Editor-at-large Michael Braverman leads a panel of brokers, landscapers, and designers to discuss the Hamptons emerging trends in real estate.
Claudia LaMere, Christine Curiale, Matthew Stengel, Mala Sander, Deborah Srb, and Mark Eickelbeck at The Watermill Center.
Michael Braverman: What are some of the outdoor amenities that you’ve seen that are unusual or different? Christine Curiale: I’m seeing quite a few people make a change from chlorine to saltwater pools. I’m also seeing—which I didn’t really expect—in the last three big multimillion dollar purchases that we’ve had, everyone wanted to add televisions outside.
Deborah Srb: I’ve seen a lot of rooftop living spaces that take advantage of the views.
Claudia LaMere: I also think another trend is the outdoor shower. It used to be that a hose was hooked up to cold water, but now they’re very elaborate. It’s even nicer sometimes to take a shower outside than it is inside!
Mala Sander: Outdoor spaces are truly fantastic, with curtains and televisions—everything you would have in the indoor space, I’m seeing people bring outdoors. I’m seeing Turkish rugs being placed directly on the lawn, coffee tables, and chandeliers hanging from trees—really beautiful spaces that are almost magical.
This Water Mill property, listed by Srb, illustrates the trend of an outdoor living room and dining area.
MB: Let’s elaborate from what’s happening to why it’s happening… DS: Palm Beach and certain parts of California have weather that’s conducive to year-round outdoor lifestyles; in the Hamptons, for the most part, people were living indoors, but the trend lately is living outdoors. The weather hasn’t changed, but our lifestyles have, [and there’s a] need to create these sanctuaries.
MS: In that vein of people investing in themselves, I’m also seeing meditation gardens. Even on a half an acre, there are so many ways to implement all the good energy of the Hamptons.
Mark Eickelbeck: The outdoors has a calming effect on the soul. We’re living in such a tech-inundated world, so the ability to go home and sit in your tent or gazebo grounds us and has a calming effect.
Matthew Stengel: To add to that, we’re finding more that privacy is a huge factor in the outdoors. Everyone wants screening, and for their vegetable gardens, their secret gardens, where they can go to picnic and retreat from their everyday lives.
Deborah Srb and Mark Eickelbeck.
MB: Lets move on to architecture. What are the trends? CL: In my neighborhood alone, four new houses went up in the last six months, and all of them are Shingle Style. From what I see, Hamptons Shingle Style is still very popular.
DS: There is a trend toward modernism, but it’s more inside. People are collectively relating to the open space, the high ceilings, the light, and the big windows.
ME: Personally, I’d love to build more modernist homes, but as a developer, you’re going to go where the largest market is calling. The modern home is not a mass-market home; you usually see a modern design on higher-end homes—it’s a much smaller market that you’re going after.
M. Sander: My experience has been quite the contrary; I’m seeing, almost overwhelmingly, a trend toward modern. I’m seeing everything from a 3,000-square-foot cube with three bedrooms plus a den that is convertible to a master suite if you have a guest—on half an acre to 10,000-square-feet on a much larger space. And the smaller homes are spectacular because a 3,000-square-foot traditional house doesn’t have a lot of flexibility, but if you have a 3,000-square-foot modern home with nano doors to the outside, now you’ve got this huge seamless space.
Mala Sander is seeing properties out East that feature outdoor entertaining spaces, like this one, with a full dining area.
MB: Talking about sanctuaries, do you see any trends in bathrooms? DS: I don’t think they’ve ever been more luxurious. [At one time], a sufficient master bath would be a sink, a toilet, and a showerhead, but today, you find natural stones, wild grasses, and a steam shower.
ME: There’s no doubt there’s a lot more focus on the bathroom, but what I’m curious about is how much people are actually using these luxuries. To me, a bathroom is a practical room… [Laughs]
CC: It really depends on whom you’re talking to. As a woman, I look forward to having a glass of wine in the bath, whereas my husband would ask why we need such a big bathroom.
M. Sander: Relaxation s paces are as varied as the people who come out here. There are people who will want a studio because they paint, or people who want a music room, or a yoga room, or that big bath to unwind in. It’s so personal.