By Karen Dash
It’s finally spring, and thoughts turn to building that dream home in the Hamptons. What style of house should you choose? A starkly modern glass box, a traditional shingled gambrel, or a transitional style somewhere in the middle? You likely have a long laundry list of likes, must-haves, and dream features. What new technologies do high-end homeowners demand, and what kinds of materials are architects and builders excited about? To find out, we asked experts from some of the area’s most innovative firms.
Kean Development is known for adding ultra-high end features to its homes. The first completed house at its 43-acre project in Southampton, Olde Towne, includes a professional two-lane bowling alley as well as a roof deck with putting green. The house, called Twin Peaks, is listed for $45 million.
Kean spokesperson Nancy Patterson says, “Our clients tend to be very affluent; they are intrigued with technology. The homes we build are controllable via iPhone and tablet driven. Heat, air conditioning, lights, security, humidity, music, indoor and outdoor pool temps and lighting, fireplaces, and so on are adjustable with the push of a button. When they land in their private jet, they can have the lights on and hot tub at the perfect temp for their arrival.
“As far as style goes, the Hamptons seem now to lean toward the modern—a clean, fresh and simple approach and layout. Lots of glass and clean lines that celebrate the magic of the landscape and the sea.
“Our clients love home leisure facilities: indoor bowling alleys, golf simulators, elaborate spas, professional gyms, basketball and squash courts, hockey rinks, gigantic ballrooms, and full salons. And car collectors love multi-vehicle, underground garages with hydraulic lifts that literally stack automobiles.
“Another popular feature is a chef’s kitchen as an adjunct to the family kitchen. There, private chefs can prepare food in a professionally equipped kitchen, with catering for large parties easily accommodated.
“We also do a lot of rooms where remotely controlled walls of glass and screens slide up and down, bringing the outdoors in. Right outside are full bars, grills, fireplaces, flat screen TVs– all beautifully illuminated and appointed.”
New York- and East Hampton-based architect Michael Haverland, known for stunning contemporary homes, says, “My clients like the attributes of a modern house—light, air, views, direct relationship to nature—combined with the cozy, casual comfort of a traditional beach cottage. They are not mutually exclusive.
“I find my clients tend to prefer something original and personal, not generic, in both the architecture and finishes. New technologies, with a little bit of intelligence and design time, makes that possible. It is analogous to the trend for ‘fast fashion’ today (appropriate since many of my clients are in the fashion industry). We are exploring and testing different surface materials and treatments, including cast panels in fluid dynamic shapes, 3D wallpaper (CNC milled or laser cut), and sculptural walls produced on a 3D printer. This allows for the use of unexpected materials in clever ways like concrete, MDF, hard-plank and Azek, Formica, Corian–materials I love.
“Clients are more open to being as green and eco-aware as possible. They consider the big picture, such as material locations and required deliveries, methods of fabrication, maintenance, and life cycle costs. They are aware it is so much more than specifying trendy green products. I find it is important to factor all of those considerations early in the design process.”
The slogan of East Hampton’s Plum Builders is “Our tradition is modern.” Mary Giaquinto, chairwoman, says that “traditional is still strong even as there is a greater appreciation for modern details which are clean and crisp, especially on the interior. In that vein, we’ve been installing white lacquered poplar paneling in hallways and a dark stained paneling surround for fireplaces, which is creating excitement.”
At Paramount Custom Homes, buyers want more of a modern feel. A spokesperson said, “The buyers of today are looking for finishes that we like to call ‘transitional,’ with more straight, clean, long lines on paneling, moldings, and trim. Buyers want high ceilings on all three floors, and LED lighting throughout. More glass, larger windows, with more open spaces in the floorplan. In the kitchen, buyers prefer white, high gloss oversized cabinets with double-thick marble countertops and high-end stainless appliances. Light colored oak floors should be installed throughout the house, which should also include highly efficient heating and air conditioning systems. The grounds should be beautifully landscaped, with stone patios out back and of course a gunite pool and spa.”
Thomas Robinson, Executive Vice President at Taconic Builders, says, “The construction market for custom private residences is definitely dominated by modern architecture, though the spec home builders seem to be sticking with traditional home. There also seems to be a trend in two-story homes to put at least some of the public rooms–living room, dining room, and so on—on the second floor, which used to strictly be the domain of the private rooms. Higher up, these rooms can offer the best daytime views of the ocean or bay.”
Our take? Modern seems to be the way of the future, although there will always be those who prefer a warmly traditional look. Make sure that you investigate the latest technologies to make your life in the Hamptons easier, but don’t forget to have fun by adding playful touches like a game room.