If you don’t like waiting around for a game of pickleball, why not rent a house in East Hampton that has its very own state-of-the-art pickleball court?
This brand new dramatic European farmhouse, currently being built in the Northwest Woods, will be ready and available for rent this Memorial Day through the end of September for $475,000.
“It’s going to be the first house built with pickleball to be put on the rental market,” says Keith Green, an associate broker of Sotheby’s International Realty, who has the exclusive listing with his partner, Ann Ciardullo.
Set on two acres on Old Northwest Road, the 9,700-square-foot abode features seven bedrooms, seven full and two half-baths on three levels of living space and a 30-foot great room with a wall of glass overlooking the tree-lined backyard. Among the numerous amenities for leisure and entertaining are a lower-level theater, a gym, a sauna, a steam shower, a massage room, a recreational room and a wine cellar, as well as a garage outfitted with an electric vehicle charger.
“They literally told the builder to pull out all stops: They want everything,” says Green, adding, “As brokers, we’ve never been more excited about a home that was not on the ocean.”
“It’s really going to be quite amazing,” Ciardullo adds. “The property is spectacular with a pool house with kitchenette and fireplace and a gorgeous gunite pool with a separate spa.”
Then, there’s the sunken pickleball court, perfect for fans of what has become the fastest-growing sport in America.
Made for Picklers
A self-described tennis and pickleball junkie — some refer to them as picklers — Arlene Rodriguez, who owns the property with her husband, Tom Fitzpatrick, thinks the pickleball court will be a welcome addition to the house.
“It’s a great thing to have, even if you’re just starting,” says Rodriguez of the pickleball court.
“The learning curve’s easy. So, I think people will have a lot of fun with that — just an added thing to do outside.”
Pickleball, a combination of tennis, Ping-Pong and badminton, is played on a 20-by-44-foot court, the same size as a doubles badminton court, with a 36-inch net and striped similarly to a tennis court.
Though pickleball’s roots date back to 1965, it exploded in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic, growing nearly 40% from 2019 to 2021, according to a 2022 report from the Sports & Fitness Industry Association.
Planning to reserve the house in the off-season for her family and friends, Rodriguez says her sincerest hope is for people to be happy there.
“I think it’s going to be a place where people are going to have great memories because they have so much to do right there.”
A Collaborative Effort
This is the second rental property in the Hamptons for the owners, who are based in Chicago, and their first foray into building a home here.
They tapped Phil Kouffman, a noted local builder, Hawaii-based draftsman Jorge Rios to develop this house, and Wainscott interior and construction designer, Debra Geller of Debra Geller Interior Design for the project.
The design team took about two and a half years to come up with an optimal layout, notes Kouffman, whose eponymous firm has offices in East Hampton and Westhampton Beach.
“I designed this house and positioned it where it would be very private from the road where you wouldn’t see it,” says Kouffman.
The residence, he explains, is different from many of the other homes being built in the Hamptons. “It’s not completely traditional and it’s certainly not modern, but it has the elements of all of those, both inside and outside,” says Kouffman, adding that it has big voluminous rooms that flow into one another and a large mezzanine and an abundance of glass looking out into the backyard’s private forest of white pines.
Due to the slope of the property between the pool and pickleball areas, they opted to recess the court on a lower tier, he explains. “So, it makes it look like it was all built in naturally.”
Geller likens it to a well-thought-out resort.
An integral part of the design entailed extending the indoor living space seamlessly into the outdoors. Set off the main kitchen, the outdoor barbeque/ kitchen has a double-island and a dining area with seating for fourteen. Further along the blue stone patio, is a firepit surrounded by comfy seating.
For the interiors, Geller was inspired by an 18th-century property in the Berkshires she has admired for years, melding old-world style with modern elements.
“I wanted to create a European feeling in the house, but give it some sexiness,” Geller says, adding, “You walk in and you just feel the space like a warm cozy sweater.”
Combining a mix of colors and textures, the home’s exterior is black, mixed with warm stone. Inside are white oak floors paired with roughhewn exposed beams, set against a backdrop of dramatic black windows.
“And then we have this grand fireplace that will be done with hand Venetian plaster and a white finish that will give it an ethereal look,” she says.
The great room will also include a deep reading nook surrounded by wall sconces and cabinetry.
“It’s a place you can go and get lost in the space,” says Geller.
That is, if you don’t get lost in your pickleball game.
This was the cover story on our February 2023 edition of Behind The Hedges, which hits newsstands in Palm Beach in March. See the digital version of the magazine here.