How to Help Your Hamptons Home Stand Out from the Crowd

Walking my golden retriever Oliver around the neighborhood yesterday I was delighted to see the painters and decorators out in force sprucing up houses, fences, sheds and garages in the late afternoon glow of Fall. Such clear air and vibrant colors as the leaves prepare to descend.

Whether you are just getting ready for Winter or for an excursion into the real estate market, September and October are great months to give loving attention to the exterior of your Hamptons home.

A good exterior paint job, well prepared before painting, will last up to ten years. Stains need more frequent applications. Always use latex on latex, or oil over oil to ensure the paint takes effectively. Oil based exterior paints used to be the gold standard but the flexibility of latex throughout the seasons, and the ease of clean up, have made it the decorator’s favorite these days. One gallon will cover 350 to 400 square feet and most jobs require one coat of primer and two top coats. Choose a satin finish rather than flat for wood siding…far more attractive and durable.

The beautiful Hamptons home above belongs to Katie Couric and was featured in Cottages & Gardens last year. The exquisite soft blue is most appealing, and sits perfectly within her sister Clare’s landscaping. Quite a bold move to use color amongst the Hamptons traditional grays and browns but the home looks lovely and sits well.

Less drastic than changing or upgrading the painted exterior of your home is addressing the front door; your gateway to the world and the face you present to visitors, passers-by and prospective buyers. My first piece of advice is to get rid of the screen door, my pet hate as the realtors who hire me for staging will tell you – especially if you have your pride and joy on the market. Although they certainly have their practical uses these doors are cumbersome, often ugly and make it difficult for visitors to enter the home with ease.

We couldn’t remove the screen door of the little house shown here as it was one piece with the surround but we did paint the front door a high gloss rich dark green and added some shiny brass features. This home had been on the market for over a year but sold within three months of the makeover.

Front doors and entrance ways are so important. They have to feel uncluttered yet inviting so that the occupants can exhale on their return home, and so that buyers can imagine themselves happily living there. The color and finish of the door is critical.

From a feng shui perspective red is always good, prosperity and good energy lie within. The occupants have character and zest for life. Green implies ‘you are welcome here’ and brings balance, harmony and renewal, dark green stability and wisdom. A good high gloss black can’t be beaten though…success and advancement, especially good if the home faces North.

The home above, with the glorious black front door, was featured in Martha Stewart’s Living.

To replicate try using Benjamin Moore’s ‘Grand Entrance’ fine european door and trim enamel. It comes in quart sized pots to cover interior and exterior surface plus surrounding trim at $44 per quart. It uses a low VOC waterborne alkyd resin technology so is more eco-friendly than most.

Another european style paint is manufactured by Diamond Vogel of Orange City, Iowa. They will ship directly to you if there is no distributor close by. They offer a black hi-gloss in their Cote-All range which works extremely well.

One last thing, while you are in the painting frame of mind, help your Hamptons home stand out from the rest by giving it a name and putting a little sign up. Writer Frances Schulz of East Hampton did…


Helen Lind is an interior decorator, organizer and home stager working in Long Island and Manhattan. You can contact her at (516) 922-3518 for a proposal or consultation, or visit her

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