By Dawn Watson
Here in the Hamptons, there are quite a few stories behind our hedgerows. How could there not be? Once the land called home by famous seafarers, and now a playground for the captains of industry, the East End has a rich past and a prosperous future.
Allowing access into a handful of private residences in East Hampton and Amagansett, the East Hampton Historical Society is offering a few rare glimpses into a limited number of the dwellings that represent the spirit of the East End for its “A Peek at History: Behind the Hedgerows” 2015 East Hampton House and Garden Tour. This year’s annual holiday house tour, which will be held on Saturday, November 28, will showcase five area abodes that represent the finest examples of Hamptons architecture.
In Amagansett, the homes on view will include a set of complimentary cottages on Main Street, as well as an historical Mulford family house, also on Main Street. In East Hampton, on view will be an 1897 house on Dunemere Lane, a gambrel-roofed compound on Egypt Lane, a turn-of-the-century summer house on Drew Lane, and the Thomas and Mary Nimmo Moran house and studio. Additionally, this year’s opening night cocktail party, which will be held on Friday, November 27, at the oceanfront East Hampton estate of Elie Hirschfeld.
The assortment and collection of styles will be compelling, as always, says East Hampton Historical Society Executive Director Richard Barons.
“Different yet complementary, these private houses invite the viewer to peek inside some of East Hampton’s most alluring structures,” he says, crediting the society’s house tour committee for “selecting five homes that uniquely express the spirit of living on the East End.”
Previewing the pair of cottages on Main Street in Amagansett last week, interior designer Tom Samet pointed out some of his favorite decorative details and design secrets implemented by he and partner Nathan Wold. The two small-scale homes, which sit on a half an acre in the village and are used as a family compound during summer weekends and holidays, are scanty in stature but loom large in style.
Standing in the footprint of an old barn, the newly constructed 2,200-square-foot main house has an open floor plan, vintage beams and modern conveniences. Offering exposure on three sides, the light and airy abode takes full advantage of the outdoors, and every inch of available interior space.
The open plan downstairs includes a living, dining and kitchen space, all cleverly designed with proportion and elegant simplicity in mind. The stone fireplace at the end of the living area draws the eye, but the seven French doors—all equipped with Sunbrella window treatments—ringing the perimeter bring the outside in, allowing a feeling of expansiveness.
Due to the limited space, there was not a lot of room for furniture, reports Mr. Samet. The same goes for wall space for hanging artwork, as the French doors and large number of windows dominate. Informed by utility, the designer’s inventiveness shines brightly through.
“I wanted the space to count,” says Mr. Samet, who says that he used “a lifetime of lessons” that he had learned in fooling the eye to take full advantage of the available area.
Upstairs, there are three bedrooms and two baths, including a master suite with deck overlooking the lawn, pool and seating area around the outdoor fireplace. On the lower level, there’s a game room, laundry and lots of closets for storage.
For the even smaller 600-square-foot Cape Cod-style “Little Cottage,” which stands beyond the pool and protected on all four sides by hedgerow, Mr. Samet needed to redouble his efforts. Somehow, the two-bedroom, one-bath house manages to pull off the semblance of space—even including an improbable eight-seat dining table.
Due to the home’s confines, it’s definitely “not your typical Hamptons space,” says the designer. “But, there’s the illusion of it yet.”
The two residences are practically master classes in design, says East Hampton House and Garden Tour Event Chair Joseph Aversano. This pair, and the other four properties on the tour, are most eye-opening and instructive, he adds.
“Tour-goers can take away ideas that they can use in their own homes,” says Mr. Aversano. “Here a person can walk in and really learn something.”
The 2015 East Hampton House & Garden Tour, “A Peek at History: Behind the Hedgerows,” will be held on Saturday, November 28, from 1 to 4:30 p.m. The self-guided event, benefitting the East Hampton Historical Society, will include five area homes in East Hampton and Amagansett. An Opening Night Cocktail Party will be held on Friday, November 27, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the East Hampton home of Elie Hirschfeld. Tickets to the tour are $65 in advance and $75 on the day of the tour. Tickets to the opening night cocktail party, which includes the next-day tour, are $200. For reservations and additional information, visit www.easthamptonhistory.org.