Behind The Hedges 21.09.2019 03:09 Property of the Week: The Neski House, Water Mill

Property of the Week: The Neski House, Water Mill

August 19, 2019 By Laura Euler

This is a very special property: the beloved second home of architects Julian and Barbara Neski, designed by them in 1965. The headline of Julian Neski's 2004 New York Times obituary pretty much sums it all up: "Julian Neski, 76, Who Brought Modernism to Beach Houses." The article, by Alastair Gordon, went on: "All of his houses were relatively inexpensive to build and, unlike the high-maintenance trophy mansions of recent years, easy to maintain. Functionalist simplicity was combined with sculpturally expressive form." Gordon also wrote Weekend Utopia, which pictured the Neskis in their house. The Neskis were part of the midcentury modern movement in Hamptons houses, which also included architects such as Peter Blake, Andrew Geller, Charles Gwathmey, and Norman Jaffe.

We asked Pat Garrity, the Corcoran broker who is listing the property for $3.245 million, if the place is likely to be torn down. She's hoping there's a buyer out there who "gets it. It's a 50/50 shot. I've certainly had brokers ask me what one can build there," she says. "But I've also had architects come and one customer interested who wants to retain the house. But of course, if somebody is paying three million dollars for fifteen hundred square feet, they always think the price is too high."

Part of the midcentury modern movement was building smaller, more manageable weekend houses, not so much the giant trophy mansions of today. The Neskis designed the Water Mill house shown below along with Peter Blake, which is described as a "cantilevered cigar box shaped house," with the upside down style to maximize the views. The article notes that the house cost $13,750, "high for a vacation house because it is heavily insulated and equipped for year-round use." Today the house, which still exists at 49 Huntington Lane in Water Mill, would be worth close to $3 million.

LIFE magazine, August 3, 1959

While the Neski house is modest, with 1,300 square feet, 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, it's "been well taken care of and updated sensitively," says Garrity. And while it's just a half acre, she says, "You go find another half acre on the water with a dock where you can kayak to the Atlantic Ocean." And, unlike some other properties in the region, with tons of wetlands with associated restrictions, a pool is a possibility here, if wanted.

Preservations and architecture buffs, take note!

For more, click here. 75 Westminster Road, Water Mill

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