects, they already have an idea of our work from the internet, although these projects are one-offs. So when meeting new clients, it's all about how you would work together. Of course, there are always issues to deal with as you're working through the build."

"We had one meeting with Blaze, " says James. "His aesthetic and his temperament were just the perfect fit for us. We didn't even interview with any other architects. We left the meeting very excited."

Janine interjects, "We had to pinch ourselves. Were we really going to live in a house that looks like that?" (Spoiler alert: yes.) The house is 12,000 square feet with expanses of glass that frame the exterior. Perhaps the prettiest feature is the reflecting pool outside the foyer, which offers relaxing watery vistas on the ceiling. The dining room features an impressive "wall of wine," and the kitchen is not huge--former chef Janine wasn't interested in a massive space that would require her to run a 40-yard dash just to get to the refrigerator. Instead, everything--coffee machine, steam oven, griddle--is within reach. Janine refers to the window seat in the kitchen as her "command center." From there, it's easy to keep an eye on children in the backyard.

All the living spaces are human sized--no yawning empty spaces with all the warmth of a airport lounge here. There are cozy spots for watching TV and a home office without a door for James--he likes when his children are there keeping him company while he catches up on office work, he says.

Makoid says, "Part of it is trying to make this program not feel overwhelming. You can go to a lot of houses that have just cavernous space. And owners will admit they don't use half this house." Not the case in this house.

Janine says the family loves to entertain, and the outdoors makes that clear. There's a pool and spa, along with an open rain shower, an outdoor TV, a massive grill and a pizza oven.

Beneath the pool terrace are the adult playroom and the children's playroom. The adult playroom, with a sliding wall of glass to the exterior, includes billiards, a huge TV, and an enormous bar. Beyond that is a "wellness center" with gym, steam shower and sauna.

Do the McLoughlins worry, having put the property on the market, that it's too tailored for their own needs? No, they say. It's a flexible house. While large, there are the kinds of touches that most people want, including a master suite that is set off from the other bedrooms, which includes a huge skylight master closet. There's even a small apartment set up with kitchenette, sitting room, bath and bedroom for live-in staff.

"I don't like building these cookie cutter homes," James says. "Just the topography on the site was challenging. So this project required a lot of problem solving and I didn't have an unlimited budget, so I had to really think outside the box to pull off a project like this.

"We both grew up very blue collar. So for us to be able to be at this level in our lives that we can do this for each other and our family as was really special for us."

So after building a home perfectly suited to their wants and needs as a family, why are the McLoughlins selling?

"As a custom builder, I have a need to constantly challenge myself," says James. "And Janine's an ex-private chef--she's a very creative person as well. We want another project, and I think we would continue to do it right. We're talking about maybe somewhere on the water in Sag Harbor--we'll just follow where are our hearts take us."

23 Suffolk Street, Sag Harbor. Photo: Sag Harbor Whaling & Historical Museum
Get Us to the Greek: The Greek Revival on the East End
September 30, 2019

You've seen them so many times, you may take them for granted: American buildings that look like they would be at home in the Acropolis. A triangular pediment in front, with a small frieze below, and then columns below that. But why did their builders choose such a formal, non-native style?

The Greek Revival was the architectural expression, in some respects, of the Enlightenment. Ideas about reason and individualism, liberty, progress, toleration, constitutional government and separation of church and state became widely accepted‚ ideas which originated in ancient Greek philosophy. At the same time, serious archaeological expeditions and study into ancient Greece had begun and books were published with engravings showing these ancient marvels. Architecture for the new democratic United States, therefore, often imitated models from classical Greece and Rome.

On the East End, the Greek Revival became ultra-fashionable around 1840. This coincided with the peak wealth of the whaling trade; which is why Sag Harbor boasts the most impressive Greek Revival buildings on the East End, as well as the most houses in the style.

The two best examples of Greek Revival architecture in Sag Harbor are what is now the Sag Harbor Whaling & Historical Museum and Old Whalers' Church. They were both designed by Minard Lafever.

Lafever (1798-1854) was an American architect of churches and houses in the United States in the early 19th century. Back then, there were no schools of architecture in the United States; what we would now call architects started as carpenters and trained by working under master builders. Lafever is chiefly known today for his pattern books: printed, bound volumes that allowed architects, builders and clients to share and popularize designs. In 1829 Lafever published The Young Builders' General Instructor, followed by Modern Builders' Guide in 1833, The Beauties of Modern Architecture in 1835 and The Architectural Instructor in 1850. These books therefore helped spread and popularize Lafever's favored Greek Revival style.

The Modern Builders' Guide is notable for being the first printed example of complete designs for houses. Before that, pattern books were made up of various architectural elements that the builder or put together.

The building now housing the Sag Harbor Whaling & Historical Museum was originally constructed around 1845 as the private residence of Benjamin Huntting II (1796-1867), one of Sag Harbor's whaling ship owners. It is enormous compared to most other Greek Revival houses in the village.

Lafever designed a house with a temple-front portico, fluted Corinthian columns and Greek key wall decoration. Most unusually, the roofline is edged with crenellation in the form of alternating flensing knives and blubber spades. (Instruments used to cut up whales.) The interior is just as elaborate, with carved door and window frames, decorative plaster and an oval staircase. The total cost of construction of the house was $7,000.

The house was eventually purchased in 1907 as a ‚ summer cottage by Mrs. Russell Sage, who was one of the wealthiest women in America. Sage was instrumental in the creation of the John Jermain Library, Pierson High School and Mashashimuet Park. After her death, the house was made into a Masonic temple (for which it is still used, on the second floor). In 1936, the new whaling museum displayed its collections on the ground floor; the building and grounds were formally deeded to the Museum by the Masons in 1945.

Lafever also used the blubber-spade crenellation on the cornices of First Presbyterian (Old Whalers) Church, which he designed in 1844 in a mash-up of Greek Revival and Egyptian Revival. It cost $17,000 to build. The exterior looks more Egyptian Revival now than its architect intended, because the church lost its steeple in the 1938 hurricane. Now what is most noticeable is the massive wooden tower, square at the base and then tapering. On either side are two similar pylons. The lost steeple was more Greek Revival, a round, tapered shape with Corinthian columns.The sanctuary is Greek Revival too, with a pulpit framed in more Corinthian columns and with square pilasters that go to the ceiling.

A more modest example of Greek Revival in the village can be found on Main Street. The dignified L'Hommedieu House is a brick red townhouse built around 1840 by Samuel L'Hommedieu (1785-1862). Every feature of the three-bay house is quiet, simple and restrained, with perfect proportions. A wooden door surround with a pair of fluted Doric columns screening the sidelights, and the roof is almost flat. L'Hommedieu was involved in whaling, too, being listed as the owner of the whaleship Henry in 1845. The place is today a private home.

Nathaniel Rogers House and Topping Rose House are two very impressive Greek Revival buildings across the street from each other in Bridgehampton. Nathaniel Rogers (1787-1844) was a Bridgehampton native who made a fortune in New York City as a miniaturist artist. Rogers purchased a house on Main Street from Judge Abraham Topping Rose. Judge Rose had recently inherited another house (now Topping Rose House), so he sold his previous home to Rogers.

Rogers redesigned the house in the fashionable Greek Revival style, most likely designing it himself via the popular pattern books (quite possibly from Minard Lafever), adding Ionic columns, pilasters framing the doorway, a cupola, and a balustrade. The house is now being restored as a museum.

Reason, liberty, progress, democratic government: ideals that are meant to be referenced in a certain architecture that came to us from the Greeks but were tinkered with freely by American architects. Just don't tell the ancient Greeks about the blubber spades.

Updates: Arc House Sells; Sagaponack Compound in Contract
September 26, 2019
The Arc House, which we wrote about in late June, hit the market at the end of July, it has now sold and closed. The house, formerly owned by Jessica Meli, wife of Joseph Meli, a New York businessman who pleaded guilty last year to defrauding investors, was seized by the federal government after Meli was accused of running a Ponzi scheme. The Arc House was designed by Maziar Behrooz back in 2010. In 2013, the owners put the place on the market asking $5 million. The property didn't sell until 2015; it traded for $3 million, about $500K less than it cost to build. Now the property has sold and closed, for the bargain price of $2.175 million. Bonny Aarons and Janette Goodstein of Douglas Elliman brought the purchaser, Louis Levy, who is the EVP of the Levy Group and founder and CEO of thmble. Seller was the U.S. Government. Also attracting a buyer is 673 Sagg Road, Sagaponack, now in contract. The property is 1.3 acres, which overlooks 25 acres of reserve. The new build sports a gorgeous kitchen, enormous windows, and a finished lower level with wet bar, gym, and a home theater. Outside, of course there's a lovely pool and pool house. The historic guest house is also beautifully renovated, with two bedrooms, two baths, a living room with fireplace and kitchenette. In all, the property offers eight bedrooms, eight baths, and two half baths, as well as 10,500 square feet of space. Originally asking north of $13 million, the asking price for the listing, repped by Terry Cohen, Kieran Brew, and Jennifer Brew at Saunders, was cut to a much more palatable $8.895 million in February, the last asking price. Well done to all concerned.    
In Westhampton Beach, A Good Market and Infrastructure Investment
September 25, 2019
The quaint, charming hamlet of Westhampton Beach has seen real estate prices skyrocket in the past few years. Less traffic, easy commute to Manhattan, and generally lower asking prices make for a very appealing market. No wonder that a heavyweight like Discovery Land Company, who build ultra luxury resorts, has transformed the formerly dowdy Dune Deck into a showplace. Denise Kerrigan Perfido, of Kerrigan Country Realty, says, "The Village of Westhampton Beach is receiving much deserved attention--upgrades being made to both infrastructure and beautification will keep its value climbing and vibrant." Enzo Morabito, of Douglas Elliman, says, "The transformation of Westhampton Beach has begun! The new leaders that are taking our community forward, the mayor and the Village Board, are fiercely committed to a total renaissance of the village. With their leadership you can't possibly stop them, so Hamptons, you better look out!" Main Street, the hub of the village, is being transformed. Patrick M. Galway, Senior Executive Manager at Town & Country Real Estate, says the street is "in the process of a major renovation and after completion will be a terrific boost to the real estate market in the area. In addition to our sale of the Westhampton Beach Bakery on Main Street, the building that had a bookstore as a previous tenant has sold, two new buildings have been constructed on Main Street, there are plans to tear down and reconstruct the building that occupied Magic's Pub, and there is good potential for a boutique hotel to be constructed on West Main Street. The revitalization of Main Street has captured the attention of many investors into the village. In the near future we are expecting many more restaurants to follow." "There are big happenings in Westhampton Beach right now," says Aimee Martin at Saunders. "The multi-faceted Main Street Improvement Project will include the installation of sewers in the village's downtown business district. It also calls for enhancing stormwater management, as well restructuring the street, repaving roadways and sidewalks, and burying utility lines. While inconvenient in the short-term, it will ultimately increase home values, and bring more restaurants and shops to our beautiful downtown. "The Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center, the cultural jewel of the village, remains open with an impressive line-up of arts academy, films and Main Stage shows planned for the fall, winter and spring." All this infrastructure investment must be affecting the residential market, right? "It's on fire," says Natalie Lewis of Corcoran. "The amount of interest that come into the town has grown dramatically. Dramatically!" Kerrigan says that residential is being transformed as well. "The existing inventory is being purchased and either tastefully renovated or torn down for new builds." Morabito is building a new home in the village with his wife, Cathy. In some ways it's a homecoming for him, too. "I lived here many years ago before I banished myself to Bridgehampton, circa 1989. Little did I know that I would end up marrying again and be put in charge of growing young boy, my son Alessandro.  We moved back here to Westhampton Beach, because there really wasn't that many choices regarding schools on the East End. We came back because we were so impressed with the community's mission regarding the education of their young people." "The weather has been fabulous so far and buyers are still coming out. There are 21 homes in contract presently waiting to close in Westhampton Beach," reports Galway. Antonio Bottero, at Compass, says, "For properties listed close to market value, we are seeing offers come in. Things started picking up the week after Labor Day. We had an influx of buyers come out for showing requests. Meanwhile, most open houses still seem to have low attendance as high res photos and video seem to be taking their place. As of right now, there are 49 listings in contract from Remsenburg through Hampton Bays. Prices ranging from a 1 bedroom condo listed at $210,000 to an over 8,000 square foot home on Penniman Point in Quogue for $5.395 million." "The under $1.5 million real estate market remains strong with limited inventory. I'm seeing more new construction which is in demand. Third quarter sales definitely picked up and fourth quarter looks promising," says Martin. She sums up: "Homes that are priced to sell are selling."
Hamptons Confidential: Natalie Lewis
September 24, 2019
East End native Natalie Lewis, an agent in Corcoran's Westhampton Beach office, originally started out in interior design, but went on to model and act before going into real estate. Read on to discover how a girl from Moriches ended up beating Jennifer Lopez for jobs. You grew up in Moriches. How did the modeling and acting thing take off? I went to school at Parsons School of Design, and I was working part time at the hottest nightclubs, restaurants and bars. I got picked up by Woody Allen's casting director. She thought that I'd be good for a role and one thing led to another. I needed to get a SAG card and an agent. So that's how that started--I wasn't pursuing it. I used to go to a lot of the same auditions as Jennifer Lopez. She wouldn't book as many as I would, and look at her today! Maybe I should have stayed with it, but I wasn't my passion. My passion was really interior design and decorating; that was my life. Did you ever actually do any interior design or decorating? Tons of it. At the beginning in that career, you basically volunteer time, and you take any position you can. But at the end of the day I ended up getting a sales job. And I succeeded there, so I quit. I was doing sales for a long time but while I was doing that I would do home consultation. When I had kids--I have grown teenagers now--I was working part time at interior design. People would hire me to come consult their homes. It started with neighbors, but then I got referrals and references. Then I would see houses go on the market and I would think, "Wait a minute. I just helped them pull that house together. Now it's on the market." So that's how my real estate life came about. That's how you became an agent--you thought you should be making more money! I was successful in my sales position. And then I really enjoyed interior design. So when I saw that these homes were selling, I thought I could sell that--I put it together. That's really why I got my license. What do you like to do in your spare time? I feel like I barely get any free time. It's so crazy. I told my husband on Sunday, I wanted to take the day off and go to the beach. Saturday I worked till six o'clock, showing 15 houses. Sunday came and the calls started coming in. I managed to give myself three hours on the beach yesterday. When I do have free time, I just want to be with nature, whether it's a walk in the woods with my dog or on the beach with my dog. That is what makes me happiest. If you weren't an agent, do you think you would still be a designer? Yes. I would be an interior designer. Does that background help you help your clients? Absolutely. Actually, right now I'm working with a few builders. I know a lot of my clients are coming from my presence on Instagram. You're pretty savvy with social media. Do you think that's contributed a lot to your success? It definitely has helped. People get to know me. If you put your time in in real estate with or without social media, you're going to be successful. Now with social media, it's not just a call or a follow up, it's different parties who are just finding me online. That has definitely increased my business and it's validated who I am. People get it. What is the best advice you've ever gotten, either personally or professionally? I don't think I've been given a lot of advice. I think I've been told more than anything, I've been an inspiration for people. I think I could give people advice. I just know what it's like to bust your tail. Being a teenager, trying to make it through college and now presenting myself and selling real estate the past few years. It's been a journey of lessons. Would the younger Natalie be surprised to find you now in the Westhampton Beach area selling real estate? I really thought that I would be doing interior design in New York City, but my life just evolved.
Property of the Week: Maritime Way, Springs
September 23, 2019
This playful, colorful house fits right in to the artistic legacy of Springs. Its owner is a decorator who likes to renovate older houses and make them feel fresh. "It's a breath of fresh air for those buyers looking for turn-key perfection but tired of the same old spec houses," says listing agent Ed Bruehl of Saunders. The first thing a visitor sees upon entrance to the house is the swing, which the whole family enjoys jumping on. The striking mix of patterns and joyous use of color emphasizes that this is a family home, although as Bruehl points out, it's "outfitted with high-end furnishings and top of the line appliances." The spacious house, Bruehl continues, includes "three levels of living, five bedrooms, four baths, a heated saltwater gunite pool and gated entry on its estate-like grounds." The plot size is 0.84 of an acre, and there's 3,000 square feet of room. The property is listed for $1.699 million. Bruehl continues, "It's nestled in the heart of Springs, East Hampton's famed artist community, and is a stone's throw from bay beaches with kayaking and paddle boarding, as well as the Pollock-Krasner House, the Springs General Store, and weekend farmers markets." For more, click here. 15 Maritime Way, East Hampton
Hamptons Open Houses to Check Out This Weekend
September 20, 2019
Open houses are a great way to find your next home, see inside a house that you have always been curious about, or just get design ideas. 29 Deerwood Path, Sag Harbor Open house: Saturday, September 21, 1:00PM-3:00PM; Sunday, September 22, 11:30PM-1:00PM Ask: $1.62 million Beds: 3 Baths: 3.5 Size: 1 acre; 2,600 square feet Features:  A newly gut-renovated house has been styled by a highly regarded published designer and comes completely furnished, down to the stemware and linens. The main floor is light and bright; outside is a lovely outdoor living space, along with pool and deck. 591 Parsonage Lane, Sagaponack Open house: Saturday, September 20, 1:30PM-3:00PM Ask: $4.45 million Beds: 6 Baths: 5/2 Size: 1 acre; 6,000 square feet Features:  Elegant and tasteful house near the beach, well built by Michael Davis. It's surrounded by farm fields. To make the most of summer living, there's a large covered porch with barbecue, along with a cabana bath by the pool. There's a tunnel to a separate guest cottage with bedroom, bath, and kitchenette. 9 Mitchell Dunes Lane, Amagansett Open house: Saturday, September 21, 10:00AM-12:00PM Ask: $4.45 million Beds: 6 Baths: 7.5 Size: 1.98 acre; 7,900 square feet Features: Designed and built by Bill Hayes, this house makes the most of its ocean views, but with three levels of living space, there are plenty of places to socialize or hide with a book. The master is on the main level and all bedrooms are en-suite.
The Amazing, Turbulent Lives of the Cryders of Southampton
September 19, 2019
"I'm not Old Guard. We were poor and we weren't pretty. But my mother was very publicity-conscious and dressed us all alike and things like that so we were pretty well known." --Elsie Cryder Woodward Of course, there's poor and there's poor. "Poor," when referring to Elsie's father Duncan Cryder, meant a mansion on Gin Lane (Sandrift, now demolished), a house in New York, being a founding member of the Shinnecock Golf Club, and first president of the Meadow Club. Cryder's tea importing business wasn't a success, but because his brother, William Wetmore Cryder, was immensely rich and president of the Madison Square Bank, the Cryders lived well. They had three identical daughters, known far and wide as the Cryder Triplets, Elizabeth (Elsie), Edith, and Ethel, born in 1883, and a son, Ogden (Mrs. Cryder's maiden name), born in 1884. In 1885, the Cryders bought a Shingle Style cottage called Sandrift, on what is now Cryder Lane and Gin Lane. (Second house from the left, below.) In 1890, William K. Vanderbilt, Edward Meade and Duncan Cryder visited Biarritz in southern France. There at the resort they met Scotsman Willie Dunn, who was building a golf course at the resort. They decided to introduce golf to New York. The men scouted around the city for a spot; Meade thought upstate New York was a good place, while Cryder preferred Yonkers. Long Islander Vanderbilt urged them to look east. 80 acres of land in Shinnecock was purchased for $2,500 and 44 original members signed up for $100 each. In 1891, disaster struck. Wetmore was indicted for perjury and embezzling $39,000 from Manhattan Square Bank, where he was president. (Only about $2 million today.) The scandal caused the Cryder family to move to Paris. The family returned in 1899 to New York. The girls, now 16, were tall, thin, dressed very well and were celebrated for their looks, supposedly modeling for Charles Dana Gibson. They became the talk of New York, appearing on magazine covers and in much ink in New York social columns. But in 1902, further disaster struck. Young Ogden, just 17 and a student at Groton, was crushed to death after falling under a street car. His parents commissioned Tiffany & Co create a memorial window at St Andrew's Dune Church, which is there today. While today a medieval knight seems an odd choice for a memorial window, it was popular in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century for a young man who had died. The window is a copy of Sir Galahad by George Frederick Watts. The legend of Sir Arthur and his Knights was very popular around the turn of the century. According to the story, Galahad is a young knight known for being both beautiful and chaste, and he is the only one of the knights to attain the Holy Grail. Notice how the clouds around Galahad's head almost look like a halo? The Cryder triplets were determined to marry well, and they did. Edith married Frederick Lothrop Ames, son of the wealthiest man in Massachusetts, and resided in Boston. Ethel married Henry V. Higgins of London, England, the director of the Covent Garden Royal Opera. And Elsie married William Woodward II, the president of Central Hanover Bank. But the story doesn't end there. Elsie's son William Woodward, Jr., married Ann Eden Crowell, a former radio actress and magazine model. On October 30, 1955, Ann said she'd mistaken her husband William for a prowler in their Oyster Bay Cove home. She shot him in the head at close range with a twelve-gauge shotgun. Truman Capote's novel Answered Prayers was based on this incident, as was Dominick Dunne's novel The Two Mrs. Grenvilles, from which the 1987 film was adapted. Ann committed suicide in her Fifth Avenue apartment in 1975, not long after she had seen the manuscript of Answered Prayers. Both of Ann and William's children, James and William IV, committed suicide by jumping out windows.