Nestled between farmland used by the same two families since the 17th century, Listowel offers a stunning example of a successful collaboration among architects, designers — and clients. Built in 2008, the 12,000 square-foot house on Water Mill’s Mecox Bay was purchased mid-construction, allowing the new owners to strongly influence the final look and feel of the estate.
Renowned local architect Katherine McCoy, whose family has lived on the East End since 1928, pushed the boundaries architecturally while producing a house that feels in step with the Hamptons’ design history. “In so many ways the architecture is classic shingle style, from the rooflines and porches to the double hung windows and French doors,” she says.
The homeowners worked with colorist Donald Kaufman, and all-natural wallpaper designer Victoria Stuart Burke to create a dramatic palette that helps frame the beautiful views, which were maximized by the use of floor-length windows and 10 sets of French doors. A sense of drama is further achieved by the stunning two-story library just inside the front door. Upstairs, all five bedrooms feature cathedral ceilings finished with antique barn siding. Full marble slab bathrooms and a restaurant-grade, stainless steel kitchen create visual interest in different hues. All of the marble was sourced from one quarry located in Danby, Vermont, to ensure consistency with the color and veins throughout multiple rooms.
Landscape architect Quincy Hammond helped facilitate the interplay between interior and exterior by creating an English-inspired landscape. To better facilitate the views, Hammond carried the interior lines of the house outside with a series of framing hedges and pathways, drawing inspiration from Hidcote Manor Garden in Gloucestershire, England.
Sissinghurst Castle in Kent provided a template for a white-flowered garden, and British interior designer David Hicks’ own garden in Oxford inspired the property’s pool situated within the allée of Sycamore trees. The six acres of landscaping feature an orchard of 60-year-old apple trees, a flower cutting garden, and an English rose garden.
The nature path leads down to the waterside, now enhanced by native plants. “The distinct boundary between the manicured landscape and the wild landscape has the effect of accentuating both,” she says.
The property also includes a cottage and art studio, a dock for launching kayaks into the bay, a heated pool, carriage house, and even room for a tennis court. Radiant heating, seven fireplaces, and a large covered porch make Listowel suited for off-season visits. Thrown open in the summer, the house’s multiple sets of French doors allow for seamless indoor/outdoor living.
“I love how every window in the house captures a view like a magnificent painting on the wall,” McCoy says. At Listowel, old world style meets modern conveniences, making for a successful study in contrast. The only problem is figuring out where to look next.
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