The factors that contribute to a real estate market’s popularity and growth are many. There is the appeal of the area itself and the lifestyle it will offer, with key features and experiences of any one township determining its desirability for first and second homes. But perhaps most importantly is the home itself. The Hamptons real estate market is unique in that for many years it called upon a particular style of home for those that decided to head east for summer vacations. The Hamptons has changed though as it continues to evolve as more of a year-round destination. The traditional Hamptons home is still popular, but in new construction, modern styles are taking center stage. Hamptons builders share what they see in the near future for new construction and renovations.
Buyers looking to invest in the Hamptons real estate market either build a new home or renovate an existing property. Builders are finding there is a pretty even split between these two options, though the style for both leans toward modern. Rich Perello of Perello Design & Build says modern and contemporary designs present a unique set of challenges as there is nowhere to hide a mistake. More attention to detail must be paid in the early stages.
The modern look continues to grow. “There has been quite a trend to modern over the last few years, with a few architects in particular spearheading that movement,” shares Robert Bakes of Bakes & Kropp. “The purchasing community is certainly more able to appreciate this look, and it’s taken us beyond our roots of the classic Hamptons white kitchen into an arena of high gloss and exotic finishes.”
Marrying interiors and exteriors remain strong in modern design as homeowners wish to create a synergy between indoor and outdoor living spaces. Al and Mary Giaquinto of Plum Builders find lots of glass that opens up the outside provides an easy transition. Kean Development’s John Kean has found increased interest in interior lower level entertainment with features like sports (bowling alley pictured above), theatres, wine rooms, spa zones, gym, and indoor lap pools.
In terms of renovations, updated bathrooms and kitchens remain a strong common update, along with outdoor entertaining areas. “The most important tip is that buyers should work with a builder and architect in unison from the onset of the project,” suggests Jack Curto of Curto & Curto Development. “Together they are able to interpret what the homeowners want as a long-term vision for the property, and craft the house in a way that it doesn’t necessarily look renovated, but looks original and updated.”
Now, these builders provide insight into new construction and renovation trends that help shape the Hamptons real estate market.
HRES: What do builders think about the contemporary home trend that seems to be popping up in the Hamptons?
John Kean: Although we do not want to lose the character and integrity of the signature Hamptons style home, diversity in architecture when well executed is exciting, especially for our design team. We like the idea of a new modern design that is fresh, clean and dynamic – with high tech, green attributes these unique, simply designed homes will never be confused with their outdated predecessors. We are finding that the open concept in the design of new construction is somewhat universal for our buyers as well. They are looking for an open, airy feeling with as much natural light as the design will allow.
HRES: What is the most important tip for homebuyers looking to take on a renovation project?
Robert Bakes: Particularly in the Hamptons, there is such a large number of companies available to undertake renovation work. It’s so important that clients find someone they feel really comfortable with. Cost is always a factor even in this rarefied atmosphere, notwithstanding, there is a value to true craftsmanship and an ability to take care of customers. Excellent work and excellent service does come at a premium of course, and it’s a fundamental challenge to balance the need for excellence with the ability to be cost effective. The kitchen is still the number one improvement in pretty much any market sector across the country.
HRES: Are you finding more people are renovating homes or building new ones in the Hamptons?
Al & Mary Giaquinto: We think that people are more cautious about spending money on their property, and more careful about where they spend it. The homeowner isn’t sure their property will appreciate as it has in the past, and consequently are holding back. Increased regulation from stronger codes is increasing the cost of construction. The building department in providing you with the permit to construct will ask you to bring the ‘newly renovated’ home up to a standard that may cost more than anticipated. Common upgrades for renovations are larger master suites including increasing the bathroom’s size, features and storage, updated and enlarged kitchens and improved traffic flow for entertaining their extended families.
HRES: Is the open concept trend still strong in new construction? If so, why?
Rich Perello: Yes, the open concept is still in. I think most of the homes in the Hamptons are vacation homes and are used primarily in the summer while people are on vacation with their families and guests. These open spaces create a much more casual (less formal) living space which lends itself to this type of living. A trend I have noticed in the Hamptons is the importance of creating outdoor spaces that can be integrated into the main living areas. Some of the ways we are accomplishing this is to use large multi-slide or bi-folding door units, which can be opened connecting the two spaces and creating one large living space between the interior and exterior spaces of the home.
HRES: What other trends are popular in new construction in the Hamptons?
Jack Curto: A few years ago, the trend was transitional interiors that were very clean and white. Now, it’s leaning toward using more organic materials on the modern level. My latest development at 435 North Sea Mecox in Southampton overlooking the Long Spring Farm incorporated a California Modern interior. Black accents and wrought iron handrails have been popular this season, along with rift white for built-ins, paneled rooms and interior doors, and oversized glass windows to create a clean, modern look, capturing the Hamptons landscapes. Complete outdoor dining and entertaining areas and finished lower levels with a spa and steam room are always in demand, and now expected in new luxury Hamptons properties. The number one new sought-after amenity is the full-service kitchen for catering and personal chefs.