The Next Generation of Hamptons Estates Goes High on Luxury and Low on Environmental Footprint

Hamptons estates, De Una Holdings
DeUna Holdings has developed 8 Barnes Avenue in East Hampton.
Courtesy of NQS Creative

Looking to move into a just-built, architecturally significant 10,000-square-foot estate, sitting on a majestic treelined acreage in East Hampton, that is both super luxurious and eco-friendly? The soon-complete and fresh-on-themarket 8 Barnes Avenue – and its forthcoming sister properties – are probably for you.

Developed by DeUna Holdings, led by Hezi Mena and Stefano Braganti, the homes are noteworthy for the Hamptons spec market, where the idea of luxe and net-zero have not historically come in one shingle-clad package.

The aforementioned contemporary located at 8 Barnes Avenue represents the first property to come to market in DeUna’s new collection. Currently listed with Nest Seekers for $7.5 million, this stunning home is expected to be finished by February 2024. Designed by esteemed local architect Enrico Tognoni of ETAD, the 7-bedroom, 9-bath home features white European oak floors, hand-selected marble accents, a monumental 22-foot fireplace in the main living area, a home theater, a wine cellar, an infinity pool, a Jacuzzi and sundeck.

“The developers have truly spared no expense in the conception, design and build of these extraordinary properties,” says Bianca D’Alessio, licensed real estate broker of Nest Seekers, representing 8 Barnes. “Their innate understanding of design, constructability and wealth of experience in engineering is nothing short of impressive.” Add to this their meticulous efforts from the site selections to the choices of architects, and you get homes that are not just beautiful and one-of-a-kind, but also sustainable masterpieces.

The other two homes, located at 1694 Millstone Road in Sag Harbor and 9 Blue Jay Way in East Hampton, designed by renowned firms OEE Studio and DXA Studio, respectively, will debut on the market in the coming weeks, and are expected to finish construction in mid-to-late 2024.

DeUna’s Hamptons homes are designed to blend with the natural beauty of the landscape. Of the 8 Barnes house, “it’s a sloping piece of land, and we carved the home into the slope,” Mena says. “All of the homes are positioned well on the property for the homeowners to appreciate the surrounding landscape and forest, with amenities such as infinity-edge pools and tennis courts overlooking nature.” Each home features floor-to-ceiling sliding windows, stunning column-free interior spaces, supersize slabs of premium Grigio Argento marble sourced directly from an Italian quarry and scores of high-end finishes throughout.

Inspired by their European roots and their time working on some of Manhattan’s most significant residential developments, DeUna Holdings has much experience to draw from. Mena and Braganti, who are both structural engineers by training, met while they were working for WSP, the global engineering consulting firm, in New York City. Highlights from Mena’s 20+-year career include the design and oversight of award-winning projects like 432 Park, 30 Park Place, 2461 Broadway and the distinctive “Jenga” building at 56 Leonard, complex projects that have left a lasting imprint on New York City’s architectural landscape.

Reflecting on his time at WSP, Mena shares, “At WSP, we always said we were lucky because we got to work on some of the most amazing projects in the city.” His multi-faceted involvement in the industry has earned him recognition as a leading figure, with a portfolio that boasts over 50 million square feet of engineering excellence, leaving an indelible mark on New York City’s skyline.

Braganti, who came to New York from Italy 13 years ago, worked with Mena on the Jenga Tower and many other projects during his time at WSP. A real estate and technology entrepreneur, he has focused his career on development, design and construction of New York City projects ranging from high-luxury single-family homes to large multifamily complexes.

The three Hamptons homes will each be close to net zero in terms of carbon footprint. They will utilize solar panels as their primary source of energy and will be equipped with energy-efficient appliances from companies such as Miele. And then there is their innovative use of concrete. “Concrete is rarely used in the construction of single-family residences in this country, a missed opportunity in our opinion, given its exceptional ability to regulate indoor temperatures. This translates to reduced energy consumption and subsequently lowers long-term energy costs,” Braganti says.

“I have been working with concrete since I was 15 years old, when I was a laborer for my dad during the summers in Israel,” adds Mena. “Compared to conventional stick-built construction, a concrete framework provides superior durability, energy efficiency and aesthetics.”

In addition, concrete provides the flexibility to design homes that can be easily renovated over time. “Say you live in the house and in 10 years you decide you want to do major renovations, such as repositioning the kitchen or making a private section for another generation of the family,” Braganti says. “This can be done easily, because the interior walls are not used to support the structure. Our designs provide homeowners with tremendous flexibility to renovate their homes for decades to come.”

As for why the duo chose the Hamptons market? Simple. Both Mena and Braganti spent the past few years researching various second-home markets to study the inventory, opportunity and clientele, eventually choosing to expand DeUna Holdings to the East End.

“We investigated other regions, but we loved the Hamptons landscape and the community,” Braganti says. “What we’re building is not the common stick-built house; it’s a blend of luxury and sustainability that the Hamptons market is more likely to embrace, because of their sophistication.” Mena adds, “We are creating luxury homes that use innovative materials with an emphasis on sustainability. Sustainable behaviors are growing in relevance in today’s world, and we believe that the Hamptons clientele are innovators who will help lead the transformation to more eco-friendly living. We are not here for the short term; we plan to be here for the long term, and over time, the sustainable aspects of our homes, including the energy savings, durability and flexibility with renovations, will become even more apparent.”

DeUna sees families with young children as the ideal buyers for the Hamptons properties, and the company has received a lot of interest from potential buyers in the New York area as well as internationally.

Braganti says that his and Mena’s approach to home building is to “build at the highest quality.” He continues: “Most developers will look at short-term gains; they will build and move on. We take a different approach. If this was my house, how would I want to live in it? How can I save money over time and be gentle to the environment? We are not looking to build 20 houses per year; we are focused on two to three homes a year, quality over quantity. That is what is important to us.”


This article was the cover story in the October 6, 2023, edition of Behind The Hedges. To read the full digital edition, click here. More on Hamptons real estate is available here