The White House: East Hampton’s Own Olympus

The White House, Home, East Hampton, NY
The White House, Home, East Hampton, NY

You know you’ve reached East Hampton when you see it. The White House is a landmark that stands at the gateway to the village.

For years, the home donned festive holiday lights or red geraniums in its windows for visitors and locals to marvel at. For years, it’s been a part of the fabric of East Hampton village.

The Georgian-style estate, located at 6 Woods Lane, was most recently owned by Fred Mengoni, who passed away in 2018 at the age of 94.

“The house was actually built circa 1724-1725,” says Joseph Aversano, who has been on the Board of Trustees at the East Hampton Historical Society for over 25 years. The home originally belonged to the Halsey family, he says.

“The one unique thing about the house that sometimes people don’t know is that originally, it faced east,” he says. “It faced the pond. Now it’s perpendicular to the pond.”

When the home was moved, “It left a little space for when Thomas Moran was looking for a piece of property,” says Aversano. The move opened up the property next-door, which led way to the building of the Thomas & Mary Nimmo Moran Studio in 1884. The structure was recently restored in 2017 and is currently open to the public.

Mengoni rarely spent time at the home. He had many residences across the globe. In the 1950s, he came to the United States with a one-way ticket from Italy, and in his lifetime he made fortunes and lost fortunes.

“Few people have ever met him, and fewer people have ever been inside the house,” says Aversano. “He was a bit of a colorful character.”

The real estate developer, who was also a bicycle enthusiast, purchased the property in 1989 and renovated it to perfection, with attention to every detail, turning it into what it is today–a masterpiece, from the detailed architecture to the custom millwork. It is said that the residence was in terrible shape prior to Mengoni’s purchase.

“This kind of work you can’t give to a contractor,” Mengoni said in an interview with The New York Times in 1997. “You need an artist.”

It is now part of local history that the town didn’t originally want Mengoni to paint the home white and how neighbors spoke out against the landscaping. The efforts to renovate took nearly four years.

The property was first listed in May 2019 for $12.5 million and has since been reduced to $7.95 million. It’s “a rare opportunity to own one of the Hamptons most admired homes located at the entrance to East Hampton village,” says the listing, which is held by Douglas Brown and Paul Brennan of Douglas Elliman.

The stately home sits on almost three acres of beautifully manicured land. Reminiscent of a 17th century French estate, the parcel offers a cherry tree lined path to a fountain, and tennis court sheltered by 30-year-old pines. The current three-car garage is attached to the original 1850s barn.

From the circular cobblestone driveway to the gunite pool, pool house and gazebo, the grounds, anchored by the sprawling iconic fence that gates the property, not a single detail was spared.

“White and red seem to be the theme,” says Aversano. “Sometimes they’d go with begonias around the driveway, also red.”

Indoors, the 7,615 square foot light filled house you’ll find seven beds, six baths and two half baths. Marble floors lead the way through arched doorways on the first floor. The fireplaces, the rosewood paneled library, the sun room with diamond-paned windows–all offer a setting meant for entertaining.

“It really is a showplace as you enter,” says Aversano.

The finished lower level is set up with a rosewood bar, sauna, fireplace, Jacuzzi and wine cellar. The kitchen boasts a double Viking oven, Sub-Zero refrigerator and coffered ceiling.

On the second floor you’ll find the bedrooms, two that also have fireplaces. The master suite comes complete with large private balcony overlooking the neighboring Town Pond. A third floor holds a sitting room, en suite bedroom and large playroom.

Other close-by landmarks steeped in history include Clinton Academy and Mulford Farm. The home is also minutes from East Hampton’s world famous Main Beach.

“In East Hampton, I think the single thing that people come away from is the beautiful pond when you come into town and the windmill at the end of town,” says Aversano. “That White House is definitely part of the tapestry.”