From East Hampton to Montauk, our panel of experts breaks down the town that put the East in the East End.
The panelists (from left): James Giugliano, James Merrell, Chris Hall, Ariane Brabant, Adam Miller and Bill Stoecker
Turning their eyes toward the villages and hamlets, this week’s panelists—real estate pros James Giugliano and Bill Stoecker, architect James Merrell, attorney Adam Miller, designer Ariane Brabant and builder Chris Hall—brief us on what sets the tip of the island apart.
Give us a snapshot of the far eastern end. BILL STOECKER: East Hampton is glitzy, the top prices in oceanfront. If you want to get close to the beach, go to Amagansett, especially the Dunes. Montauk is the destination if you want to get away from East Hampton or the crowds.
ARIANE BRABANT: Amagansett is more family-oriented. A lot of people move from the city to live here year-round. They want to expand, because they come from limited spaces. Toward Montauk, it’s more about being chill.
CHRIS HALL: In East Hampton, we’ve seen construction for multigenerational houses. In Montauk, we’ve seen younger couples with children, or young adults moving there. When I was growing up, it was head out there, go surfing, miniature golf, more innocent nighttime fun. Not nightclubs, loud music, the partying that goes on now. It was more subdued—or hidden more.
An inviting modern family compound in Amagansett, built by CP Complete, exudes a relaxed vibe
ADAM MILLER: Montauk was like another world: the change I felt in my persona from being in New York to being in this open air, people being happy, days feeling longer.
JAMES MERRELL: The Montauk landscape is windswept, and historically the houses are more light and experimental. As you move west through the Lanes, there’s this historical village quality. If the scale isn’t handled well, the house becomes controversial.
JAMES GIUGLIANO: Some lots in the Dunes are so small, a two-bedroom looks like a loft in New York City—literally 1,100 square feet. That’s all they could get approved.
Is Montauk really still laid-back? JM: Definitely. You can put all the nightclubs in the world there, but you can’t re-create Montauk. I tell my clients the taxes they pay at closing help maintain the nature of where we are.
CH: There’s always a sense of change. It’s all about your point of reference, when you first experienced Montauk or Amagansett.
JG: The drive into Montauk is one of the most iconic views in the world. You just get a smile on your face.
BS: A lot of people come for two or three days. They get the taste, so they start looking at real estate.
A pool house in Amagansett, constructed by CP Complete
JG: Montauk is weekend warriors.
JM: Amagansett neighborhoods have historical character. That hillside on Cranberry Hole Road, where those old estate buildings are, I wonder what they were like 100 years ago.
AM: Another beauty of East Hampton is the pine forests. Parts of East Hampton are always green. In the snow, it’s quite magical.
BS: One of my favorite areas is Amagansett north, off of Town Lane. It feels like Connecticut.
AB: All it takes is one bike ride to Montauk and back so you can see what the topography is. I’ve done it myself.
There’s a lot of history in the village of Montauk. JG: You don’t realize, until you read about it, how big Montauk was for us strategically back in the day. It was run by the government for 30 years or something.
JM: It had an urban concept when they developed that area, this idea that never quite gelled. I think it was the way the railroad would be part of developments.
Luxe bathroom in a Southampton home listed by Nest Seekers International
The railroad didn’t get to Montauk until 1895. That was the beginning of the summer colonies. JM: Many architectural experiments have been located there. It made a splash internationally when those houses were built.
AB: There’s a strong tendency to minimalism inside the homes in certain areas. I get lots of requests for putting everything into the closets: ‘We don’t want furniture. We want all our storage in the closets, for more spacious living areas.’
AM: It’s also a much more year-round presence. Many of my clients prefer the off-season.
BS: There’s more activity in town. What really pushed it toward more of a year-round community was 9/11. We got a lot of calls afterward. A couple of private schools sprang up that helped the momentum.
CH: Home offices—sometimes two in a house—make staying longer convenient. I’ve sensed an interest in smaller houses, and aging is an issue. A lot of people don’t want to manage larger properties.
JG: The point of coming to the Hamptons is to walk everywhere and enjoy the outside. You can go out to dinner, have a couple drinks and not have to worry—you’re walking back.
CH: When I was a kid, there were still dirt roads, potato farms and things you might see on the North Fork now. It’s evolved into a place that’s shared with everyone. I don’t think it’s a bad thing.
AM: We have to make sure commercial districts can keep up with residential demand. Nobody wants to see empty storefronts—that will drop prices. That’s our challenge over the next decade.
AB: That directly affects the community.
JG: The commercial real estate doesn’t make sense. Some people have $20,000 rents a month. When the season slows, they have to make all their money in four months. If locals don’t support them, the businesses won’t be there for long.
Fashion meets function in a dressing room by California Closets that feels like a personal boutique
Meet the Panelists
ARIANE BRABANT:Design Consultant, California Closets, 619 Hampton Road, Southampton, 631-246-4331, californiaclosets.com JAMES GIUGLIANO: Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, Nest Seekers International, 20 Main St., Southampton, 631-287-9260, nestseekers.com CHRIS HALL: Partner, CP Complete, 3829 Middle Country Road, Calverton, 631-727-5741, cpcomplete.com JAMES MERRELL: Principal, James Merrell Architects, 66 Main St., Sag Harbor, 631-725-9842, jamesmerrellarchitects.com ADAM MILLER: Owner, The Adam Miller Group, 2462 Main St., Suite 7, Bridgehampton, 631-537-1155, adammillergroup.com BILL STOECKER: Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, Town & Country Real Estate, 16 Route 27A, Southampton, 631-324-8080, townandcountryhamptons.com
PANELISTS PHOTO BY ERIC STRIFFLER; AMAGANSETT COMPOUND PHOTO COURTESY OF CP COMPLETE, STACY WICKHAM PHOTOGRAPHY; POOL PHOTO COURTESY OF CP COMPLETE, STACY WICKHAM PHOTOGRAPHY; SOUTHAMPTON BATHROOM PHOTO COURTESY OF NEST SEEKERS; CLOSET PHOTO COURTESY OF CALIFORNIA CLOSETS