The 11-acre property for sale along Further Lane here cuts a unique figure amid the sprawling estates that line this affluent summer enclave.
Immaculately landscaped, the stucco and ivy-clad residence spans more than 7,000 square feet with 10 bedrooms, a large swimming pool and a sunken grass tennis court tucked neatly out back. If the bedrooms in the main house aren’t enough, the property also includes a two-bedroom pool house and a one-bedroom guest house.
Despite its bountiful amenities, however, what may make the home’s $51.99 million price tag more palatable to prospective buyers is its celebrity pedigree. The 100-year-old house is where Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis spent childhood summers.
Known as Lasata, it was owned by her grandfather, John Vernou Bouvier Jr., whose wife, Maude Sergeant, initially bought the property in the newly fashionable Hamptons in 1925. The property’s name comes from a Native American word for “Place of Peace.”
“Each May the various Bouvier households would move out of their Park Avenue apartments for the summer to East Hampton,” writes historian Sarah Bradford in her book “America’s Queen: The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.” “Maude would transplant her entire household staff to Lasata.”
For young Jackie, and her sister Lee Radziwill, the gilded estate eventually became a coveted retreat from the city. It’s where they learned to ride horseback, with Jackie eventually becoming an accomplished rider and competing at national events.
At 10, Jackie was so moved by her experience at Lasata that she wrote a poem titled “Sea Joy.” In it she writes lyrically of her memories of East Hampton and her summer home, evoking the sense of freedom she felt escaping from New York at the beginning of each June.
“When I go down to the sandy shore I can think of nothing I want more than to live by the booming blue sea,” Jackie wrote, according to Bradford’s book.
The home’s current owners are fashion executive Reed Krakoff and his interior designer wife Delphine. When the couple bought Lasata in 2007, it had not been renovated in decades. With the help of Manhattan architect Mark Ferguson, they revamped the house and grounds with an eye toward maintaining the original look and feel of the Arts and Crafts estate.
“Our first step was to understand, respect and be inspired by the original design vision,” Ferguson says. “The composition of the house, from its exterior silhouette to its interior molding profiles, set the limits and guided what was possible.”
What couldn’t be restored was replaced with period materials. Plaster with metal lath were used instead of drywall. Damaged or worn original floorboards were replaced with reclaimed 200-year-old oak flooring to give the home a vintage feel.
In the living room, walls had been clad in ornate wooden paneling. Yet after some renovation work, oak paneling was discovered underneath, which was eventually restored and preserved.
Despite efforts to retain its period look, contemporary touches run throughout the home.
The ground floor features a modern eat-in kitchen and breakfast nook.
A rare 1970s John Dickinson mirror hangs over a seating area in the living room that includes an 18th-century Jacob Frères marquise chair and Queen Anne wing chairs. The entire living room is outfitted with gray stone tiling.
In the dining room, complete with built-in bookshelves, antique Tiffany light fixtures hang above a midcentury Samuel Marx table with Lucite legs.
“All of the first floor’s decorative lighting is vintage Tiffany,” says Eileen Oneill, one of the listing agents on the property for Douglas Elliman. “This is meant to mix the vintage setting with modern interiors that really spread through the entire residence.”
Outside of the main residence the extensive grounds are formal yet with a clean, contemporary aesthetic.
Southampton-based landscape architect Perry Guillot, who is known for his work on some of the most prominent Hamptons estates, designed the grounds. He says he sought to distill the original layout into something more contemporary.
The front of the home is surrounded by tall, neatly groomed 100-year old linden and cedar trees. The formal gardens include a sculpture by Jean Arp, which gives the setting the air of a stylish retreat. Guillot streamlined the plantings and opened up the far side of the property to create an entry to the lawn and its extensive collection of plants. Long-neglected plantings were brought back to life, including cedar, linden and rhododendron.
“It was originally a Victorian design,” Guillot says. “But we wanted to open up the landscape to create an enhanced modern feel that would also remain in step with its original design.”
Despite its history and opulence, selling a home at the very top of the Hamptons market is proving to be a challenge. After years of sharp growth, sales are slowing with the upper end of the Hamptons market particularly sluggish.
The number of sales over $5 million hit their lowest point in more than three years in the first quarter of this year, according to Douglas Elliman’s first-quarter market report.
There were 27 sales over $5 million in the first three months of 2017, down 12.9 percent year-over-year and reaching the lowest level since the third quarter of 2013, according to appraiser Jonathan Miller, who compiled the quarterly market report for Douglas Elliman.
“Softening at the top has been the case for the past two years,” Miller says. “Some luxury inventories are simply overpriced, but sales are much more robust in the middle and lower end of the Hamptons market.”
While slowing sales is spurring some sellers to slash prices, it has forced brokers for Lasata to get creative.
The property is being listed as three separate parcels: $51.99 million buys the main house, swimming pool and guesthouse on 7.15 acres, which includes the tennis court; $38.995 million buys a 7.15-acre parcel with the main house but without the tennis court; and a roughly 4-acre adjacent parcel (without the residence) containing the sunken grass tennis court is listed for $12.995 million.
The property is listed by three realty firms: Douglas Elliman, Brown Harris Stevens and Corcoran.
“Breaking up the listing makes it much more appealing for some buyers who just want to invest in a piece of the property,” Oneill says. “In the current market that can make all the difference for some buyers.”