THE 7TH ANNUAL SOUTHAMPTON HOUSE TOUR
SUMMERS BEST IN SOUTHAMPTON
On Saturday, June 4, 2016, guests of the “7th Annual Southampton House Tour” will have the opportunity to experience extraordinary houses that illustrate Southampton’s unique architectural history - from Colonial days right up to the present. A Champagne Reception hosted by Sant Ambroeus Restaurant follows the tour.
Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Rogers Mansion’s Museum Shop, 17 Meeting House Lane in Southampton, by calling (631) 283-2494 or using PayPal at southamptonhistoricalmuseum.org. On the day of the Tour tickets may be picked-up or purchased as early as 10:00 am at The Thomas Halsey Homestead, 249 South Main Street, Southampton, NY 11952. Ticket Price: $95 in advance, $110 day of tour.
Sites on the tour:
1 Belvedere Cottage
Mocomanto, the storied house on Lake Agawam, takes its name from one of the nine Shinnecock Indians who signed a deed with Southampton’s settlers in the 17th century. It was Frederic Betts, one of the original summer colonists, who named the shingled Victorian in the early 1880s when he acquired a large parcel on the lake and built six cottages, keeping Mocomanto for himself. While traveling in Italy, Mrs. Betts purchased a gondola which she had shipped to Southampton. Every Sunday, poled by the family’s four footmen, the gondola crossed the lake to deliver the lady of the house to morning services at St. Andrew’s Church on the dunes. The house remained in the Betts family until 1969 and subsequent owners have honored its provenance while making improvements. When Peter Tufo purchased the 7,000-square-foot, seven bedroom house in 1980 he and designer Mica Ertegun gave it another sensitive update, adding a heated pool and pool house on the lake and transforming a third-floor servants’ room into a huge guest suite with a vast deck offering ocean views. Beautifully sited on 2.2 acres, Mocomanto is approached by a long, secluded driveway and embraced by a graceful wrap-around porch, making it the quintessential Southampton “cottage.”
2 White House
The historic White House at 159 Main Street, which has had its exterior restored “to within a sixteenth of an inch” of the way it appeared for more than a century, is a reminder of the days when Main Street was lined with family residences. Its preservation by R. Marco Robert is also a tribute to its best known occupant, Captain George White (1819-1893), a fearless whaler who was equally fearless in his fight to preserve public access to Southampton’s beaches. Southampton residents have watched over the past year as the house, dramatically suspended aloft, was given a new foundation. Fifty custom-made windows were installed and soon the house presented itself to Main Street passersby as the familiar, but beautifully refreshed home where Captain White lived most of his life. Inside, the house has been thoroughly updated, making use of repurposed original materials wherever possible. Salvaged beams and other elements of the original house have also been put to use in carefully integrated expansions and outbuildings (a cabana and a garage). In the main house, a small front parlor honors the past while a huge high-ceilinged kitchen is a very 21st-century concept, an inviting place to congregate as well as to cook. Upstairs bedrooms, sun-filled and uncluttered, offer views of the village that are remarkably unchanged in many directions from those that Captain White might have seen through those same windows.
3 Village Jewel
Built circa 1900 for Brigadier General Samuel Escue Tillman, “Sound-o-Sea,” as he called it, survives as one of the village’s most stately residences. A handsome example of the Dutch Colonial Revival Style, it has a beautiful but restrained presence, neither overly large nor excessively fussy. There is a wide front porch supported by paired Doric columns and crowned by a graceful balustrade. Above, a second-floor dormer with a Chippendale-inspired swan-neck pediment provides a unique focal point; below, the wide entry door is flanked by sidelights boasting rare leaded-glass panes. An architectural jewel, the house is also rich in history. General Tillman (1847-1942) was a man of many talents who rose to prominence in an astonishing number of fields. An astronomer, engineer, military educator and career officer in the United States Army, he spent 30 years teaching at the United States Military Academy at West Point. The author of countless articles on a wide variety of subjects, he also wrote influential textbooks on chemistry and geology. And when, in 1917, West Point needed the right man to serve as a wartime superintendent of the Academy, he was recalled from mandatory retirement to take the post. For many years in more recent times the house was occupied by Walter Mann and his family who called it “Mayday” and made it a lively center of summer social activity. Civic-minded and energetic, Mr. Mann was among the founding members of the Southampton Association.
These homeowners wanted to avoid any beach house clichés when they renovated their house from a shore home to a “year-round sanctuary.” Enlisting interior designer Suzanne Friday to create an elegant but comfortable all-year home, they watched with delight as she took their fondness for calm and comforting neutrals and combined them with bold patterns, artwork and beautiful furnishings to create their perfect all-year retreat. Spaces were opened up, windows were rearranged to admit more light, and the flow between spaces was enhanced. The removal of a porch roof gave the master bedroom a view of the pool. Though it was enormous, the master bedroom was ill-proportioned, a flaw Ms. Friday corrected by adding deep closets with mirrored doors and a built-in desk behind a pair of French doors. Throughout the house, a blending of styles contributes to a gentle ambiance that never borders on bland. Colors and textures are mixed and artwork, fresh florals and treasured antiques draw the eye and give spaces their unique character. There is charm, and there is tranquility, and that is exactly the balance the homeowners had hoped to achieve.
5 Dutch Colonial
Nestled deep in the heart of the estate district stands this classic 9,000-square-foot Shingle-Style house. Recently renovated to incorporate the original house within the new design, this family home boasts a two-story living room, an extensive loggia and screened-in porch overlooking a swimming pool. The custom-painted mural in the living room depicts the nearby preserve and was painted by a local artist. A stone’s throw from Taylor’s Creek and within earshot of the surf, the house sits on lushly landscaped property in a quiet neighborhood long favored by summer residents who discovered its charms in the earliest days of the resort. Among the first was Professor Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen, Sr. from whom the road takes its name. Born in Norway and renowned as a scholar—he taught Latin, Greek and German at prestigious American universities—he was multi-lingual and a prolific writer of scholarly articles, fiction and poetry. Best known for his popular fiction, he published 25 books and likely took advantage of the tranquility of his Southampton surroundings during his summer residency to pen more than a few of them.
6 The Thomas Halsey Homestead
Southampton’s oldest home was established in 1648 by Thomas Halsey, one of Southampton’s original settlers. The Halsey family developed a prosperous farm with several generations living in the same building. The property is now owned by the Southampton Historical Museum, which opened the house with authentic furnishings and tools that would have been used by a farm family in 1700. A colonial-style herb garden is located behind the house.
7 St. Andrew’s Dune Church
The church is Long Island’s most picturesque house of worship. Originally built as a life-saving station, it was acquired by a wealthy NYC doctor and donated as a church in 1879. A local carpenter was hired to create its beautiful rustic interior, which is filled with treasures, not the least of which are its eleven Tiffany widows. The church has come under assault from raging seas on several occasions, including in 1938 when it was nearly destroyed by that year’s terrible hurricane. It was lovingly restored and has twice been moved back from the sea. Though it is non-denominational, its summer services are organized under the direction of Southampton’s Episcopal Church.
Photos By: Emma Ballou/Eric Stiffler/John David Rose/Jeff Heatley/Suzanne Caldwel via Southampton Historical Museum