BUYERS: Jay-Z and Beyonce
LOCATION: East Hampton, NY
SIZE: (approx.) 12,000 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 7 full and 2 half bathrooms plus guesthouse with 2 bedrooms and 1 bathrooms
YOUR MAMA’S NOTES: Word on the real estate street in the Hamptons, via Behind the Hedges, is that money minting music industry cynosures Jay-Z and Beyoncé dropped $25.925 million on Pond House, a cedar-shingled “cottage” style mansion secreted down a long driveway on 2.1 elevated acres in East Hampton with a postcard-ready tree-framed view of Georgica Pond. The Gatsby-esque main residence measures in at around 12,000-square-feet with five bedrooms and seven full and two half bathrooms and an approximately 1,800-square-foot guesthouse, somewhat unusually positioned in what amounts to the front yard, provides another two bedrooms and one bathroom plus a lounge with vaulted ceiling and fireplace and a marble kitchen with designer stainless steel appliances.
Pretty, private and sumptuously appointed as Pond House may be, it was not, by any means, an easy sell. With more than 200-feet of pond frontage and a long border with a 17.5-acre nature preserve, the idyllic spread first popped up over the summer of 2009 with a preposterously pie-in-the-sky price of $39.5 million. The price was slashed to $34.995 million the following year and then chopped again in early 2012 to $29.995 million. With no takers, the price tag was lowered again over the summer of 2013 to $28.995 million and by the spring of 2016 a new listing broker was brought in and the price dropped its final $28.95 million.
The structure that originally stood on the serenely picturesque property was built over 100 years ago and was designed as an artist’s studio by high-society architect Stanford White. After the property sold in 2005 for $9.5 million it underwent a meticulous and carefully considered not to mention hugely costly transformation and expansion by luxury builder Jeffery Collé who went so far as to pick up and rotate the house 90 degrees so the wall of windows in the living room would face in a more westerly direction with a sunset view over the pond rather than to the north as it was originally sited.
Classic Hamptons architecture and artisanal craftsmanship meets modern-day creature comforts and state of the art technologies like radiant heated floors, geothermal air conditioning and a comprehensive home automation system. Interiors spaces are finished to a painstaking standard with quarter sawn white oak paneling with a hand-applied French chalk finish, hand-pegged Parquet de Versailles floorboards installed by French artisans, museum quality 18th-century Louis XV carved stone fireplaces and patina-matched bathrooms with hand-carved heated limestone and marble bathtubs carved by Italian craftsmen from single blocks of stone.
A relatively unassuming front door, accented with hand-crafted diamond pane leaded glass windows, opens to a grandly proportioned and fully paneled double-height foyer that leads to an even more grand living room with a 30-foot-high coffered ceiling, a two-story wall of windows and French doors, a second floor gallery with custom cast iron railing and not just one but two fireplaces with matching but not quite identical antique mantelpieces. The formal dining room features diamond-pane sash windows and shoulder-height wainscoting, the library is clad in antique black walnut paneling, and a vast great room — culinary kitchen, breakfast area and family room — is lined along two walls with floor-to-ceiling French doors and dominated by a massive carved stone fireplace. Behind the kitchen there’s a catering kitchen and a walk-in pantry; tucked up in to a finished section of the attic on the third floor there’s a bathroom and gigantic room suitable as a home theater, children’s play room or a fitness/yoga studio; and the 4,000-square-foot basement has 10-foot ceilings, a large laundry room and a three car garage.
One en suite guest bedroom is sequestered on the main floor and there are two more en suite family bedrooms on the upper floor along with a junior master suite with private sitting room and walk-in closet. Located in a separate wing of the upper floor, the master suite incorporates a sitting room or office and a roomy bedroom with antique fireplace and white-oak clad vaulted ceiling as well as a sleeping porch, two walk-in closets and a paneled bathroom with his and hers areas and a dry sauna.
A screened porch with reclaimed brick fireplace is a cozy spot to keep from being eaten alive by summertime mosquitoes and the back of the mansion opens through long banks of French doors to a broad, Turkish limestone-paved terrace with an outdoor grilling area and a 45-foot-long infinity edge swimming pool and spa. Beyond and below the elevated terrace and swimming pool, a great sweep of lawn slopes gently towards the pond’s edge.
Though the yacht chartering and private jet flying megastars getaway in the Hamptons is unquestionably grandiose and, by any financial standard, tremendously expensive, it’s real estate child’s play in comparison to the ultra-modern compound they just scooped up last month in Los Angeles for a mind-numbing $88 million. Located on about two hillside acres in a prime pocket of Bel Air, the multi-structure compound comprises six boxy, glass-walled pavilions that together span around 30,000 square feet with a total of 8 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms. Another 10,000-square-feet or so of outdoor living areas includes an outdoor lounge under a cantilevered roof, four outdoor swimming pools, a full-sized basketball court. There’s also a spa and wellness center, garaging for 15-cars and separate staff quarters.
The couple, who preside over a combined net worth the bean counters at Forbes estimate to be in the vicinity of $1.2 billion, also maintains an 8,309-square-foot penthouse in a lower Manhattan’s Tribeca ‘hood purchased in 2004 for $6,850,000.