The Hamptons' Hottest Homebuilder Tells Us What Wealthy People Want In Their Mansions

The Hamptons’ many hamlets have been a popular retreat for the wealthy for decades. The summertime months tend to bring well-heeled members of New York City’s “it” crowd, who fill beautiful homes situated along the coast.
But now the work of one homebuilder has the potential to dramatically change the look of Hamptons real estate. Former oil commodities trader Joe Farrell began building mansions in the East End of Long Island in 1996, and the area hasn’t looked the same since.

Blue “Farrell Building” signs seem to pop up everywhere, advertising the multimillion dollar homes with gambrel shingle roofs that have come to be the builder’s trademark.

It’s a takeover so apparent that some have even started referring to the process as “Farrellization,” The New York Times noted last simmer.
Part of the appeal of building with Farrell is the rapid speed with which his company can complete a project. A full-time staff of architects and contractors have established a system that allows them to finish a new mansion in under a year. These homes aren’t cheap, either — before the recession, Farrell typically built huge houses that could sell for up to $US20 million. Now the homes tend to be a bit smaller, averaging in the $US3 million to $US6 million range.

Farrell’s own home is a testament to the luxury living one can find in the Hamptons. Known as the Sandcastle, the 31,000-square-foot home in Bridgehampton comes complete with a slick underground bowling alley, skate ramp, movie theatre, and wine room. Farrell has never had problems finding high-profile summer renters, with Jay-Z and Beyonce reportedly spending $US400,000 to spend a month there in the summer of 2012.

We caught up with Steve Pryzby, vice president of Farrell Building, to find out more about the company.

Business Insider: What do people tend to look for in homes in the Hamptons?

Steve Pryzby: Location, views and proximity to the local beaches are the first items of discussion in the decision process. After that decision is made the home and its design fall into place rather easily but bedroom count and open floor plans play an essential role in creating the ultimate Hamptons getaway.

BI: Are there any features that you would say are typical in a Hamptons home?

SP: Five+ bedrooms with a floor plan that emphasises either the surrounding views or the rear property. Customers expect the “wow factor” and we provide this by designing homes with a grand two-story high foyer which has unobstructed views through the great room overlooking the property as you enter the home.

BI: Have you ever received any crazy requests for a home?
SP: Not really anything far from ordinary. The majority of customers come to us to build a Farrell house based on the design and finishes they saw in other homes we’ve had on the market, and most importantly, the time frame in which we can complete a project.

BI: Who are some of your buyers?

SP: The majority of our buyers are New York City residents with careers in the finance industry while we do have a few celebrities we are currently building for.

BI: How many houses do you typically work on at once?

SP: It is not at all uncommon for us to have 25 to 30 projects going at any point throughout the year. We currently have 35 projects under construction with the capability of handling many more.

Farrell building renderingCourtesy of Farrell BuildingA rendering of a home Farrell will soon start building on Bluff Road in Amagansett.

BI: How was business in 2013? How is it going so far this year?

SP: 2013 was a busy year but 2014 is shaping up to be even busier. We usually see a slight dip in activity around the holidays and month following naturally but it has been an extremely active time in comparison to previous years.

BI: How does it compare to business before the housing crash?

SP: Prices for land are fairly equal to if not surpassing pre-crash prices depending on location which has driven up the end user price, but we’ve been purchasing wisely and offering terrific product in very attractive price ranges. The average size home currently is in the range of 5,000 to 6,000 square feet compared to earlier years where the average was 8,000 to 9,000 square feet.

Jeff Cully of EEFAS shot the video below highlighting some of Farrell’s homes from 2013.

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