Vaunted French architect and designer Thierry W. Despont, who’s designed homes for scads of billionaires and other titans of their industries, including Bill Gates, Les Wexner, Mickey Drexler and Calvin Klein, has listed his own 34-acre estate in the Hamptons. Located in North Sea, on the bay side of Southampton, the sprawling property incorporates the site of the original Southampton Riding and Hunt Club, built in the 1920s and where young Jacqueline Bouvier rode.
The suave, famously exacting architect paid a total of $8.55 million for three contiguous parcels between 2011 and 2013. That includes Rosewood Farm, the prior Southampton Riding Club, which spans about 11 acres, along with a 23-acre parcel, and another of just about half an acre. The half-acre plot includes a four-bedroom house, previously owned by fashion designers Mark Badgley and James Mischka, which Despont uses as a guesthouse.
Despont transformed Rosewood Farm’s largest barn into the estate’s main house. The C-shaped building surrounds an open courtyard with a central fountain. Two other barns were also converted, one to a garage and the other into a pool house next to the infinity pool. Gardens boast allees of trees in a serene park-like setting, and the grounds overlook another 50 acres of agricultural reserve. There’s room for a tennis court, should the next owner want, and the compound could also be subdivided back to its original trio of lots.
As for the interiors, they’re signature Despont, with lots of ochre and sienna colors, large artworks, vintage furniture and antiques. Of particular note is what appears to be a giant cast iron cooking range repurposed into a sink cabinet, a unique and interesting idea. The primary suite takes up the entire second floor of the house; in all, there are 10 bedrooms, and 10 bathrooms, plus two half-baths, in about 9,500 square feet. The pool house offers a sauna and gym as well as a bathroom, while the guest house is luxuriously self-contained.
All in all, and in keeping with the architect’s notoriously high-brow style, a capacious, elegant getaway with a eye-popping price to match.
Despont, who worked on transforming the former Montauk home of late Ponzi fraudster Bernie Madoff, as well as the 1986 restoration of the Statue of Liberty, and a 2016 renovation of the Ritz Paris, also owns a 10,000-square-foot townhouse in New York’s Tribeca that popped up for sale last November at $25 million.