Behind The Hedges Villa Maria Sold for $49 Million--Did the Camutos Lose Money?

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camuto lose
Villa Maria Sold for $49 Million--Did the Camutos Lose Money?
February 16, 2018
Late last week came the news that Villa Maria, the lovely house and beautiful property with the lousy location, was in contract. Represented by Bespoke, Villa Maria's last asking price was $72 million. Today comes news via the Wall Street Journal that two individual buyers paid a total of about $49 million--which is about half what the former owners, shoe magnate Vince Camuto and his wife, were asking back in 2008, and $23 million under the last ask. [caption id="attachment_65786" align="alignnone" width="729"]villa maria All photos via Bespoke[/caption] One buyer purchased the house and 11 acres for $36 million, and another purchased the remaining four acres for about $13 million. Harald Grant of Sotheby's represented the main buyer. A little background: The beautiful c. 1919 estate includes a 20,000 square foot principal residence; there's also a gatehouse, guest house, carriage house, tennis and pool. The house, which used to be a retreat for nuns, was purchased back in 2005 by Nine West founder Vince Camuto and wife for $35 million. Then the Camutos put the house and the 15-acre spread through six years of total renovation. So what we're wondering is: how much did the Camutos spend over those six years? As much as $15 million? Did they lose money on the deal? (Mr. Camuto died in 2015 but wife Louise is alive.) From the pictures we've seen over the years, no money was spared on the renovations, and of course the entire estate is quite large. It was a tough sale, so kudos to everyone involved, and congratulations to the new owners. For more, click here. 615 Montauk Highway, Water Mill  
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magical gardens
Magical Gardens in a Bridgehampton Estate
February 15, 2018
This property offers everything you could want in your Hamptons home. 2.3 acres of magical gardens with old trees (swing!), tons of hydrangeas, rolling lawns, colorful decorative grasses, and of course a pretty pool and spa. A tennis court with pavilion. Even an apple orchard. Porches, patios, and decks to enjoy your good fortune. [caption id="attachment_65858" align="alignnone" width="750"] All photos via Breitenbach.com[/caption] The house itself is very traditional, but we like that. We're guessing, from the kitchen photo and skimpy interior photos, that the place needs updating. But, you know, it's rare to get a mature garden with everything done for you without needing to do some interior renovations. The house is 5000 square feet, with five bedrooms and six baths. One nice thing is the home theater, which is already done. Asking price for the property, represented by Susan Breitenbach at Corcoran, is $8.5 million. That strikes us as high given that the interiors need refreshing. What do you think? Let us know in the comments. For more, click here. 236 Halsey Lane, Bridgehampton
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catfight
This Week in Bethenny and Fredrik: CATFIGHT
February 14, 2018
We've had trouble sleeping the past week, as we're sure you have. Every night, we toss and turn, worrying incessantly about Bethenny and Fredrik's guest bathroom drain. Last week, bombshell: the planned walk-in shower would delay the project by months. Well, worry no more, good people: Bethenny and Fredrik are solving this problem by shopping for a tub instead. They show up at Ann Sacks, where Bethenny asks if they'll be eligible for a trade discount. Ever classy, Bethenny then asks for the hooker discount. [caption id="attachment_65834" align="alignnone" width="750"] Bethenny and Fredrik, © Bravo[/caption] The next problem is, Fredrik likes a $20,000 tub. Too expensive! Bethenny then finds a cheaper $6200 tub--after all, they need to save money. She explains that maybe if the tub goes down on her and gives her an orgasm, she'll pay more, but even then she can get a jacuzzi with jets. Always so practical, Bethenny! Next it's time for the weekly slice of life for Bethenny and Fredrik. Bethenny goes to yoga. But there's an item about a date she had on Page Six. She explains to a fellow yogi she is worried she won't be able to find anybody. Bethenny and Fredrik go to the East Village to scope out new investment properties. They arrive by Avenue D. Bethenny explains, "This isn't the East Village! This is the East River!" But this place won't work for them. It's 849 square feet with two bedrooms, asking $849K. Too low end for Bethenny and Fredrik. [caption id="attachment_65837" align="alignnone" width="750"] Bethenny and Fredrik, © Bravo[/caption] They look at another apartment with a full bathroom downstairs and a full bath upstairs by the bedrooms, which arrangement befuddles Bethenny. She says, "What is it, like I'm sautéing onions and douching at the same time?" Oh Bethenny, you're so outrageous! That apartment is also a no, as it's too expensive to make sense as a flip. Slice of life segment for Fredrik. Fredrik meets up with husband Derek to buy clothes for their upcoming Africa trip. [caption id="attachment_65836" align="alignnone" width="750"] Bethenny and Fredrik, © Bravo[/caption] Bethenny next to goes Ten Madison to check on tub options with the designers. She and they pick out a nice Kohler number for $1K. But oh no! Cue a dramatic argument about Fredrik's incessant traveling and not sending Bethenny enough listings! They then try to talk it out on a street corner, but cannot. The episode ends with them walk away from one another. CAN THE PARTNERSHOP SURVIVE?? Tune in next week to find out!  
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A Noyac New-Build with Space, Privacy, and Cool Interiors
February 13, 2018
One of the benefits of keeping up with new construction, as in this Noyac new-build, is that you get exposed to current ideas in interior design. This place, which is located between Water Mill and Bridgehampton, has been nicely staged and decorated by Elsa Soyars Interiors. As you can see, curved sofas are big lately; Lucite furniture is coming back, and of course fluffy textures add interest to a neutral room. [caption id="attachment_65824" align="alignnone" width="660"] All photos courtesy Corcoran[/caption] After so long with 60s and 70s looks in style, the 80s are roaring back. See the chairs in both the dining room and breakfast areas? Totally 80s, as is the plain kitchen, which we used to call Eurostyle back in the day. This room (above) is back to the 70s: macrame, a potted tree in a wicker basket, a long low sideboard, those puffy chairs. (What, no hanging plants?) The light fixture and live-edge table bring it bang up to date, though. Also modern is the fun finish in this guest bathroom. The details: represented by Cristina Matos at Corcoran, we think $6.295 million is not at all a bad price. The house, at 9000 square feet, is huge and offers eight bedrooms; outside is a generous 5.6 acres with 50' pool and tennis court. It's not easy to get a new build this large at this price point. For more, click here. 900 Old Sag Harbor Road, Water Mill  
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villa maria
Villa Maria Is Finally in Contract
February 12, 2018
The lovely house and beautiful property with the lousy location--Villa Maria in Water Mill--has finally clicked into contract. Villa Maria's last asking price was $72 million, represented by Bespoke, though we don't believe for a second that's what anyone is paying. [caption id="attachment_65780" align="alignnone" width="750"] All photos via Bespoke[/caption] The beautiful c. 1919 estate includes 15 acres on Mecox Bay. There are ocean views from the 20,000 square foot principal residence; there's also a gatehouse, guest house, carriage house, tennis and pool. The house used to be a retreat for nuns. It was purchased back in 2005 by Nine West founder Vince Camuto and wife for $35 million. Then the Camutos put the house and the 15-acre spread through six years of total renovation. It has been on and off the market for years now; originally asking $100 million (a price "open to discussion") back in 2008. Other asking prices have been $85 million, or $67 million, or $50 million with only seven acres included, all with different agents and agencies. The problem of course is that the estate is right on Montauk Highway in the spot with the worst traffic in the Hamptons. For the kind of money asked for the property, a buyer could get oceanfront. It was going to take a special buyer to fall in love and fork out with the cash, so of course it took a long time. It was a tough sale, so kudos to Bespoke Real Estate for pulling it off. For more, click here. 615 Montauk Highway, Water Mill  
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Community Housing Revolving Loan
Talking with Fred Thiele About the Community Housing Revolving Loan Funds
February 12, 2018
With home prices soaring on the East End, Assemb. Fred Thiele (I-Sag Harbor) has sponsored a bill that would enable the five towns to create loan programs to help first-time buyers. The Community Housing Revolving Loan Funds would provide home loans to buyers that would not have to be repaid until the properties were sold; then, one-quarter of the profit would have to be paid back. Funding would come from a half-percent tax on sales of $1 million and above in Southampton, East Hampton, and Shelter Island; the threshold would be $750,000 in Riverhead and Southold. The program would be available to one- or two-person households making less than $132,960 and three or more person households making less than $155,120. We were concerned about the $1 million limit. It seemed low to us, so we asked Assemb. Thiele about it. He replied, "According to data from Douglas Elliman and Miller Samuel, the median closing price on the South Fork for the 4th quarter of 2017 was $995,000. On the North Fork the median closing price was $597,000. That means that roughly half the sales on the South Fork would pay no tax at all. On the North Fork more than half would pay no tax." We're also concerned about the tax burden in addition to the mansion tax and the CPF funding, as well. Mr. Thiele pointed out, "I sponsor legislation with Senator Golden from Brooklyn that would repeal the mansion tax. At a minimum the exemption level should be increased from $1 million, which was set in 1989. This tax goes into the state general fund. Long Island and NYC pay a disproportionate amount of the tax and we get no real tangible benefit from it unlike the CPF or the proposed Housing Fund. "The CPF exemption level is $250,000 on the South Fork and Shelter Island and $150,000 on the North Fork. This [new] proposal [offers] substantially higher exemptions at $1 million and $750,000, respectively. On a $2 million deal, the mansion tax would be $20,000. The CPF tax on the South Fork would be $35,000. On the North Fork it would be $37,000. If this bill was enacted, the additional tax on the South Fork would be $5,000. On the North Fork it would be $6,250. In short, on the South Fork the total transfer tax would go from $55,000 to $60,000. On the North Fork it would go from $57,000 to $63,250." When he puts it that way, it really doesn't seem like much more money at all. Thiele added, "The level of the exemption is open to discussion. The data indicates that the proposed exemptions are a good starting point. The levels set in the study bill are based on current data that indicates that more than half of the home sales on the East End would pay nothing. The 0.5% surcharge would add $5,000 to a $2 million closing." And what about the benefits he foresees? "For the real estate industry as a whole, the Housing Fund will stimulate the market by putting a home within the reach of more East Enders. More potential buyers are good for the market, especially at a time when the cap on the deductibility of state and local taxes and mortgage debt will make home ownership more expensive for first time home buyers. Further, once they are in the market, many will ultimately be able to move up to bigger homes in the future," he says. "Every additional expense creates a burden. However, the burden is offset by the number of new residents who will be able to enter the market, benefitting the industry. More buyers.... more sales. While the high end of the market generates an incredible economic benefit for the region, we also need a strong middle class to work on Main Street, teach in our schools, work in the hospital, join the fire department, etc. Obviously, benefits will accrue to the community as whole because local people will be able to work and live here." What do you think of the proposal? Let us know in the comments or shoot us an email if you'd like to remain anonymous.    
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patrick mclaughlin
Patrick Mclaughlin Returns to Douglas Elliman
February 09, 2018
Patrick Mclaughlin has rejoined Douglas Elliman. Dedicated and results-driven, the pro real estate specialist is well known and highly regarded in the Hamptons community and beyond. In a statement, a spokesperson said, "Patrick's years of real estate experience, keen understanding of the Hamptons market and connection to the community are a few of the many reasons we are thrilled to have him back." Patrick returns to the Sag Harbor office, which he has previously managed and worked as an agent. He lives in East Hampton. Congrats, Patrick!
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Bridgehampton new-build
Bridgehampton New-Build Has Everything and We Do Mean Everything
February 09, 2018
This Bridgehampton new-build has pretty much everything anyone could want in a new home--with one thing extra. Check it: there's a clean-lined trad-transitional style (yes, we just made that term up). Traditional but with modern touches like the simple windows, the modern open-tread staircase, and the clean-lined kitchen (and get a load of the polished nickel range). The butler's pantry includes a food prep area, so the main kitchen can stay clean for entertaining. (We live in a strange world, folks.) We love the mudroom with cubbies to stow gear--perfect for family living. [caption id="attachment_65754" align="alignnone" width="750"] All photos courtesy Douglas Elliman[/caption] There are seven bedrooms, including a first floor junior master suite and an upstairs master suite with gas fireplace, terrace, and two walk-in closets. The master bath includes radiant heated floors, floating vanities, a soaking tub and a frameless glass-enclosed shower with two rain heads and infinity drain. And you know what else? His-and-her johns. That's a real lifesaver on chili night! Sadly, there is a solid wall between the two cubicles, so the owners can't toss rolls of TP to one another while sitting down. Of course this house includes a tricked-out lower level with a temperature-controlled wine cellar; a walk-out gym; a spa with sauna, steam shower and massage area; a theater with wet bar and powder room; a game room; and two bedrooms with shared bath. On the 0.7-acre plot of land there's a 50' walk-out gunite pool, spa with waterfall, a pool house with bluestone patio and a pergola. The pool house sports a full basement, which hides the pool equipment, and can also be used for storage. So--how much? Asking price for the property, represented by Thomas Cavallo of Douglas Elliman, is $6.5 million, which would be fine south of the highway, but seems ambitious here. According to the listing, the property is "surprisingly private" and it does seem so with plantings, but basically it's right next to the Starbucks/Douglas Elliman parking lot, which is indeed handy for walking to shops and restaurants but obviously isn't the most tony nor quiet location. What do you think? Let us know in the comments. For more, click here. 77 Newman Avenue, Bridgehampton 
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patrick mclaughlin
Harrison Durmus Joins Town & Country Real Estate
February 08, 2018
After many years working in travel and tourism in New York City, Harrison Durmus set down roots on the East End. He's joined Town & Country as an agent, because, he says, when he bought his house in Southampton, "I worked with Town & Country Real Estate and came to appreciate the care and attention given to me by our agent. It was clear to me that I wanted to be part of that environment. I wanted to work with a brokerage that is a family who truly cares about its agents, clients, and customers as well as the Hamptons and North Fork lifestyle we all love." "I need to interact with people and move around, networking and showing houses feeds that passion," says Harrison. "Real estate is the perfect combination of my love of learning in an ever-evolving market and my drive to build business." When he's not managing listings, Harrison can be found on the slopes snowboarding (he's partial to Colorado), hiking in Quogue, touring the lighthouse in Montauk, and enjoying the beaches in Westhampton. Congratulations, Harrison!
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ou east
Goodbye to HREO; Hello to Out East!
February 08, 2018
HREO.com has been the Hamptons' multiple listings site for, well, just about forever. We found our own home on HREO back in 1998, as a matter of fact. But almost twenty years later, the site hadn't changed all that much. Then a year ago, HREO was sold along with the pro site RealNet and Open RealNet Exchange (OREX), the underlying distribution software, to StreetEasy as part of Zillow Group. In the past year, StreetEasy refreshed and updated HREO while reading its all-new portal, Out East, which goes live today. Out East looks great--it's no longer a legacy of a 90s website. Most importantly, it offers extremely helpful new functionality, such as the ability to save searches. It also looks great on mobile. Matt Daimler, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at the Zillow Group, told us that when he and his team began to reimagine HREO, they sought to define what made the Hamptons unique. The result of what Matt calls the "hyper-local" approach means that, for example, when searching for a property by the water, you can specify "waterfront" versus "oceanfront." Search results are shown on a handy map. [caption id="attachment_65729" align="alignnone" width="750"] All images via outeast.com[/caption] After you click on a listing, other useful information, such as distance to beaches and transportation, is available. Super-useful. There are also town guides, with market stats updated in real time--as Matt explained, taking into account the unique nature of the Hamptons, with a rental period for MD-LD, unlike the vast majority of rentals in other areas-- as well as guides to local amenities. You can also save listings and be updated in real time regarding changes to the listing, such as a price cut. If a listing is a co-exclusive or tri-exclusive, too, the property page will note that--something that is extremely useful for rentals which are often open listings. What do you think? Let us know in the comments.
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Bethenny and Fredrik Team Up to Flip a NYC Apartment
February 07, 2018
Businesswoman, Real Housewife of New York City, and Bridgehampton homeowner Bethenny Frankel has teamed up with her agent BFF, Fredrik Eklund--a native Swede known for celebrity real estate deals, Million Dollar Listing on Bravo, and in the Hamptons, the Barn & Vine development--to flip an apartment in Manhattan's hottest building, 10 Madison Square West. All will be filmed in the new reality series Bethenny and Fredrik. Some background: in the Flatiron District, 10 Madison Square West features some great amenities (besides being next door to Eataly!): 24 hour doorman, live in super, gym, pool, steam room, yoga and pilates studios, a playroom for the kids, and a garden. In the first episode of Bethenny and Fredrik, which aired last evening on Bravo, Fredrik explains that he bought the apartment years ago pre-construction. It is 1690 square feet, with two bedrooms and 2.5 baths. Fredrik wants to transform into into something spectacular, custom, not cookie cutter standard. High-end buyers want custom. [caption id="attachment_65717" align="alignnone" width="750"] The closet, Bethenny and Fredrik, © Bravo[/caption] He brings his team of designers and contractors to see the site. With the specifications Fredrik wants, it's estimated that the work will cost around $400,000. Fredrik has never before flipped an entire gut-renovated apartment before. He brings in Bethenny to take a look at the place--she is impressed, except for the amount Fredrik plans to spend. Also, while admiring the enormous amount of space allotted for the master walk-in closet (which is indeed lavish for NYC), Bethenny discovers that no budget has been set for fitting it out. Clearly, Bethenny is here to rein in Fredrik's spending. Finally, the two get down to brass tacks at a business meeting with advisors. Fredrik bought the apartment in 2013, at a preconstruction price of $2.975 million. It has recently (2017) been appraised at $3.75 million in its current state without finishes. Bethenny wants to partner with Fredrik at the level he bought in at in 2013, $2.975 million, so offers $1.4875 million. Stalemate! Fredrik doesn't think this is fair and that Bethenny is wiping out his potential profits. He asks if the two sides can meet in the middle. Everyone goes out and takes a breather. Bethenny decides to offer $1.7 million (half if the apartment is valued at $3.4). Also, she insists she wants to cap the renovation budget at $300K. Offer accepted, much hugging commences. [caption id="attachment_65718" align="alignnone" width="750"] Bethenny and Fredrik, © Bravo[/caption] In episode two, also airing last night, we get to know Bethenny and Fredrik a little more up close and personally, whether we wanted to or not. Bethenny shares matcha tea with her friend Carole Radziwill. They discuss the perils of middle-aged dating and whether or not blowjobs add to your "number" or not. (For the record: Carole says yes, Bethenny says no.) Then we see Fredrik shopping for baby clothes. Awwwww. He explains he and husband Derek are pregnant. Fredrik's assistant shows up and they discuss baby clothes. After those riveting moments, Bethenny meets Fredrik and his team of contractors and designers in the apartment. But shock horror! Bethenny has also brought her own contractor and designer along for advice without telling anyone. Fredrik is appalled. Fredrik and Bethenny now explain to the team that the budget for the reno, previously $450K, needs to be cut down by a third. Oh and this needs to happen in two days, not two weeks, so chop chop, designers. Bethenny and Fredrik then go to a stone dealer to pick out new kitchen counter and backsplash that was cheaper. Fredrik just looooves stone, but the price difference between Calacatta statuary marble and a giant slab of marble-look porcelain is $20K. [caption id="attachment_65719" align="alignnone" width="750"] Bethenny and Fredrik, © Bravo[/caption] Fredrik likes the giant slab of porcelain, but wants more veins. Bethenny says that too many veins make the stonework look like a vagina and then brings up a picture on her phone to prove it. Fredrik demurs. Bethenny goes on a blind date set up by Fredrik with a handsome actor, who asks for a Skinnygirl cocktail. The actor used to be on Guiding Light, apparently. He doesn't seem Bethenny's type. Oh no! The first problem has arisen in construction! There's a problem with the guest bathroom shower! The shower floor needs to have the drain configuration changed, which will mean the contractors will have to drill through the floor! This will result in a delay of months! This is a disaster! Guess we'll just have to see how this cliffhanger resolves in episode three next week.
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gorgeously updated
A Gorgeously Updated, Spacious Sag Harbor Greek Revival
February 06, 2018
Yes, we probably report on these houses way too often, but when they're this gorgeously updated, what do you expect? We love old houses and we love Sag Harbor and we love when people take loving care of their old houses. This Greek Revival, on the village's High Street, which was listed by Gioia DiPaolo at Sotheby's, dates from 1860 and was restored in 2008 by Robert Strada Design, preserving the past while readying the house for the future. Get a load of the period woodwork, including the random width floorboards, and the copious fireplaces. [caption id="attachment_65700" align="alignnone" width="750"] All photos by Chris Foster via Sotheby's[/caption] The house is unusually spacious owing to a finished lower level at 3850 square feet. There are four bedrooms, all of which are a good size and two of which sport fireplaces, and five baths. The kitchen, while slightly strangely laid out (from what we can tell) is in perfect current taste with white cabinets and gleaming white marble counters. The dining room and living room are both simple and elegant (both with fireplaces) and there's also a TV/family room. Down below is another media space (although we'd certainly install a much bigger TV: big is how we roll). But it's a nice space with wine storage and a good place to stash the kids. Outside, of course the plot is typically small at 0.26 of an acre, but there are sitting areas, pretty gardens, a gunite pool, and even a doll-sized pool cabana. It couldn't be more charming. Asking price for all this is $3.8 million. For more, click here11 High Street, Sag Harbor
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