When I first stepped inside I couldn’t believe just how small it was.
Then, the more I looked, the more I liked it.
As these things go, like turned into love and now palatial Hampton’s estates at 5 times the price and 10 times the square footage just fall flat in comparison.
That was more than a decade ago after somehow ending up at a clambake at advertising mogul Jay Chiat’s summer home.
Yes, it was small.
In fact, years later, when I later started looking into the design process behind the house, I learned that was intentional. Here’s what Chiat told his architect:
”I want a barn, and it’s going to be the smallest house built in the Hamptons in the last 15 years.”
It was a singular vision of a man who spent a lifetime thinking about things like line, shape, and emotional impact.
So imagine my surprise when flipping through Curbed on Flipboard (Warning; Highly addictive!) and stumbling on a house that ticked those same boxes.
Well, for me at least.
Like Chiat’s barn, this home was also the singular vision of one woman who spent a lifetime studying line, shape, and emotional impact.
Here name was Hedda Sterne, an abstract expressionist painter who was a contemporary of Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko.
I don’t know how else to say it, I really, really want her house… Here’s why.
This living room:
Again, a postage stamp among planets in the Hamptons, but well, this is supposed to be a summer home. Isn’t the whole point of a summer vacation to spend MORE time with your family and friends instead of giving everyone a million rooms to hide away with their phones?
Even imagining a quiet Sunday in alone, this living room practically radiates warmth and serenity, even empty. Can you imagine filling it with cool mid century sculptures and tweed furniture? I can.
Then there’s the homey Phillip Johnson inspired dining room which brings the outdoors inside with minimal fuss.
I never thought I would use the words “homey” and “Phillip Johnson” in the same sentence, but here we are.
Heck, this room feels purpose built for eating fresh caught lobsters and local corn with a few neighbors who can their own preserves…
It would also be fun to imagine the artsy hijinks that Sterne and her abstract expressionist friends must have gotten up to here…
You’re not getting that in your $50 million mcmansion.
Check out the bathroom. What a pleasant room to shower off after a day at the beach.
Then there’s the yard… Once again, everything from the placement of the house in relation to the barn, the lawn, the trees and shrubs are all just perfect.
Then we have one of the coolest buildings I think I’ve ever seen for sale in the Hamptons at any price.
Not only are you getting a massive, rustic barn where a towering figure of the art world created her work, that was also a fire station in another life, but you’re getting a giant blank canvas to work with.
A huge second living space? A guest house? Art gallery? A place to show off a vintage motorcycle collection? The possibilities are endless.
Yes, there are landmarks issues to consider here, but since I don’t have an extra $1,425,000 in the bank right now, I’m going to let my imagination go on this one.
Now this may be somewhat of a visual letdown to people who aren’t as obsessed with turn of the century industrial spaces as I am, but bear with me.
In the hands of a capable architect a barn is much more than a barn. Emphasize some features and scale back others, and build out some ultra modern spaces and this;
Can be transformed into this;
Pretty amazing right? It gets better.
There are two of these barns on the property. Sure, one’s rather small and this one is massive, but those kind of limitations are what creative architects live for.
Like I said before, landmarks preservation committees, especially in towns as quaint well heeled as East Hampton might throw cold water on those plans faster than you can say dinner party.
It doesn’t hurt to daydream though right?
Over to You
Thoughts about our pretentious art world fantasies? Have a unique listing you think should be featured here? Let us know in the comments or email me.