As chair of the East Hampton House and Garden Tour, Joseph Aversano is always on the lookout for hidden gems nestled in the East End’s nooks and crannies.
And then there are those instances when the nooks and crannies are so far off his radar that he must rely on others to bring them to his attention.
Such is the case of 9 Two Holes of Water Road in East Hampton—one of five homes to be featured on this year’s tour, always held the Saturday immediately following Thanksgiving. Aversano learned of the unique Adirondack-inspired home that sits on more than 5.6 acres in the middle of the woods, a stone’s throw from Sag Harbor Village, after being invited to a dinner party there hosted by one of his house tour committee members, Dale Ellen Leff, who was staying at the residence in August.
As with all others understandably unaware of the home’s existence, Aversano was immediately impressed and taken in by the grandness of the 7,200-square-foot custom-built home, which manages to be magnificent without overpowering the senses. His favorite feature is the great hall/living room, which boasts exposed wooden beams, wide plank flooring, floor-to-ceiling windows offering a panoramic view of the property’s towering white pine trees, and a beckoning Connecticut fieldstone fireplace.
“The house is large, but it’s human,” Aversano said. “It’s not too tall. It’s very organic. It’s nestled in the woods and nothing jars your eyes.
“It is amazing in every aspect,” he continued. “And it’s so different from anything we’ve ever had before on the tour.”
Now on the market with an asking price of $4.9 million, the six-bedroom home was commissioned in 2004 by current owner Judith Hope and her late husband, Tom Twomey, a well-known attorney and well-respected leader of the East Hampton community who died in 2014. The couple always enjoyed vacationing in the Adirondacks and, according to Hope, could not pass up the opportunity to purchase the property that, originally, featured a modest home.
Though tiny in comparison, Hope described the previous house as a “craftsman home,” explaining that its owners took great pains to make it special. She noted that all of its doors were handmade, and that the flooring featured lumber that had been trucked-in from Vermont and milled on the East End.
“Technically, our home was an addition,” said Hope, noting that she and her late husband hired Charles Bordsen, of C Bordsen Custom Homes, to make their dream a reality. “The living room of the original house is now the entrance hall.
“A friend once said that we’ve sewed a coat onto a button,” she noted.
Still, she acknowledges that the original plan was to build a beach house in the Hamptons, but they had to call an audible once the property off 9 Two Holes of Water Road became available. Hope, a former East Hampton Town supervisor, said they discussed their options and ultimately decided to bring a taste of the Adirondacks to East Hampton.
“We had spent a lot of time at Lake Saranac, and Lake Placid, and we just really enjoyed the whole rustic atmosphere,” she said. “I wanted a house where you could feel equally at ease in blue jeans or in formal dress, and I think that is actually what we ended up with.”
Construction took about a year, with her husband, who was an amateur pilot, flying them to upstate New York so they could visit Lake Saranac and capture the exact details of a great stone fireplace that they loved so much — and replicated in their new home. Much of the furniture now inhabiting the house was hand-crafted in the Adirondacks and shipped to them.
“People comment when they come to our house that they feel like they’re in upstate New York, that they’re in the Adirondacks, or they’re in Vermont,” Hope says. “They feel like they’ve had a little mini-vacation when they come here. But, of course, the ocean is not very far.”
This year’s house tour, which organizers note will feature homes from the “Sea to Bay, and South of the Highway,” is expected to draw roughly 300 visitors on Saturday, November 24. The self-guided tours will run from 1 to 4:30 p.m.
The four other homes featured on the tour include: the David Huntting House, which was built in the early 1800s, renovated within the past two years, and sits within East Hampton’s Historic District; the recently renovated William H. Babcock House, built circa 1720 on East Hampton Village’s Main Street before being moved south of Montauk Highway; a modern “box” house that sits on Bluff Road, overlooking the ocean, and featuring the creative touch of renowned interior designer David Netto; and the newly constructed “Salty Dog,” named by designer Jessie Della Femina, and whose architecture was intended to be unassuming so it could blend in with the quaint cottages dotting Wainscott’s landscape for centuries.
An opening night reception and kick-off cocktail party will run from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, November 23, at the Maidstone Club in East Hampton Village. Tickets are $200 each and include entry to the house tour the following day.
Tickets for just the self-guided house tour are $65 each if purchased in advance, or $75 on the day of the tour. Tickets for both events can be purchased online at www.easthamptonhistory.org, or by calling (631) 324-6850.
“We’ve grown a lot over the years,” Aversano said of the tour, which is celebrating its 34thyear and serves as one of the main fundraisers for the East Hampton Historical Society. “This year we go from the bluffs of Amagansett, to the center of [East Hampton] village, and over to Two Holes of Water Road, to the north and west.
“We really go from the ocean to the bay,” he continued.
Though she cannot hear the waves lapping on the shore from her Adirondack-inspired patio featuring a massive outdoor fireplace, Hope says she and her husband were thrilled with their central location.
“If you go out of our driveway … and make a right, you go to Sag Harbor,” she said. “If you make a left, you go to East Hampton.
“We’ve got the best of both worlds,” she added. “And the beach is never too far away.”