Real Estate Roundtable: Making a Splash

The outdoor oasis at 173 Davids Lane in Water Mill, listed with Sotheby’s International Realty‘s Doreen Atkins at $15.995 million.
Jake Rajas

Memorial Day is the unofficial start to summer in the Hamptons. It doesn’t matter whether it’s big or small, whether it’s waterside or tucked away surrounded by mature trees and hedges — a pool to lounge by is something hardly anyone will pass up on a hot summer day. We asked East End real estate agents showing some of the most luxurious homes, what are some of the sought-after features for pools on the East End? Is simply having a pool enough or does it need to really make a splash?

Ashley Farrell

Ashley Farrell, The Corcoran Group

“Certainly the Hamptons knows no bounds in terms of opulent backyards and pools — the options are endless! Any sort of special amenity is a definite plus when it comes to attracting buyers. Recently I was touring a new construction home in Southampton and the pool offered ‘drink rails’– no, this is not a mere cup holder, but something better. The concept is a ledge, protruding just shy of a foot into the water from the pool wall and on the side facing the lounge/patio area. Set about 3.5 to 4 feet deep in the water, this foothold allows swimmers to ‘hang’ with those lounging without the need to tread water. It’s a simple, yet rarely employed idea that increases functionality and creates cohesiveness between those in and out of the water. Consider it done when I build my next pool!”

Deirdre DeVita

Deirdre DeVita, Sotheby’s International Realty

“People are particular about their pools. When it comes to sought-after features, the most consistent trend I see is that everybody wants something different! Either the pool has to be tucked behind a hedge in its own little park, or placed in a deck right off the back of a house, creating an indoor/outdoor, resort-like atmosphere. The setting is very important: it needs to be a self-sufficient haven, with amenities near at hand, and it should conform with the style of the property. It’s worth noting that these wishes can not always be achieved because each site has its own specific constraints. Indeed, some of the most valuable and desirable sites — oceanfront, for example — pose the greatest challenges, with setback and lot coverage requirements coming into play. Buyers should not assume that they can fulfill their dream-pool scenario without proper diligence. That being said, knowing what goes into creating these quintessential summer luxuries does make you appreciate a fabulous pool setup all the more.”

Mariana Nunes

Mariana Nunes, Compass

“A waterfront pool is definitely a desired feature in the luxury market. Some lots have wetlands or other restrictions which prohibit pools from being built in certain locations so when you can have one, it’s a particularly special feature to have. Those who score properties with a waterfront pool grandfathered in are lucky! A lap pool is also a frequent request for true swimmers and, for the health-conscious, a saltwater pool is a must-have!”



Elizabeth B. Bowden

Elizabeth B. Bowden, Nest Seekers International 

“Having navigated the luxury sector of the Hamptons real estate market for over half a decade, I like to think that I have fielded requests for it all. Pool parameters are no exception. Size, style and placement of the pool set the stage. It is ultimately the details, right down to the setting, that curate an experience. Details range from the right furniture and accessories to sound systems and water features. For much of my clientele, the setting dictates the decision. Whether it is tucked away behind the hedges, overlooking vast farmlands or the great Atlantic Ocean, it comes down to preference. Remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”


Patrick McLaughlin

Patrick McLaughlin, Douglas Elliman

“For many Hamptons home buyers, the swimming pool is an integral extension of the living space. They want harmony between the interior and pool, along with all of the exterior living spaces. In other words, the pool should not only look stunning but complement the style and living environment of the entire home. The pools aren’t just for a quick dip. They are part of a seamless lifestyle. One feature, for example, is a “sun shelf,” where lounge chairs are placed in a few inches of water. These are increasing in popularity as they allow people to experience the pool without having to get completely wet. It allows bathers to keep cool while being able to carry on a conversation or run and get a quick glass of rosé without having to towel off! Following the trends in interior design, LED lights have become de rigueur for pools in the Hamptons. The sleeker design and adjustable features allow homeowners to create a mood that’s consistent both inside and out. I know in some areas of the country, multicolored lights are a fun addition but, in the Hamptons, it seems the subtlety of plain white lights is the thing buyers are seeking.”

Jennifer Friedberg

Jennifer Friedberg, Brown Harris Stevens 

“Pools, the pride and joy of many Hamptons homeowners and renters. Although there are some amazing Village homes (some of which are still available, contact me!) without pools, a majority of local tenants have them on the top of their ‘must-have’ list. So, what kind of pools are renters really on the hunt for? Spacious and heated with resort-style amenities. At times, lushly landscaped grounds, pool houses, and outdoor showers will seal the deal. Whether lounging in the sun, unwinding after a morning workout, or sipping a coffee or cocktail, having a pool is the ultimate luxury. Better yet, refined design, top-of-the-line lounge chairs, pillows, and towels provide that extra ‘wow-factor’. Out east we see stunning pools that are bayside, oceanside, infinity and lap — the sky is the limit and effortless flow from the house to the outdoors is key. As many clients purchase with the intention of renting, all of the above are certainly considered when buying and building from scratch. So, welcome to Memorial Day Weekend in the Hamptons and enjoy all that it has to offer.”

This article appeared in the Memorial Day 2022 issue of Behind The Hedges. Read the full digital version of the magazine here. Read more features from our magazine here