Hamptons Confidential: Joseph Scalia


Welcome to our new feature in which we interview local personalities: agents, architects, interior designers, builders, anyone who plays a part in the world of Hamptons real estate. Want to get in on the fun? Drop us a line!

There can’t be many New Jersey doctors whose hobby is building houses in the Hamptons, but Joseph Scalia is one. He grew up in St. James and wanted his children to have the kind of Hamptons summers he enjoyed as a kid. Scalia started building in the Hamptons in 2008; still a family physician, his company, Eminate Development, is named after his children Emily and Nate.

Scalia met BTH in his latest build, 10 Bayberry Lane, Amagansett, which is for sale for $3.75 million.

What do you look for in a new project?

The houses I’ve been buying are homes that have been in the family for 50 years or so, and they haven’t been maintained, and the parents pass away. Then the kids sell them. That’s generally what I like because I’m looking for a house to renovate into something special.

This is a new build, though, right?

No. This is the original footprint of the original house. So we lifted the house for the flood insurance because there’s all those rules here. But the footprint is exactly the same. We did a lot of reframing and the inside was gutted, but it’s the original. We did change the roofline a little bit.

You know this is this is one of my favorites. I don’t like big houses. You put big houses down here [in Beach Hampton] and it really just changes the character of the neighborhood.

Gorgeous bathroom. Nice big hunk of marble.

I used all Waterworks in this house. The house isn’t huge so you really want to go high end on all your products to get a premium dollar. Most of the people who purchase are from Manhattan and they’re busy, busy families. They don’t have time to renovate.

As for the planning part, the thing is to try to get as much effect as you can in small spaces. You don’t really want to overwhelm the property. This property is only 100 by 100.

Do you get an interior designer to work with you?

The first time we did it by ourselves. Now we use Jessie from Gansett Lane Home and she helps us out. And then sometimes the furniture sells with the property. That makes things easy for the buyer.

How did you get started doing this?

Growing up, we would come out here for vacations, and when my parents passed away, I felt like I needed something. There was no one left on the Island. I wanted my kids to know part of my background, my childhood.

So my wife and I started looking. We saw a tiny little twelve-hundred-square-foot cottage, a 1963 original. After we walked in, I said to my wife, this is it. And she thought I was nuts. And I said let’s renovate! We did, and then we rented it for August one year and then we ended up selling it, so I went on to the next project.

So you just basically fell into it?

I’ve always loved architecture. I’ve always loved architecture in the Hamptons. Even before medical school, I thought I was going to be an architect.

Life can be very strange. I get the most of the best of both worlds now. I can practice medicine full-time and then I get to do this as a hobby. I don’t play golf! There’s a lot of joy to it for me, and I only do one a year. My feeling is if it doesn’t sell, I’ll just enjoy it myself, so there’s no downside for me.