An “Insider’s View” of Southampton

One of the homes on view in the Southampton Historical Museum’s “Insider’s View” house tour. Emma Ballou photos.

By Michelle Trauring

By their very nature, Southampton Village homeowners are private—which makes putting on Insider’s View a challenge, to say the least.

Apart from the house tour committee, and their respective stewards, no one will enter these six homes until Saturday afternoon. Not even Tom Edmonds, executive director of the Southampton Historical Museum, the tour’s benefactor.

“Homeowners are reluctant, and getting people to open up their homes is extremely difficult,” he said. “In East Hampton, it’s more celebrity oriented, more flash. In Southampton, it’s more family oriented. We’re a little more traditional than East Hampton. In Sag Harbor, everything’s open. You can walk around and look in the living rooms. I’ve done it! Here, we have privets.”

From a chic oceanfront home to a traditional dwelling in the heart of the village, this is a rare glimpse beyond the hedges into some of the areas most beloved, and intriguing, residences, Mr. Edmonds said.

“They’re gorgeous, traditional style houses that are beautifully designed. My committee is very, very fussy. There are no dopey houses on this,” he said. “Southampton is a New England-style village. It was owned at one time by Connecticut. So we look for homes that show what Southampton’s really about. It’s about quiet grandeur. It’s about good design. They’re very elegant and very sophisticated. They all say Southampton.”

The first house is one with a rich history, long associated with the Post family —  descendants of Richard Post, who arrived in Southampton in 1643. A long list of Posts points to them as civic leaders and wealthy landowners, though one particular Post earned himself a bit of notoriety.

“Edwin, a man of strong will, was much in the news at one point when his habit of allowing his livestock to graze among the graves scandalized villagers and ultimately led to a lawsuit,” according to the house tour press release.

Far from the only house on the tour with a story, many of the historic properties honor their legacies while equipped with all the comforts and accoutrements of modern living. The tour’s second home, which is nestled on land originally awarded to Christopher Foster in 1650, is a shingle-style residence that looks like it’s always sat on the private flag lot, with its mature trees and a natural landscape, even though it’s newly built

The third home on the tour takes a step away from legacy and toward the beach — a block away, to be exact. Breeze House, which makes the most of Southampton’s natural beauty with light-filled spaces and entrances to the outdoors, is rife with shaded porches, sun-drenched lawns and gardens—including a mature rose garden—and living spaces that many homeowners dream of: a billiards room, a professional movie theater, a modern barn with a small kitchen and studio, and a pool house furnished for dining.

Also along the water is the tour’s fourth residence: the private and exclusive Murray Compound, established by Thomas E. Murray, “genius inventor and patriarch of Southampton’s Irish-American aristocracy,” according to the release.
Raspberry Cove — a recently renovated, shingle-style home — affords views of Wickapogue Pond and the Atlantic Ocean, with a path down to the surf. It may be worth a quick dip before heading over to the fifth house, a turn-of-the-century residence also renovated for modern living, with a warm décor enhanced by the owner-artist’s representational paintings on the walls of every room.

“In the winter, the house is snug and welcoming. In summer, splendid old trees, decorative shrubs and privet frame it in luxuriant greenery,” the release said. “Anyone who has ever yearned for a village home on a leafy street with wingback chairs drawn up to the hearth and a window seat for reading as the sunlight streams in will find all that, and much more.”

Rounding out the tour is a newly built home by architect Francis Fleetwood, who blended the lines of a vintage Hamptons cottage and a chic contemporary interior to create a home full of inspirational design ideas. Each of the eight bedrooms has a private dressing room and bath, and the house’s living spaces are a perfect representation of the past mingling with modern spaces, such as a chef’s dine-in kitchen paired against a formal dining room, and a family room against a double-height living room

“For a few of what goes into a Hamptons dream house in 2017, there is no better place to look,” according to the release.

The eighth annual “Insider’s View” Southampton House Tour will be held on Saturday, June 3, from 1 to 4 p.m. at six village residences, followed by a champagne reception catered by Sant Ambroeus from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the Rogers Mansion. Advance tickets are $95, or $110 the day of. For more information, call (631) 283-2494, or visit