There’s something very special about the estate section in Southampton. The homes are mostly old-school, old-money good taste, and most of them are set on generous parcels. Nothing flashy or tacky or in your face. Just gracious, lovely, and classic.
This property embodies everything coveted about the area, and it’s long been owned by an old-money family as well. The house and gardens are so serene and desirable, in fact, the property went into contract after just one week on the market. Known as Folly Fields, the estate was asking $11.5 million. Michaela Keszler and Paulina Keszler at Douglas Elliman represented the sellers, while Cindy Scholz of Compass bought the buyer to the deal.
The longtime home of Carole and the late Fred Guest, Folly Fields has long been known for its famous gardens. It recently served as the location for The Southampton Rose Society’s annual cocktail party.
Fred Guest passed away last year, having had a storied career in finance and development, and his forebears were even more distinguished. His father, Winston, was an international polo player and friend of Ernest Hemingway, while his mother, Helena, was a granddaughter of F. W. Woolworth, and his half-sister, Cornelia Guest, was the first “celebutante” in the 1980s. Guest’s patrician lineage hardly ends there. Fred’s paternal grandfather was first cousin to Sir Winston Churchill, while his grandmother was a daughter of Henry Phipps, the philanthropist and partner of industrialist Andrew Carnegie. Money, American money at least, doesn’t get much older or classier than that.
The rambling, shingle-clad cottage is set on over two acres of land, featuring a masterfully designed rose garden, climbing plant pergola, specimen trees, and gunite pool. There’s room for a tennis court if the new owner wants one. The house is a little skimpy on bedrooms according to current standards, with just four of them, but there are six bathrooms, plus a couple of powder rooms, and three fireplaces.
Interior spaces are a studied balance between relaxed and refined. The foyer boasts 20-foot ceilings, perfect for displaying art, the sunken living room has pretty views of the rose garden, and the large kitchen offers two walk-in pantries and access to the outdoor terrace. The first floor also includes a library with fireplace, a private office with powder room, a laundry/mudroom, and access to the garage.
The master suite occupies its own wing of the second floor, with two walk-in closets and an elegant bathroom; three more bedrooms each have ensuite bathrooms. The finished lower level contains a fantastic home theater and a wine cellar, along with a bedroom and bath for staff.
This is all within close range of Southampton’s ocean beaches, which consistently rank in the top ten in the United States, as well as the town’s fabulous shopping and restaurants. Despite the eight-figure price tag, it’s really no wonder this place was snapped up quickly.