Once upon a time, houses in the Hamptons were relegated to a strict geographic hierarchy. South of the highway (Route 27), you were golden, within a quick walk or bike ride to the beach. North of the highway was meh, unless maybe you had horses, and even farther north, areas like Springs, a woodsy, working-class hamlet of fishing families and artists in the northern part of East Hampton, were definitely déclassé.
A story regarding Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Caro illustrates the divide: when his book about Lyndon Johnson came out in 1982 (the first in a very long series) and he made some money, he told his wife Ina, “Go buy a house in the Hamptons.” Ina told the East Hampton real estate agent that she liked Lily Pond Lane, then and still one of the best addresses in town. The agent asked Ina how much she had to spend; she replied, “Fifty thousand dollars.” The agent promptly drove Ina to Springs rather than Lily Pond Lane.
Springs still doesn’t have the big-money cachet or cost of Lily Pond Lane, but today it is no longer considered an inexpensive or undesirable backwoods. Case in point: Dan Rattiner, the founder of Hamptons bible Dan’s Papers, purchased a house on the harbor in Springs for $40,000 after his divorce in the 1970s. That same house is now up for grabs at $6 million.
The property sold last year for $1.5 million but has since been totally and trendily transformed. Overlooking the beautiful harbor sunsets, the flag lot encompasses 1.1 acres, and the 4,000-square-foot house contains five bedrooms and four and a half bathrooms.
Painted super-trendy black, the house is jam-packed with fashionable fittings and en-vogue materials. White oak is used throughout the home; there are bare Edison lightbulbs hanging in one of the bathrooms; a white stone counter waterfalls over the island in the kitchen; and the fireplace in the living room is housed in a smooth concrete column. There are enough rattan light fixtures that it’s starting to resemble “The Wicker Man” in there!
Glass sliders open the living and dining areas to an elevated dining and lounging deck that’s complete with a fire pit, and the huge kitchen is expensively equipped to whip up big meals for weekend guests. The swimming pool is encased in glass, so it can be used year-round.
The primary suite boasts a gas fireplace, a private terrace with water views, and a bathroom with heated floors. Two other bedrooms are also en-suite, while two others, one with a fireplace, share a bath. There is also a den/media room with covered porch, a sauna, and a two-car garage, which currently serves both as a garage and a gym.
The property, asking $6 million, is listed via Nicole Tunick and Zachary Tunick at Douglas Elliman.
P.S. The Caros have since moved to Sag Harbor, but it’s just a quick drive if you need to discuss the Johnson presidency.