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The Hamptons

By: Jason Forsythe

Published: 4/10/2014

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As the spring real estate season revs up to high gear, luxury properties in one of the nation's most desirable - and 71wst expensive - areas are coming onto the market at ever-higher prices. With inventory low and demand high, homes in the Hamptons are already selling briskly at premium levels, in some cases even beyond the high points before the post-Lehman Brothers market sell-off even at these levels, demand could remain strong into the summer.

"The market is very good right now in the Hamptons for both rentals and for sales," said Susan Breitenbach, associate broker with The Corcoran Group. "There is a lot of money floating around at the moment, and I can't foresee anything but a very busy spring and summer here in residential real estate."

Breitenbach is showing a 7,000-square-foot, Gambrel-styled custom-built home at 461 Ocean Road in Bridgehampton that was built last year on 2.1 acres. On the market for $14,995,000, the new-construction home comes with Michael Reilly custom mahogany windows and doors; covered porches off every room; a finished lower level with a media room; and, outdoors, a fireplace with loggia, lawn and gardens by landscape designer Edmund Hollander. There is also a pitch-and-putt putting green, a sunken stone-walled tennis court, a separate clubhouse with high-tech glass doors and a private gated drive.

The expansive views over the 13.2-acre agricultural reserve adjacent to the property are protected. The reserve and the new home can be purchased together for $29,995,000. "If the buyer wants a true compound, they could build a 12,000-square-foot residence next door on the reserve, use the current home as a guest house with tennis, putting green, pool, pool house, clubhouse - and create a mini-resort," suggested Breitenbach. "Or they could build a horse farm, a vineyard or an apple orchard. It is difficult to find a 2.1-acre property off Ocean Road in Bridgehampton, and this has the option of even more space if you want it."

Water Mill is one of the most premier areas south of the highway on Long Island's south shore - with major properties listing at a range of price points. In Water Mill South, 6 Calf Creek Court is located on 1.25 acres on a dead-end road near an inlet to Mecox Bay, and is not far from Mecox Beach on the Atlantic Ocean. The 10,620-square-foot, seven-bedroom home was designed in and out by developer/designer James Michael Howard, who is renowned in the area for his meticulous designs and furnishings.

This house is being sold completely furnished ¬with rugs and lighting by David Weeks, the modern lighting designer. One lighting fixture alone is $15,000. Most of the furniture in Howard's homes is custom made for the spaces he designs, and the architecture unduplicated. All the latest technology is built in, with antique French crystal lighting, multiple layers of lacquer, and artwork already installed. One of the living rooms features a bowed ceiling, while the unusual dining room ceiling features an elliptical design adorned with gold tea leaf paper.

Outside, the oversized loggia are designed for al fresco dining on a grand scale, with a massive lawn, heated 55-foot gunite pool with spa and a three-room cabana that includes living room, exercise room and spa bath with massage area. "This is James Michael Howard's third ground-up construction house in the Hamptons, and still, buyers don't expect this level of detail and taste," said Martha Gundersen, associate broker with Brown Harris Stevens. "His architectural detailing and understanding of furniture styling and function are superb, and he has a real understanding of how to mix the classical and modern elements of design. At $11.95 million, this is an excellent price when you consider that the interiors, and even the pillows and sheets, are included. In my opinion, he does it better than anyone else out here: first translating the desires of clients, and then exceeding expectations."

Water Mill is also home to some ideal beachfront properties. The four-plus-bedroom, three-full-bath beach house at 1341 Flying Point Road sits atop a dune with direct views of the ocean on one side and Mecox Bay on the other. The home is at the eastern end of a peninsula, with only one neighbor in sight. With unpainted wood interiors, an oversize stone fireplace and a gourmet kitchen, the home looks out over an area popular with surfers and parasailers. A unique indoor/ outdoor shower has a sliding wall designed to allow bathers to step from the outside shower into the private bathroom indoors.

This contemporary-style, year-round home, with an optional fifth bedroom that can serve as an office, is on the market for $13,950,000. "All the living spaces have views, and the sun just pours in," said Lynda Packard, sales agent with Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Southampton. "You've got sunrise out of the ocean to the east, and sunset into Mecox Bay on the west. It is so rare to have both. And then with the bay, you can go crabbing, sailing and waterskiing - so the home is ideal for people who love any kind of watersports and the beach."

Another home on Flying Point Road is a four-acre compound listing for $20,999,000. The estate comprises two separate but adjacent parcels, one with a 14,000-square-foot, eight-bedroom manor home, a 50-by-20-foot pool, and a pool house and outdoor kitchen with bar, all ideal for entertaining. The second site, on the slightly larger 2.l-acre parcel, includes a tennis court with a self-regulating, adjustable Hydro-Court system that maintains optimal moisture at all times, and a three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom guesthouse.

The main shingle-style home, built in 2009 and wired with a Crestron system for lighting, sound and security, also offers a massive finished lower level with screening room, wine cellar, gym with sauna and staff quarters. The land value alone for the guesthouse parcel would be about $5 million. "The entire offering can be a fabulous family compound, or it can be bought separately with the intention of selling the other lot," suggested Nanette Rosenberg, sales agent with Brown Harris Stevens.

Another Water Mill estate, this one directly on Mecox Bay, was built in 1919 and recently underwent a massive five-year-long restoration. Now comprising 11 bedrooms and 15 bathrooms, the massive structure combines turn-of-the-century splendor, complete with grand entertaining rooms, with the latest 21st century technology installed by a team of designers and architects, who replaced just about everything inside, from the plumbing, heating and air conditioning to the electrical connections. They finished the third floor and lower level, added a garage and built an atrium dining room in the southeast wing. There are now three dining spaces: a formal dining room, an informal dining room and a breakfast room. Landscape architect Edmund Hollander was brought in to restore the gardens and add layers of evergreen landscape for privacy.

The main event of the 22,000-square-foot under-taking, which includes the renovated carriage house and separate gatehouse for the asking price of $49.5 million, was the restoration of the three-story spiral staircase in the entrance foyer. "The transformation is completely done now, and that is the key," said Tim Davis, associate broker with The Corcoran Group. "50 many buyers today want to move in without any work - whether it is new construction or a renovation. Here, they know the owner hired a highly regarded architect and builder, who were involved for many years, to make this home great again. To have this kind of water frontage of over 1,000 feet with a dock and a guest house and a pool - which does not block the natural water views - is special."

Situated on 8.4 pastoral acres located a mile from the beach on the Sagaponack/Wainscott border, 55 Town Line Road is a new-construction, eight-bedroom modern farmhouse with two master suites. Amenities include a north/south-facing sunken Har-Tru tennis court (no sun in the eyes), a resort-style 80-foot pool and spa, and an artfully designed Balinese-style pool house with a covered open-air lounge. The home also offers a wine cellar/tasting room, fitness studio, steam room and a state-of-the-art screening room. The third floor entertaining terrace is accessible via elevator and, with its own kitchenette and outdoor speakers, is ideal for cocktails or a glass of wine.

The property is on the market for $22,950,000.

"There are no neighbors to the south, east and west (the neighbor is to the north, where the driveway is), so the views will never be obstructed," said Lilly Schonwald de la Motte, sales agent with The Corcoran Group. "One other cool element is the polycarbonate, German-made pool cover, which is translucent - and motorized. It is backlit, and very dramatic looking year round. To have this much land in a south-of-the-highway location is a coup for any buyer. The house is also recently - and meticulously - built with tennis and pool house, and the combination of the land, new construction and sophisticated design fits well into the Sagaponack farm house vernacular."

For classic Hamptons, 180 Great Plains Road in Southampton Village is in the heart of Southampton's estate section on the corner of Coopers Neck Lane. The sub-dividable, eight-acre, six-bedroom property, currently on the market for the first time in more than 60 years, can be reached after driving the long driveway. The house is located on the site of the original Villa Mille Fiore, modeled in 1910 after the Villa Medici in Rome, and torn down in the early 1960s.

Either parcel - the 4.4 acre or the 3.5 acre - could stand alone. "The carriage house is on the larger 4.4¬acre lot, and includes a pool and a pool house. Then, on the smaller lot is a tennis court, a garage and two cottages from the early 1900s. For the $36 million price you get the complete package, the carriage house, two cottages, tennis, pool - everything," said Michaela Keszler, associate broker with Douglas Elliman Real Estate. "Or you could keep a cottage as a guesthouse - and then build your dream house on either of the two lots - or just sell the other lot. Buying a property that has been in one family for more than a half century makes it a very rare find - and you couldn't find a more ideal location so close to the beach and Southampton Village."

32 Middle Lane in East Hampton South is a classic 5.5-acre estate that is on the market for $35.5 million. Located within walking distance of the venerable Maidstone Club, the 8,268-square-foot, six-bedroom traditional trophy home, designed by architect Amayar Embry II in 1931, features a pool, pond and acres of sprawling lawn, mature landscaping and specimen trees, including a giant copper beech as a centerpiece, that lead to a guesthouse. The buyer will be only the third owner of this home in 81 years.

"With the prices going the way they are going, the price is very reasonable," said Paul Brennan, Hampton's regional manager for Douglas Elliman Real Estate. "The market for prime luxury homes is strong at a time when there is not a lot of inventory, and land is selling at a premium. Vacant land sales and new houses are driving the market higher and higher - even for an older house like this one, where the 5.5 acres alone would be worth around $20 million. In the Hamptons, new buyers often knock down houses that are only 10 or even five years old, and you have to be an old house aficionado to renovate. In any case, the land is extraordinary. That is what you fall in love with."

Copyright © 2014 The New York Times Company. Reprinted with Permission.

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