- Joe Farrell built a hundred homes in the Hamptons before he started work on the largest project he has ever undertaken, his new 30,000 square-foot home on Halsey Lane in Bridgehampton. The house is for sale for $59.5 million but Farrell is not really interested in moving out just yet.
Builder Joe Farrell. Photo courtesy of Lydia MacLear
The house has a bowling alley, a squash court, a children's playroom complete with a DJ booth, a karaoke stage and a dressing room. You can also climb a rock wall in the basement inching your way up one hand and one foot at a time until you reach the ceiling complete with a specially designed padded floor to cushion your fall should you miss one of the protruding ledges on your way up or way down.
The amiable builder adheres to a 'life is too short' philosophy that is reflected in his no expense spared approach to home construction.You can play a few rounds of virtual golf and skate board on a specially designed indoor half pipe. After that you can relax in a massage room, soak in a hot tub or hit the Jacuzzi and sauna after you work out in the gym. No expense has been spared in creating this full home spa that rivals many professional operations.
Clearly this is no ordinary house but then Farrell is no ordinary builder. The house is a real estate broker's dream as well as a buyer's fantasy come true. Brokers often say the best house to buy is the house a builder builds for himself. That's when no expense is spared and no detail is overlooked as the house approaches state-of-the-art perfection.
The detailing is meticulous right down to the decorative moldings and tile work.
The house has nine bedrooms and 11 and half baths. One of the highlights of the first floor is the 10-seat mini-movie theater complete with interactive seats for family members and guest who tire of watching one of the many flat screen televisions. The walk-in refrigerator makes large scale entertaining easy.
The detailing is meticulous right down to the decorative moldings and tile work. The kitchen is to die for even if all you do is boil water. The pool house befits the 60 by 20 foot heated gunite pool complete with electric pool cover and underwater stereo system. The set up gives new meaning to sitting by the pool on hazy summer days when the ocean is too dangerous and the bay is filled with jellyfish.
The house alas, is no where near the ocean or the bay, a factor that does not seem to deter Farrell or the enthusiastic brokers who want to sell this house as the Farrells get comfortable enough to enjoy a July barbeque or two.
The amiable builder adheres to a 'life is too short' philosophy that is reflected in his no expense spared approach to home construction. "I hired the guy who programs the planes for the King of Saudi Arabia to work on the electronic and computer systems in the house," Farrell recounted. He also hired an architect who worked on the Ritz Carlton in Palm Beach to come in and create the spectacular playroom area in the basement. A 100 man crew worked six days a week for a year-and-a-half to complete the understated manse that sits on an 11.5 acre flag lot in agricultural reserve.
"I wanted to build a house that was equal to the property," Farrell said, pointing to the scarcity of land remaining in Bridgehampton.
"I wanted to build a house that was equal to the property," Farrell said, pointing to the scarcity of land remaining in Bridgehampton where even small building lots are hard to come by.
Rumors that the Jonas Brothers are renting the house this summer are not true according to Farrell who notes he turned down a number way north of $1 million for a summer rental with an option to buy a few weeks ago. "I don't need the money, and I just can't move my family out for the summer like that," Farrell said. The house is available for two weeks of your choice this summer for $495,000.
of the Corcoran Group
is one of the high powered Hamptons brokers involved in the process of selling Farrell's house. He is as enthusiastic about the house as its builder. "There is nothing like in on the market. It is a beautiful home." DePersia said.
The 46-year-old former Wall Streeter who once worked on the commodities exchange explained he had always wanted to be a builder. "I couldn't do it until I was 31. I needed the money to buy land, so I made a lot of money so I could afford to buy land. Then I started building, Farrell said. "I love it. I followed my heart."
Having built his first house in Upper Brookville before entering the Hamptons market in 1996, Farrell now lives as a year-round resident. "I don't like the ocean," he said, "because I live here all year. The wind on the beach is bad in the winter."
Joe Farrell takes a moment out with his family at the beach in Bridgehampton.
"I didn't build this house to sell it," Farrell explained as he described his new home. Completed on May 1, the family moved in shortly after that. The house went on the market a few weeks later as word spread among the real estate community. "They all said there was nothing like this so I put it out there because there was so much interest."
If you Build It, They Will Buy It
According to Farrell, who is no stranger to the high end of the market, you must understand the psychology of the rich and the very rich when you build luxury homes.
"The most important thing to a billionaire is time," Farrell said. "The beauty of my house is that they can move right in. It takes four or five years to build a house like this. These are people who know they are not going to outlive their money. So if they see something they like and they want it, they will buy it."
There's a lot to like. Collectors of fine wine will have plenty of room to store their stash in this house where the open floor plan makes entertaining easy.
There's a lot to like. Collectors of fine wine will have plenty of room to store their stash in this house where the open floor plan makes entertaining easy. Devotes of the Home Shopping Network and other shoppers will love the package room. This is where the Fed-Ex guy and the UPS man can drop off packages without entering the house stowing them safely in a small storage area accessible by its own outside door. The ultra sophisticated Crestron automation system will shoot you an email when a package is delivered just so you know what's going on at the house while you are out at the beach or in the city.
The 2,800 square foot master suite on the second floor is a perfect retreat when you tire of the seductively paneled library on the first floor. You can sit upstairs and watch the impressive train set, the kind that bedazzles hobbyists who spend hours in their basements playing with their railroad cars, miniature houses, depots, trees and assorted street props that populate a miniature city, on television in the living room if the luxurious basement bores you or you want to join the rest of the family as they huddle around the fire. Control the lights and temperature in the house from a computerized touch pad on the walls in most of the rooms. ( "The house is too big to have to go walking from room to room to turn off all the lights," Farrell said.)
"I only work with the best and the smartest brokers," Farrell said. He is not worried about selling it. "I wanted to build a beautiful house for my family. I enjoy the bowling alley. We had eight couples over for dinner the other night and we went bowling. I love to play squash. I don't drink or go to bars. I stay home. These are all the things I wanted to have in a house."
Gary DePersia, a superstar broker at the Corcoran Group is representing the property for Farrell along with a handful of other brokers selected by Farrell. DePersia is as enthusiatic about the property as its owner-builder. "There is nothing like this in the Hamptons," DePersia said and this high-end broker has seen it all over the years. "The property is great, and the house has all the amenities
and then some."
The luxury home has its own two lane bowling alley, along with an elaborate playroom and Karoke theater.
The secret to his success as a builder? "I get the best guys, I pay them right away and they work for me. I am the fastest payer in the industry," Farrell surmised. Normally a house the size and scale of Farrell's new digs would take a crew at least three to four years to complete. "I am a type "A" builder. I get it done," he said. Farrell broke ground on Halsey Lane on Nov. 1, 2007.
"I love being a builder," Farrell, the man who followed his heart to success, says with contentment. No job is to big or too small for Farrell Construction which recently completed a 2,400 square-foot house in Southold. That's on the North Fork. "I'll do anything reasonable," said the man who loves to build houses. "You get a great sense of accomplishment when you finish building a house."