July 11 -- A house that shares a namesake with the library is the oldest on the tour. The John Jermain House, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1780 by Revolutionary War veteran Major John Jermain. Part of the house dates back even further because the home combines two structures: a 1600s saltbox house and a Federal house. Noted philanthropist Mrs. Russell Sage, the granddaughter of Jermain, led the effort to build the John Jermain Memorial Library in 1910.
March 7 -- Old Town Crossing proprietor Sean Bruns at the interior design firm’s new location on Hampton Road in Southampton Village. When Old Town W Crossing, a preeminent Southampton interior design firm, opened in 1978, it enjoyed one of the perks of a bygone Hamptons era: exceptional foot traffic. Perched, at the time, on Main Street, and visible to all manner of passersby, the showroom attracted a steady influx of customers, cementing the business as a Southampton stalwart. But, five years ago, when general manager and designer Sean Bruns took over as proprietor of the business, Old Town Crossing relocated to its warehouse on Mariner Drive.
July 25 -- One house, 25 designers and artists. The 2019 Hampton Designer Showhouse occupies a newly built home in Southampton this summer with the minds of each artist and designer involved working to make an imaginative, summertime residence. “Every designer comes from almost any part of the country, sometimes outside the country every once in a while,” said Christopher Castro, the manager of the Hampton Designer Showhouse. “We have people from Texas, Pennsylvania, California, Florida, Georgia. People come from all over to be part of the show house.” That includes Alessandra Branca, who runs her eponymous interior design business, which has offices based in New York City, Chicago and West Hollywood. She designed the living room. All the decorations, vintage furniture, fabrics and other details in the living room were designed or curated by Ms. Branca. The fabrics on the furniture were personally designed by her and are part of a new launch called Casa Branca. “The color scheme came from just a feeling of wanting to be in the sun. You want to be here and you want some sunshine,” Ms. Branca said. “And you want the lightness of the space. I think this room also works well at night because you have a balance of light at different places.” Ms. Branca did say that designing the living room for this show house presented a few challenges. “There was a design issue here,” Ms. Branca said. “It’s the fact that this living room is like a hallway because it really is the way to go from the front door to the pool.” To separate the front entrance from the living room, Ms. Branca installed a portière, a curtain placed over a doorless entrance, providing a sense of privacy. Ms. Branca had to also provide enough space in the living room so that all the potential guests could have a seat. She did this by creating a “double living room,” with two sets of chairs, ottomans and vintage sofas back-to-back.
October 24 -- Rick Friedman fired off the names of the artists as he walked past: Roy Lichtenstein, Tom Wesselmann, John Chamberlain, Cy Twombly, Ellsworth Kelly, Dorothy Dehner, Karel Appel, Arman, and on and on. “This is Ross Bleckner. If you’re going to live in the Hamptons, you gotta have a Ross Bleckner. And you have to have an Eric Fischl, right?” The collection runs the gamut, from as early as 1910 to recent works by living artists, but his focus is on abstract expressionism. “That’s my sweet spot: abstract expressionism, the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s. A little pop,” Mr. Friedman said. “I got sort of carried away with some things here and there, but that’s really the collection.” The tour included his vast art collection — “There’s no prints or anything. These are all the real deals,” he emphasized — and on his baseball memorabilia collection, one that any sports fan would envy. Mr. Friedman has worn many hats, but on the East End he is best known as the founder of ArtHamptons, an international modern and contemporary fine art fair that he ran every summer for eight years, before selling his portfolio of fairs in 2015 to Atlanta-based Urban Expositions, which put on the last ArtHamptons in 2016. It’s rare to find a photograph of Mr. Friedman at ArtHamptons — or any event, really — without Cindy Lou Wakefield. Often appearing joined at the hip, they curated the art collection at Mr. Friedman’s home together. In fact, the collection spills over to Ms. Wakefield’s home nearby, where, like Mr. Friedman, she is running out of wall space. “We’re best friends,” Ms. Wakefield said. “I like to say ‘partners with art in the middle.’ That’s the way I describe our relationship. I live very close to him, and we’re always together. We’re talking art and reading Christie’s and Sotheby’s and going and traveling. So we’re best, best friends.” It was their love of drip painter Jackson Pollock that brought them together.
May 30 -- A historic windmill that was moved to A Southampton and converted into part of a private residence was just one of the stops that will be featured on the Southampton History Museum’s 10th annual “Insider’s View” tour of Southampton homes. The Windmill House was home to C. Wyllys Betts, who moved a windmill from Good Ground—the area now known as Hampton Bays—to Gin Lane in Southampton Village in 1880 and attached it to his cottage. The windmill, built in 1807, originally stood on Shelter Island before it was relocated to Good Ground in the 1860s.
May 23 -- Designers and decorators have been working apace this week to transform seven rooms and one outdoor space at the ARF Thrift & Treasure Shop in Sagaponack into popup examples of the work they do. They need to be ready in time for Memorial Day weekend, when the ninth annual ARF Designer Show House opens to benefit the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons. Christina Peffer and Allison Babcock of Babcock Peffer Design in Sag Harbor are firsttime ARF Designer Show House contributors. Their room’s theme is “Animal Kingdom.” They enlisted artist Darius Yektai to create and donate a bust of Mr. Babcock’s labradoodle Hobie and artist Mark Webber to provide a work of plaster.
August 30 -- A court has ordered the sale of Ponquogue Point, the bankrupt condominium project on Foster Avenue in Hampton Bays that stalled when it was near completion. Ponquogue Point has sat mostly idle for a few years as the project has been caught up in legal battles. But now, with the court-ordered bankruptcy sale, a new owner could soon step in to finish the development, and residents could start moving in shortly thereafter. Meridian InvestmentSales, a New York City real estate firm, is marketing Ponquogue Point after the court approved the firm in a July 23 order.
February 28 -- A developer’s plans for her shrinking Riverside property remain in limbo, as they have for nearly 20 years, though, this time, much of that uncertainty can be attributed to the still-unrealized potential in Southampton Town’s most economically distressed hamlet. Dede Gotthelf, who now owns 6.22 acres overlooking the Peconic Riverroughly one-quarter of what she had owned when she began investing in Riverside in the late 1990s—says the planned construction of a sewage treatment plant in the town’s nearby Enterprise Zone could open her remaining land, as well as neighboring properties, to new possibilities. She said those options could potentially include the construction of dozens of new units of much-needed workforce housing in the municipality, or the addition of several new waterfront businesses, possibly restaurants that would overlook the water and sit across from Riverhead Town’s bustling downtown. “I think it is a phenomenal piece of property in the overall attempt to revitalize Riverside, and I think something wonderful should happen with it,” said Ms. Gotthelf, who currently has no formal application in the works. Diana Weir, the town’s director of Housing and Community Development, said she has had several conversations with Ms. Gotthelf regarding her property over the past few months. Citing the pending construction of the sewage treatment plant, Ms. Weir said it is too early to know if it makes sense to build much-needed workforce housing complex on the site. She left open the possibility that there might be better uses for the land, noting that it could be the ideal place to offer outdoor recreational activities, such as kayaking or canoeing.
July 4 -- Holiday House Hamptons, an annual charitable designer show house to raise money for breast cancer research. The founder of Holiday House and a breast cancer survivor herself, Iris Dankner, brought together more than 20 designers to revamp the 12,500-square-foot house by All Seasons Contracting with unique styles that visitors could imagine themselves living in. “This year I feel the house came out better than ever,” Ms. Dankner said. “When I’m doing designer show houses, what I think is important is to make it cohesive, and I select designers in these open spaces that I feel their work blends together.” Elsa Soyars, an interior designer based in the Hamptons and New York, decorated the master bedroom with a new line from Cliff Young’s 50th anniversary collection.
October 17 -- It was six years ago when East Hampton Village adopted its timber-frame landmarks law to protect historic buildings and incentivize their restoration. Now, the village is seeing the fruits of that legislation — the first of its kind. The Hiram Sanford House, a Cape Codstyle dwelling at 13 Egypt Lane that was once the home of the man who ran the Pantigo Windmill, has been restored, with its surviving historic details preserved. The work has been done in conjunction with the ongoing construction of a modern home on the same piece of property.
June 20 -- It all started when Frederico Azevedo was a child. A vegetable garden at his childhood home in Brazil would spark his interest in what would become his lifelong career as a landscape designer. His journey has taken him all the way to the United Kingdom, to New York City and then to Bridgehampton, where he operates Unlimited Earth Care. Now, he will celebrate his achievements by showcasing them in a book titled “Bloom: The Luminous Gardens of Frederico Azevedo.” “Bloom” came together in one year, but it has been an idea for seven. At a designers dinner in Paris, Mr. Azevedo sat next to founder of Pointed Leaf Press, Suzanne Slesin. “You should have your book,” Ms. Slesin told Mr. Azevedo. The book will be published by Pointed Leaf Press on Saturday, June 22, and will, according to the publisher, explore “the hallmarks of an Azevedo garden, featuring his signature curving, floral borders, and his creative integration of native or well-adapted plants.”
November 14 -- When author and naturalist Peter Matthiessen died in the spring of 2014, uncertainty reigned. His son Alex, who became the executor of his father’s estate, was left to decide what the future held for the elder Matthiessen’s Sagaponack estate. The two lot property was part of a 6-acre plot that Peter Matthiessen had purchased in 1960. That lot was later subdivided. Alex Matthiessen decided to sell one of the two lots, the one with his childhood home on it, in order to settle the estate tax. “It was so deeply upsetting to me, the idea of losing the home that I had lived in and was born and raised in,” he said. “… It came as quite a shock to me. You kind of take it for granted, and you have this idea that you’ll have access to that place for the rest of your days.” That shock eventually parlayed itself into advocacy. Although he needed to sell the home in order to settle the estate, Mr. Matthiessen eventually concluded that he wanted to reacquire it so that he could convert it into something that his father would have appreciated. Thus, the idea for the Peter Matthiessen Center for Writing, Conservation, and Zen was born. “I quickly realized it was a substantial undertaking, and it would essentially require me to abandon my own professional plans,” he said. Eventually, with the help of the Peconic Land Trust and Preservation Long Island, a plan began to take shape regarding the reacquisition and reshaping of Peter Matthiessen’s original homestead. Fortunately, the private buyer who purchased the home and property in 2014 has not done anything to any of the original structures. “The owner’s a thoughtful guy, and I think he wants to do the right thing by the property,” Alex Matthiessen said. Currently, a team has been assembled to repurchase the residence, renovate the home, establish the Peter Matthiessen Center, and create an endowment that will cover staffing and maintenance. The center itself will serve as a writer’s retreat, and will have separate buildings for on-premises accommodations.
June 6 -- The Southampton Fresh Air Home held its 26th annual Decorators-Designers-Dealers Sale and Auction Benefit Gala on Saturday at the home’s facility. Using the home’s various cottages and tents, designers and dealers created vignettes featuring literally thousands of donated items. These included antiques, fine reproductions, contemporary pieces, china, crystal, upholstery and every conceivable type of accessory. The variety was mind boggling, and the speed at which some of the early arrivals sped through, buying things, was truly impressive.
October 10 -- The Sandy Hollow Cove Apartments in Tuckahoe, a 28-unit affordable housing development, is officially open. All units have been assigned and tenants are already moving in, according to Curtis Highsmith Jr., the executive director of the Southampton Housing Authority. Sandy Hollow Cove was developed through a partnership between the Southampton Housing Authority, a town agency charged with providing affordable housing, and Georgica Green Ventures, a Jericho-based, for-profit company that builds affordable housing. Their concurrent 37-unit apartment complex, Speonk Commons, is slated to open within the next few months. On Monday morning, October 7, executives from the housing authority and Georgica Green Ventures were joined by county and town elected officials, as well as executives from New York State Homes and Community Renewal, the agency that secured millions in funding for the project. “This is a groundbreaking development here, and I know it’s a sign of what is ahead,” County Executive Steve Bellone said to the crowd after individually thanking everyone who played a major role in the project.
January 17 -- After a decade and a half of construction and funding headaches, John Eilertsen had hoped that the restoration of the circa 1820s house would be completed in 2019. The historic houseowned by Southampton Town and bearing the name of the 19th century miniature portrait painter and former owner—would serve as the new headquarters and exhibition space for the Bridgehampton Museum. Sadly, Mr. Eilertsen, the museum’s executive director, said it will not be open to the public until the summer of 2020. “We are trying to preserve as much as we can,” Mr. Eilertsen said. “With that being said—while you don’t want to correct the mistakes of the past when you are preserving—for safety and the integrity of the building, we have had to make some changes. and exhibition space for the Bridgehampton Museum.
February 14 -- A bill that would allow tenants in manufactured home parks to challenge excessive rent increases has struggled to advance through the state legislature for the last 12 years. Typically, mobile-home residents own only their homes, and they rent the land their homes sit on. Other residents rent both the homes and the land. In both situations, residents are vulnerable to rate hikes because of a lack of state regulation, State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. said. Reintroduced in 2019, the legislation, sponsored by Mr. Thiele and State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle, would give mobile-home owners the right to challenge a rent increase in court if that increase is greater than the consumer price index - —a measure of the change over time in the price paid for consumer goods and services—in New York State, and if the mobile home is their primary residence. Mr. Thiele has said state law is supposed to protect people who live in such affordable housing from “involuntary forfeiture” for not being able to pay for their homes due to “unreasonable” rent increases. The bill has advanced past the State Assembly every year but one, but has never reached the floor of the historically Republican-controlled State Senate. But now with a Democratic majority in the Senate, local lawmakers are optimistic. The Mobile/Manufactured Homeowners Association of Suffolk Inc. has led the charge for the bill to become law. A husband and wife are both on the association’s board: Peter Baldwin is vice president and Gale Baldwin serves as secretary. Both over the age of 65, they say their rent has nearly doubled in the two decades they have lived at Riverwoods Mobile Home Community in Riverside, making it difficult for seniors on a fixed income like themselves to afford to stay there much longer. “The plight of senior citizens is the main issue here,”
February 21 -- Progress on a nearly 18,000-square-foot compound under construction on Meadow Lane in Southampton Village has been nonexistent for the past six months, and some say that the owner, listed as Meadowcore LLC, has plans to demolish the home and start over. The Morrocan-inspired residence located on an 8.1-acre oceanfront parcel at 1320 Meadow Lane is two stories high and has numerous arches over windows and entrances along the front facade. The roof, though flat in areas, has pyramid and conical peaks, and the house itself has a sandstone appearance to it. The property the house sits on is zoned R80, or 2-acre zoning, and the residential structure is considered to be a single-family dwelling with both attached and detached garages, a tennis court and a 1,700-square-foot swimming pool between the house and the ocean. The 8.1-acre parcel, alone, cost the homeowner $37,127,900 to purchase, and the estimated cost of building the home was $19 million. Building department documents principally refer to the owner as Meadowcore LLC, but on a couple of the forms the owner was listed as Thomas E. Sandell, then crossed out with a blue pen and replaced with the name of the LLC. Mr. Sandell is the founder of the Manhattan hedge fund Sandell Asset Management and, according to Forbes, has a net worth of $1.4 billion. Along with the cost of land and construction, a $247,500 building permit from the Southampton Village Building Department—which, according to staff members at the building department, is 1.25 percent of the cost of construction—was a sticking point early in the process. In fact, in a letter on April 9, 2014, Southampton-based attorney Anthony Pasca told village officials that the fee is “an illegal tax.”
September 12 -- John David Rose Architect P.C. AIA, an architecture firm with offices in Westhampton Beach and Southampton, has added interior design services by Emma Jean Rose, the daughter-in-law of the firm’s namesake. The Westhampton Beach office reopened during the spring as an interior design branch of the firm, with a space redesigned by Ms. Rose. The new office also features a gallery; artwork by Eastport painter Emma Ballou, a friend of the family, was recently on exhibit. The office used to be considered a satellite of the main branch in Southampton Village, which opened its doors in 1994. The firm specializes in residential and commercial designs, with an interest in historical preservation and renovation. From left, scott Rose, emma Jean Rose and John David Rose looking at projects on an iPad at their westhampton Beach office.
April 25 -- A woman cannot live on bread alone. Jesus may have needed God’s word, but Night Owl Baker Tracy Stoloff needs her design fix. “I really like this time of year,” she said, struggling to cut branches with newly sprouted leaves. “I’ll clip anything green.” When she’s baking or delivering bread, she wears a uniform of vintage work suits, but on a recent spring day she’s wearing a cropped cashmere sweater over a silk slip, over pants. She’s the quintessential California girl, raised in Orange Park Acres, who fell in love with Montauk fisherman Chris Winkler. The couple moved into their rambling ranch in 2016 after searching two years for the perfect place to build, which they found on a dead-end road in the hills of Montauk. Ms. Stoloff collaborated with Plot-1, the design team of Michael Foley and Cassandra Perez based in Montauk and Santa Monica, California, to create their home sanctuary. “I’ve been thinking of this house for 15 years,” she said, arranging the greenery into a vase.
March 28 -- It was one year ago this month when the Southampton Housing Authority and the Long Island Housing Partnership held an affordable housing lottery at Southampton Town Hall. There were 252 applicants who qualified for the lotteryand just two homes that would be available to purchase in Tuckahoe, at below market rate. The first name to be picked from the raffle drum was James White Jr. Though Mr. White had the top spot, there was a long process ahead of him to ensure that his household both qualified for affordable housing and could keep up with the mortgage to finance the $332,400 purchase. But, finally, on February 11, his family closed on 406 Moses Lane—and they couldn’t be happier. Mr. White, his fiancée, Stacey Distefano, and their children, Madison, 7 and James III, 2, upgraded to a three-bedroom house with a yard, from a little two-bedroom cottage on Montauk Highway in Shinnecock Hills. “My children have their own rooms now. They have their own space. My dogs are happy—they have their own space. We’re just happy in general. It’s everything we pretty much dreamed for. We’re super lucky,” Ms. Distefano said.
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