Hamptons homeowners pile on backyard amenities

18 Wainscott Main Street
18 Wainscott Main Street

Back when “the Hamptons” was “the country,” a backyard used to signify potato fields and fireflies. With the march of progress, pools, Jacuzzis and tennis courts became essential outdoor features for high-end Hamptons homes. Now it’s become de rigueur to make the outside of the house nearly indistinguishable (at least in terms of comfort level) from the inside.

Indeed, Hamptonites say that in an acceleration of a trend that’s been going on for some time, new homes are increasingly being built with outdoor living rooms, full outdoor kitchens, screened-in and covered porches — and in some cases even more supersized amenities like wood-burning pizza ovens and spas.

“People want to be outside more. They want to have that kind of experience where the outdoor living and indoor living is connected,” said Jeffrey Collé, a veteran homebuilder in the area.

At 18 Wainscott Main Street in Wainscott, a 6,800-square-foot speculative home currently listed for $8.5 million, Collé included a 3,600-square-foot exterior space — larger than many American homes. It includes two porches, a mahogany deck and a pool house with the option to add an outdoor fireplace — if the four fireplaces inside the house are not enough.
“It’s a menu,” Collé said. “They can pick and choose wherever they want to eat, where they want to play, wherever they want to sit by the fireplace, wherever they want to watch TV.

“Each season people get different, more extravagant ideas,” Collé said.

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The Corcoran Group’s Susan Breitenbach, who is marketing the Wainscott listing, said developers are finally wising up to clients’ desires for more elaborate outdoor spaces. “I tell all these people building for spec that a lot of people love … the outdoor kitchen and outdoor living space,” she said.

Breitenbach is also marketing a $25 million, two-acre East Hampton compound on Further Lane, which includes outdoor pergolas, fireplaces, covered porches, an apple orchard, a 100-foot-long open-air dining table and a gym in a barn.
As with interior spaces, the sky is the limit for the cost of building these exterior spaces.

Ernie Cervi, executive managing director in Corcoran’s Bridgehampton office, said a “nice size” outdoor living room can cost upwards of $200,000.

Collé said he spent roughly $500,000 alone to construct the exterior space on the Wainscott property.

“The outdoor space is now being considered additional square footage to the house,” Cervi said. “You can really take it to a whole other level.”