SELLER: Ross Bleckner
LOCATION: Sagaponack, NY
SIZE: 4 acres, 4 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: It was just yesterday that Your Mama learned that a-list abstract expressionist artist Ross Bleckner had re-listed his bucolic and legendary compound in the Hamptons with a $15,000,000 price tag. We first heard word from our tireless and much-appreciated aide de camp Hot Chocolate but, before we could sing a single stanza of Yankee Doodle Dandy, those ever-industrious kids at Curbed had done chawed that bone.* C’est la vie in the increasingly crowded and cut-throat world of (celebrity) property gossip, right? Onward we push anyways. Okay?
Mister Bleckner’s comely compound sits about equidistant between the swank, boutique-filled East Hampton and Southampton communities and spans about four, L-shaped acres located just a gloriously short stroll (or roll) to the sand in the bare-footed and beyond beautiful but ego-bruisingly expensive beach side enclave of Sagaponack.
The estate’s main house was, quite famously, the long-time home of fey and fantastic and fantastically fey writer/social chronicler Truman Capote who owned the property for nearly 25 years before he went to meet his Great Editor in the Sky in 1984. Mister Capote (Breakfast at Tiffany’s) is said to have put the finishing touches on his phenomenal, genre pioneering true crime novel In Cold Blood while living here. This property is, for many artists and writers, hallowed ground.
In 2002, Architectural Digest published a delightful collection photographs of the Mister Capote and his simple, contemporary, custom-built cottage. We imagine, natch, the interview and photos were done years earlier since, as just mentioned, Mister Capote, may he rest in peace, had met his maker 18 years earlier.
Anyhoo, Mister Capote bequeathed the property to his long-time man-friend companion, writer Jack Dunphy, who passed it to the Nature Conservancy upon his death in 1992. Mister Bleckner purchased it the following year for—we suggest the real estate weak-willed snatch up a nerve pill—$800,000. That’s right, children: eight hundred thousand dollars. That is, of course, an unimaginable amount of money for minimum wage workers and middle class earners alike but—all things real estate being relative to their locations—it was a downright enviable and fractional pittance of its current value. Mister Bleckner certainly did his pocket book a favor when he put this piece of Hamptons heaven into his property portfolio, didn’t he?
Current listing information shows the beach-close compound has four legal buildings with a total of four bedrooms and 4 bathrooms in about 3,500 square feet of interior living space.
As best as Your Mama can figure from a careful reading of current listing information, the recently expanded ocean view main house—approximately 2,000 square foot with a crisply rustic and warmly austere day-core—has two bedrooms and two bathrooms. A wee, achingly sweet cedar shingled guest cottage has two more bedrooms and one more bathroom and a detached, 1,900 square foot, clerestory windowed art studio claims, we unscientifically deduce, the fourth and final bathroom.
The compound’s gorgeous grounds have that painstaking and perfectly un-fussed look that makes the Hamptons so damn dreamy. They are, people, they’re dee-voon. To be sure, the Hamptoons are hardly a douche bag free zone and the traffic alone can be enough to make you slit your wrists on a sunny Saturday in August. Plus—let’s get real for a moment, shall we—it’s downright preposterous that any person—no matter how rich or gauche—would ever pay $100 bucks for a single pound of unbelievably delicious lobster salad from that little gourmet shop in “downtown” Sagaponack. (All you Hamptonites know exactly where we mean.) But, children, as Your Mama lives, breathes and drinks gin and tonics like water, they are absolutely spectacular. They really are.
Anyhoo, towering hedges line the long driveway and curve and bend to define various outdoor “rooms.” The “room” just behind the main house holds the rectangular swimming pool dropped effortlessly into a broad swathe of very green lawn. On the other side of the main house, the west side, another broad expanse of lawn unrolls towards the beach. At the far end an abrupt cut in the dense foliage marks the entrance to the long, curving outdoor hallway that connects main house to Mister Bleckner’s art studio.
Imagine for a moment that this might be your commute to work, as it is for Mister Bleckner when he is in residence in Sagaponack. Gone are the blaring horns and all those hazardous moe-rons who are too cheap to buy themselves a goddamn Bluetooth device. In their place, lucky Mister Bleckner hears the sound of the distant surf and the rustle of the salty sea breeze as is skitters smoothly through the reeds. Maybe there are birds chirping and unseen swarms of crickets doing their high-pitched buzzing-thing too. There be birds chirping, right? Whatever there is, we’ll take us an extra dollop of that daily during the summer, thank you very much.
This is not, as it turns out, Mister Bleckner’s first time to ride this particular real estate merry-go-round. In 2008, he had the property listed at $14,600,000, almost ten percent less than its current price tag.
The Old-School Hamptons-lover that Your Mama is hopes the next owner will maintain the modesty of the property. However, without any special stipulations laid forth for the preservation of the property—which there may or may not be—the cynic in Your Mama thinks a hot-shot spec mansion builder could easily swoop in, buy it and bulldoze this beeotch to make way for a 20,000 square foot shingled “cottage” with a bowling alley in the basement and a $35,000,000 price tag.
Knock on wood, child.
*This is a recurrent theme today. We also first learned from Hot Chocolate that Susan Soros, the ex-wife of billionaire George Soros, put her New York City apartment on the market at $50 million before we figured out that the New York Times was already on that real estate nugget like white on rice.
listing photos: Sotheby’s International Realty