Way White in Amagansett

I HAVE ALREADY ADMITTED to a queasy fascination with the Novogratzes, ever since that unforgettable New York Times article last spring about their 7th child’s christening, filmed for a reality show that will debut next month on Bravo.

They’re the preternaturally good-looking, made-for-TV couple who parlayed a condemned $400,000 Chelsea row house, bought in 1996, into multiple properties and many millions, along with a Ford modeling contract for the entire family and a slew of branding opportunities. They also have a new decorating book, Downtown Chic, from Rizzoli.

Since that first gut reno, they’ve done 11 more and formed a firm called Sixx Design. I admire the risks they’ve taken (not always successful – some of the properties they hoped to flip are now rented out) and their willingness to invest in fringe areas. Their current home, built on a vacant lot, is a rather strange-looking modern townhouse overlooking the West Side Highway; it’s been on the market since last June for $25 million.

One of their latest design projects, here in Amagansett, is featured in the current issue of Hamptons Cottages and Gardens magazine. The stark, cold look of it doesn’t appeal to me at all, but I am intrigued by how they took on this “poorly built ranch,” ripping out all the interior partitions, replacing sliding doors with French doors, creating a new staircase, and more. And they did it all in two months. on a low budget, using chandeliers from Home Depot and kitchen cabinets from IKEA. You can read the whole article here.

Meanwhile, I was glancing through the table of recent real estate transactions in the East Hampton Press the other day, and top of the list is a property on Lazy Point Road in Amagansett, sold last month for $2.3million to a “J. Novogratz.” The golden couple’s names are Cortney and Robert, and I haven’t seen the coverage such a celebrity sale would surely generate on sites like Curbed Hamptons. It could be someone else altogether, but there’s that Amagansett connection. I wonder…could the Novogratz powerhouse be coming to the East End?

Photos: Matthew Williams

Hamptons Under 500K

[Photos via Hamptons Online]



This past week, the website Hamptons.com canvassed the listings in the under $500,000 bracket.

Of the 23 properties they came up with (a few mobile homes among them), eight are “fairly well-maintained cottages and capes” in East Hampton, my new stomping ground. Some, no doubt, will go to contractors and spec builders eager to tear them down and replace them with something bigger.

Even that 500K figure sounds high to some (it does to me; I paid 320K last May for my c.1950 cottage on 1/2 acre in Springs). Said one broker: “There are people out here who think a half a million dollars is a lot of money for a 1980s ranch that needs work. Prices need to come down more before these houses sell.”

Read the whole thing here.

Anyway, who wants a 1980s ranch? Not I. I did a little of my own MLS research on Hamptons Real Estate Online and turned up something much more to my liking: an old cedar-shingled cottage on 1+ acre.

#46659 is a diamond in the rough, wouldn’t ya know. I quote:

Ready for renovation, this charming c.1900 cottage with barn is situated on a 1.20-acre property in a desirable neighborhood. Living room with fireplace, dining, kitchen, two bedrooms, and one bath. Large free standing barn on the property perfect as a studio. Room for further development. $495,000.

Suckered in once again by pretty real estate lingo. I went to see the house, on Springs Fireplace Road. It’s noisy with a capital N, but more to the point, nothing short of throwing a grenade into the house would do justice to the condition of the interior. It’s a gross-out with a factor of 10 on a scale of 1 to 10. All that said, it’s a sunny, open piece of property and some of the neighbors are upscale. Will it sell? Only time will tell.

Now Domino is Falling!

DOMINO MAGAZINE IS FOLDING, and I am devastated.  Hard on the heels of Cottage Living, my other favorite magazine is ceasing to publish.  Why why why why WHY??!!!???

As if it wasn’t enough to lose Cottage Living, Country Living, O at Home, the infant Blueprint — not to mention HG — now this lively, original, and inspiring magazine, that just made you want to go re-arrange furniture and paint a wall pink, is no more.

I never subscribed, because I just couldn’t wait to receive it in the mail if there was any chance of finding it at a newsstand a day or two earlier.

Domino was fun and and unpretentious — they never shied from IKEA furniture, if it was used well — and they featured mostly old houses, often in Brooklyn. In the February ’09 issue (March ’09 will be the last), there’s a 1930s brick row house in Brussels, Belgium; a gingerbread Victorian in New Orleans; and a couple of L.A. bungalows.

A few months back, irresistibly, they featured Chase Booth’s three-week makeover of a dank ’70s ranch with an acoustical tile ceiling in Columbia County, and made it look GREAT.

Is the economy really THAT bad?

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From today’s mediabistro.com: Conde Nast to Fold Domino (UnBeige)
Conde Nast is folding Domino, the young “Shopping Magazine for Your Home” launched in April of 2005. A final March issue will be published, and Dominomag.com will be shuttered. “This decision … is driven entirely by the economy,” said Conde Nast president and CEO Charles Townsend. BusinessWeek: Domino and the folly of the magazine spin-off. NYO: A spokeswoman said Domino editor Deborah Needleman and publisher Beth Brenner would both leave the company, but that some staff would be given new jobs at Conde Nast. NYP: Though the upscale shelter magazine was a money loser, Newhouse’s decision caught insiders and outsiders by surprise.