Summer House, the show about a group of friends spending summer in the Hamptons together, premiered its seventh season on Bravo on Monday, revealing one major kink in their summer plans. The discovery of illegal bedrooms gave their share house less space.
Just days before filming began in the Water Mill house for the 2022 summer season, Southampton Town officials realized there were more bedrooms than there were supposed to be.
“The Hamptons: Known for old money, also old laws,” one of the castmates, Kyle Cooke, says during the narration as he and his wife, Amanda Batula, have a look around at their summer living quarters, the same $5 million house that was used for the previous season. “Our house just so happens to be zoned for five bedrooms — not nine.”
Cooke says he got a call one day earlier that four of the bedrooms were not usable.
“So, welcome to camp.”
Ryan J. Murphy, the Town Code Compliance & Emergency Management Administrator, gave the back story to Behind The Hedges — and it, of course, has nothing to do with old Hamptons laws.
Hamptons Summer House Rules
When his department reviewed the film permit application, they found it “presented characteristics that were inconsistent with some of our other records,” and it prompted an inspection at the 6,500-square-foot home on a gated five-acre parcel at 2136 Deerfield Road.
“We found nine bedrooms created in the dwelling, but the rental permit and certificate(s) of occupancy only allowed for five bedrooms, which is also consistent with the tax records.”
His office informed the property owner, listed as a limited liability company, of the violations, and the owner was ordered to address them immediately. A cease and desist order was issued as soon for the “intended violations/conditions existing in violation,” Murphy says
“The property owner and the production company were very responsive to that and we then engaged in productive conversations to address the issues and concerns,” he adds.
Asked what the rooms were supposed to be if they were not legally bedrooms, he said he was not exactly sure, but that the floor plans submitted with the rental application showed the first floor only had one bedroom.
“There were two rooms on the floor identified as “offices,” which, he said, might have been rooms they intended on otherwise trying to convert to bedrooms.
This week, Murphy reviewed portions of the first episode that referenced the bedroom issues.
“I know in seeing them walk in, they were surprised to see a gym on the first floor and I think some other sitting room. Those were probably the spaces on the submitted floor plan identified as offices,” he said.
The second-floor plans show four bedrooms, a movie theater and another office space. “The office has a closet and a bath, so I’m guessing that was planned to be re-purposed into an illegal extra bedroom,” he said.
It is unclear what other room was converted into a bedroom.
“When thinking about the increase you have to also consider what was the septic built to handle,” Murphy explained. “I do not know the answer to that question, but it could be part of the reason the bedroom count is what it was identified to be in the records.”
That didn’t stop the owner and the production crew from adding beds to larger rooms to provide a place to sleep for everyone, as seen when Cooke and his wife tour the house.
As many as 13 people stayed in the house for the summer season, some on rotating weekends.
Summer House Summer Parties
Another issue addressed was some of the summer parties that were being planned for the show since the house is located in a residential neighborhood, in a wooded area between Sag Harbor and Water Mill, with limited ingress, egress and on-site parking, Murphy added.
“The production company was very cooperative in trying to address these issues ahead of the filming start,” he said. “Ultimately our meetings and conversations yielded a successful season for them with no neighborhood complaints or issues to my knowledge.”
The show’s sixth season, which debuted on television in February 2022, was also filmed in the house at 2136 Deerfield Road and it utilized more bedrooms.
“I believe that perhaps information about the intended use of the house was revealed in the filming application that had not previously come to our attention,” Murphy said. “The previous rental permit from 2021 when the house was under different ownership was also issued for five bedrooms, so the town’s records and regulations for the property didn’t change from one year to the next; I think our knowledge of what the conditions were changed.”
While the castmates were taken by surprise — some only finding out when they arrived on the first day of filming — Murphy is happy with how the process worked on his end.
“For the safety of all the occupants and participants, I’m glad we were able to all work together to ensure that the house was operating within the proper occupancy limits and in such a way so as to cause little impact to the neighborhood,” he said.
The seventh season of the show promises to test friendships like never before — we’re guessing the lack of bedrooms had a lot to do with it?
We’ll see as the season unfolds. Summer House airs every Monday at 9 p.m. on Bravo and then is available for streaming the next day on Peacock.