Where Brokers Live
One day in 2005 while sitting in an open house at one of her listings in Sagaponack North, Sotheby’s agent Dana Trotter took a look around and realized that it was the perfect property for her and her family. A prize-winning equestrienne who rode professionally before entering real estate 18 years ago, the parcel was not only large – three acres – but also had paddocks and a barn that could be perfect for a stable. And, with pre-existing clearance, it wasn’t crowded with woods like the neighbors’ properties. You could legitimately call it a “spread.”
“Having all this open space and sky is what I love,” she says. She moved into the house, a log cabin, with her husband, kids (now ages nine, seven and three) and two Jack Russell terriers, with plans for a quick renovation. “We were going to camp out for the summer,” she laughs now. Instead the renovation took ten years and was done in two phases. In fact, it’s still a work in progress.
During the process, the seasoned broker had resale in mind. Six years ago she added a pool house and garage, de rigueur for high-end Hamptons’ buyers. An apartment over the garage was built in case a prospective buyer “has horses and a groom.” For now it houses the family’s au pair. Even each of her kid’s rooms has an en-suite bath. In the main house, the open layout – so popular at the moment – also “works for us.”
A couple of years ago Dana and her husband, Gordon, hired architect Bruce Siska and Jeffrey Santonastasi of Along the Way, both of East Hampton, to help them realize their dream home. As project manager, Santonastasi helped them from building to decorating, and “fine tuned” such details as the lacquered kitchen cabinetry and white quartz counters. “Jeffrey was amazing,” says Dana. “He built it fast and was here every day.”
The Trotters knew they wanted certain elements, such as rustic recycled wood surrounding the living room fireplace. “We tried to use wood from the cabin as an ode to it, but it didn’t work.” Instead they procured reclaimed barn wood from Antique Lumber Co. in Wainscott.
The result is a stunning modern farmhouse, which they moved into two summers ago, a few short months after building began. The family spends summer evenings on the western-facing cedar deck. One day they plan to install an outdoor kitchen with a built-in barbecue. Meanwhile, restoring the barn is next on the list.
Moon Over Sag Harbor
Linda Haugevik’s contemporary house is built on a hill overlooking the blue expanse of Sag Harbor Cove. The front entrance is on the second floor, a loft-like room with a wall of windows facing the dramatic swath of sea. That room is the nerve center of the residence, where the Douglas Elliman agent cooks, eats, works at a long desk or spreads out on a sofa in front of the fireplace.
The mostly white room is sparsely furnished. “I could live with no furniture at all,” she says. “I could live with just blocks and blankets.” The avid yogini practices at Yoga Shanti six days a week. The space is given warmth by a ceiling clad with planks of old cedar, the fireplace, which she keeps ablaze all winter long, and baskets of apples, gifted to her by Hollywood producer Sandy Gallin, whose Further Lane compound she represents. Haugevik was a sculptor for 25 years, working in steel, and many of her pieces are festooned throughout.
She made several structural changes including removing a central closet that blocked the view, slathering the brick fireplace with concrete and installing new kitchen cabinets. “In hindsight I should have torn it down,” she says. She has plans to renovate the downstairs by expanding bedrooms and bathrooms.
Meanwhile, the house is her “sanctuary,” where she watches the constant changes in the water and the moon above, which she says is visible all year long. “Redwood is an island,” she says, pointing out that the property is swept by southerly breezes during summer. “There are no bugs,” she says. Thus she has no need for screens.
“Of all the houses I’ve represented – and I’ve represented some great ones – I like this one the best.
The first thing that Alan Schnurman, a veteran real estate developer and broker at Saunders, says about his Bridgehampton house is that it’s “quirky.” What he means by that is that it’s not the usual sort of Hamptons home that he’s been known to build: “where one room flows into another.” Rather, two long branches extend outward from the house’s main trunk. “It’s not for everybody,” he says. But it is decidedly for him and what he calls his “three families.”
Both wings with their bedrooms and bathrooms – there are seven of each in the house – provide private space for his son and daughter, their spouses and five children, ages two to 11, while the upstairs is for Alan and his wife, Judy. The main part of the house with its large living room, comfy leather-swathed den, chic family room, huge kitchen-dining room, and furnished outdoor patio, is where all come together.
Schnurman, who also owns residences in New York and Aspen, was not in the market for another Hamptons’ house eight years ago when his friend, Douglas Elliman broker Paul Brennan, insisted he see the property. Schnurman fell in love with the location, a private road off Ocean Road, where his neighbors include Mickey Drexler, Edgar Bronfman Jr., and real estate honcho Stephen Green, from whom Schnurman bought the house and who now lives across the street. “If Bridgehampton had an estate section this would be it,” says Schnurman, who rises in the morning “at first light” and takes a short walk to the beach.
With the help of architect Frank Greenwald, Green renovated and expanded upon a 1950s ranch, surrounding the living room on three sides with a multitude of French doors and laying acres of marble countertops in a vaulted-ceiling kitchen. “The kitchen is big enough so that all our families can cook together,” says Schnurman. Meals include lots of salads, as both he and his son are vegans.
“Vacation homes in the Hamptons are all about the family,” says Schnurman. There’s a gleam in his eye when Schnurman mock complains about “stepping over toys” during family visits. The patriarch clearly cherishes his brood.