Sagaponack's Most Exclusive Subdivision
by mike olson
This Sagaponack shingled mansion was built by architect Michael Davis
Driving down the hedge-lined streets of Sagaponack, it can be hard to imagine that this, the third-most expensive zip code in the country in 2011, was once nothing but farmland. Still, every so often you happen upon a reminder of the area’s agrarian past, like the three-story Victorian farmhouse on Parsonage Lane that Jimmy Fallon purchased last summer. Even more idyllic are the 60 bucolic acres tucked behind it—the very ones that grew potatoes in the 1850s—which make up one of the most exclusive neighborhoods on the East End.
Roughly three decades before well to do late-night hosts called this neighborhood home, renowned Hamptons architect Norman Jaffe designed the subdivision and five-acre pond that would become Parsonage Pond Road. In the mid-’90s architect Michael Davis would perfect his own unique style—a blend of English country and shingle-style homes—in this very spot. “A lot cost $200,000 back then,” remembers Davis, who was a real estate broker when construction on Parsonage Pond began. After he didn’t like how the first house came out, he decided to design one himself. “Today, the pond-front lots alone are worth $4 million, not including a house.”
There’s no denying that times have changed, but the home at 223 Parsonage Pond Road has always stood out above the rest. Constructed in 1995 and renovated in 2007, the 8,000-square-foot, seven-bedroom home features everything today’s Hamptons buyers could want. For starters, walk through the front door and you’re standing in a living room with cathedral ceilings sporting bleached wood beams. “It’s a corner room, so you have windows on three sides,” says Michael Schultz, senior vice president at The Corcoran Group.
That is a common refrain throughout the house, where six of the seven bedrooms (including the master suite with fireplace) have been designed to afford bucolic views of the pond and 1.60 acres of manicured grounds. Even the newly appointed kitchen invites the outside in. “It’s a big, open space and has room for a long table,” Schultz explains. “Plus, it has a fireplace that makes it a great winter-summer kitchen and French doors that lead right out to the pool area.”
Together, the heated pool (with attached pool house) and pond give 223 Parsonage Pond Road the utmost in privacy. “That’s what water does for you,” Schultz explains. “Being on Parsonage Pond gives you the same kind of privacy that you can get only in the most premium of properties. You really get this serenity and peacefulness.”
This didn’t happen by accident. Creation of this ecosystem was overseen by Stony Brook University, and today it is heavily stocked with fish that, thankfully, limit the number of bugs in the area to virtually zero. (To further prove it is the healthiest of its kind in the state, the pond is also home to a family of swans and is a popular rest stop for migrating ducks.) Even better, there is a 40-foot setback around the entirety of the pond, ensuring that these vistas will forever be preserved and creating a perfect walking trail for an idyllic summer stroll.
Such a tranquil setting is only possible because the neighbors take their responsibility to this exclusive subdivision to heart. “Parsonage Pond is a unique setting,” says architect Michael Davis. “It’s serene and peaceful even in the thick of summer. All the owners take an active interest in maintaining both the pond and the shoulders of the roads.” Angela Bowman, Davis’ partner and CFO, agrees: “It’s a beautiful, beautiful community. The people are very conscientious. For the most part, I think Michael might be the only one who actually lives here year-round, so it’s very quiet.”
That’s right: In what has to be seen as the most ringing of endorsements, Davis didn’t just design 14 of the homes here; he also calls this enclave home. Likewise, it is also the current home base of Michael Davis Design & Construction. For that reason, he knows just how special number 223 is. “The house is wellpriced, and it could not be replicated at today’s costs,” says Davis, who knows the $7.99 million price tag is a steal in today’s marketplace.
Needless to say, Schultz agrees. “I love that even though Michael Davis built it in the ’90s that it has a very farmhouse look to it,” he explains. “It’s 8,000 square feet, but there’s nothing suburban- or McMansion-looking about it. From the trim color and the dormers to the kitchen and the bathrooms, it feels like a restored old house. I think that’s really cool.” Michael Schultz, 51 Main St., East Hampton, 899-0254
photography by Jeff Cully/East End Fine Art Services (aerial photography); MICHAEL HELLER (slideshow)