It’s not necessarily easy to purchase a piece of American history. Lasata, a legendary estate in East Hampton, N.Y., has been the beloved home of captains of the industry since it was built in 1917. Now, the important house and beautiful gardens are on the market, asking a princely $55 million via Eileen O’Neill at Corcoran and Ed Petrie at Compass. The Wall Street Journal first reported the listing.
The 7.15-acre spread encompasses numerous structures, including an eight-bedroom mansion, a two-bedroom guest house, a caretaker’s cottage, a pool house, and a three-car garage with a workshop. The grounds, with rolling lawns and a variety of mature trees, including linden, London plane, cork and American elm trees, are a fitting setting for the house, designed by architect Arthur C. Jackson in the Arts and Crafts style.
As grand as Lasata is now, it was finer still in the days when it was the summer home of John Vernou Bouvier Jr., a successful lawyer (who married an heiress) and the patriarch of the family that produced such disparate characters as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Little Edie Beale, and Lee Radziwill. Bouvier purchased Lasata, whose name allegedly means “place of peace” in Algonquin, in 1925.
Back then, East Hampton was not the posh vacation spot it is today. It was a quiet, quaint summer town of potato fields, old windmills, village greens, town ponds and modest saltbox houses. Lasata, then, spread over 14 acres with a cornfield; an orchard of apple, pear, and peach trees; a large vegetable garden; and a large cutting garden full of flowers for the house. A long grape arbor led to the stables, paddock and jumping ring, where young Jackie-O learned to ride and jump.
Jacqueline’s father, the scoundrel “Black” Jack Bouvier, so called because of his reputation and because of his deep, ever-present tan, famously told his young daughter, “Jackie, you never have to worry about keeping up with the Joneses because we are the Joneses.” Then it all ended. Grandfather Bouvier died in 1948 and his home and possessions were sold. No longer pampered in a great house with a retinue of servants, Black Jack could barely afford a room in an East Hampton boarding house for summer. His former wife, Janet, went on to marry the very rich Hugh Auchincloss, and Jackie began spending summers at his farm in Newport, Rhode Island instead of East Hampton.
Today, Lasata is owned by “Spring Breakers” producer David Zander, who purchased the house from fashion designer and retail exec Reed Krakoff and interior designer Delphine Krakoff in 2018 for $24 million. Restored in 2007 and again in 2019, the interiors were designed by Pierre Yovanovich in a kind of spare Scandi-midcentury mood (think Helen Frankenthaler artwork, Charlotte Perriand and Frits Henningsen furniture), while the gardens were refreshed by French landscape architect Louis Benech.
As for Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, her love for Lasata never left her. When Black Jack died in 1957, after years of estrangement from his children, and after Jackie’s storied marriage to John F. Kennedy, Jackie insisted on taking over the funeral arrangements. Instead of the usual funeral flowers, Jackie decorated St Patrick’s Cathedral with sprays of summer flowers in white wicker baskets. She said, “I want everything to look like a summer garden, like Lasata in August.” And from the looks of things, the gardens of Lasata are every bit as gorgeous in August now as they were 75 years ago.