Truman Capote’s Sagaponack House

truman-capote-hamptons-beach-house

I’M FOREVER LOOKING for clues to the origins of my Long Island beach house. The town records, which go back only to 1957, when zoning was adopted, are useless, since the house was built before then. But when? And by whom? And was it designed, or did it just sort of happen?

I Googled the name of a long-dead previous owner, and came to this lovely blog postwritten by a visitor to the house, recalling hammock-swinging and gazpacho-making in the summer of 1975.

I’ve asked the last owner to dig out any photos he might have, and I have hopes he may get around to it one day. I’ve been to the Long Island Collection at the East Hampton Public Library, and read Alastair Gordon’s Modern Long Island: The First Generation of Modernist Architecture 1925-1960, which accompanied an exhibition at East Hampton’s Guild Hall in the 1980s.

But I still know very little about the architecture and design of my own house. Occasionally I come across something that strongly reminds me of it. One of these recent discoveries was on the website The Selvedge Yard, which reproduced an article published in Architectural Digest in 1976, about Truman Capote’s house in Sagaponack, a boxy wooden structure he built in 1962. It had, the magazine said, an “intentionally untended” look. (The house still stands but has lost its untended look, and with it, its charm.)

Truman Capote Standing by Fireplace

For Capote, this was one of three homes (the others in Manhattan, California and Switzerland), but it seems he spent as much time out there as he could, especially in autumn and winter. He was, of course, well-heeled enough to winterize the house, but quirky enough to do it in such a way as to make it look unfinished by choice. (My as-yet-unwinterized house also looks unfinished, because it is.)

I love the dark glossy floors, the walls of books, the exposed-beam ceilings — and the typically pithy Capote-isms in the article, such as this: “For me, it’s a bore to use a decorator. I know exactly what I want. I don’t care to have someone come in and tell me what I need to live with. I know.”

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truman-capote-hamptons

capote-hamptons-home-living-room

truman-capote-hamptons-home-bedroom

About cara

I blog for fun here at casaCARA, and write about architecture, interiors, gardens and travel for many national magazines and websites. My recently published posts and articles can be found here: https://casacara.wordpress.com/recent-articles/
This entry was posted in ARCHITECTURE, HAMPTONS, LONG ISLAND and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Truman Capote’s Sagaponack House

  1. literarybrooklyn says:

    The interior of your house looks so much like the interior of this one, I wonder if some of the same people were involved in designing/building both?

  2. cara says:

    That crossed my mind too, lit. We’ll never know!

  3. cate says:

    I know nothing about architecture in the Hamptons, but it makes me think of houses built in the 1940s and 50s in California with beamed ceilings and similar proportions. The “unfinished” insides are a tradition in Northeastern vacation homes going back to the 19th century.

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