Both North Fork millionaires who want to live harmoniously with their neighbors and residents who resent those millionaires’ McMansions as blots on the landscape should view the “North Fork Homes” developed by the Three Pillars Group with keen interest. The homes offer the square footage and interior amenities of luxury homes without the jarring exteriors that often alienate neighbors. Three Pillars’ first home, called “Pure,” debuted last Thursday with a party for Josh Horton, new senior manager for The Corcoran Group on the North Fork and Shelter Island.
Three Pillars is Smithtown-based real estate development firm begun by principals Carlo Argila, Edwin Cadamartori and Hugo Cano. The Smithtown firm is designing and building upscale spec houses they call “North Fork Homes.” The developers design and construct upscale spec houses based on their own observations of the area and inspired by Mary Ann Spencer’s book “Barns of the North Fork.”
“We tried to find that balance that combines a hip style with the agrarian style of the North Fork,” said Mr. Cadamartori.
The idea behind the homes is to build something that fits in with the North Fork‘s rural character but has a sophisticated urban appeal. Each house has its own identity. A short column on the left side of the driveway states the home’s name and bears the company’s logo: three rectangular pillars in three shades of brown.
“We brand the homes, because for us it was like, you can buy a $2 pen or a $50,000 car and they have logos. How come people are buying $500,000 homes or $10 million and they have no logo on them or brand identity for them,” said Mr. Argila.
The 5,100-square-foot “Pure” house has a barnlike whitewashed exterior and a primarily pale, open, modern interior. Though pairing a traditional barn and modern interior may sound like a jarring juxtaposition in print, it’s harmoniously congruous in person. The simplicity of the different styles makes them compatible and the exterior’s warm wood radiating through the cool white stain prepares a visitor for the union of warm hardwood floors and cool steel-toned hardware, fixtures and railings.
The house has an open floor plan that still gives a clear sense of separation between rooms. Warm accent colors — mostly in honey, light brown and deep espresso, echoing the Three Pillars logo — prevent the paleness from feeling sterile. Unique features in?clude an iPod station that pipes music throughout the house, glass railing, digital dimmers, lacquer vanities and a kitchen of Italian design with crystal glass cupboards and a nook that can accommodate a dining set but doesn’t demand it. The house also has a wood-burning fireplace made of stone, glass basins in the bathrooms, a library with built-in shelves, an art gallery passageway and the usual sought-after luxuries of plenty of light and closet space.
Both the front and back of the house offer privacy and one bedroom has a view of the Raphael vineyard. The asking price is $3,000,000.
Mr. Argila said that the house itself and the firm’s teaser sign — “Modern design meets the essence of a barn” — attracted buyers even during construction and that there is waiting list of potential buyers. (The teaser sign was removed once the columns were put in place at the entrance.)
“Design is such an important aspect of our business model. We found, as developers, we need to go in and design a home, build a home from start to finish and then market it,” said Mr. Argila. They don’t show or sell a house before it’s completed, as many other spec builders do, so they can complete the home as they envisioned.
“It’s just fantastic. For the Corcoran customer from the city it’s excellent,” said Lori Feilen of The Corcoran Group in Southold. “This place is resplendent with every luxury you can possibly imagine, and that’s what the trend is in the city.”
All Three Pillars’ North Fork Homes will be represented by Corcoran senior vice president Sheri Winter Clarry. Mr. Argila said they chose Corcoran because of its strong presence both on the North Fork and in New York City. He said Ms. Clarry was a particularly good fit in terms of the homes she sells.
Ms. Clarry said she’d planned a cocktail party for the house’s unveiling and, when Mr. Horton came on board, she thought it would be great to combine the two celebrations.
“I just thought it was such a pretty venue,” she said. “It’s so different, yet really much needed, this style of home on the North Fork.”
Ms. Clarry said Mr. Horton seems like a natural fit for her company because his marketing company worked with a sister company of Corcoran, and he has such a history on the North Fork. (He was supervisor of Southold Town for four years and his family has a long history on the North Fork.)
“It’s an exciting opportunity for me for a lot of reasons,” said Mr. Horton. “It’s an opportunity for me to work in an industry I love in the community I love the most.” He said he’s happy to be working for such a strong brand that has a great team of people.
“This house is fabulous,” he said about the party venue. “To combine the traditional with the contemporary and that much attention to detail on interior and the exterior is a winning combination.”
The developers said that the other houses they’re building are similar in price, square footage and concept. Mr. Argila said their next house, called “Rise,” will probably be on the market within the next four weeks. Mr. Cadamartori said “Rise” has a cozy feel and darker colors. It’s exterior has 150-year-old reclaimed barn siding, and its teaser is “If the North Fork could grow a home.”
Mr. Argila said the firm will open a North Fork office in the next six months or so and build two more homes near “Pure” this year. They hope to build six to eight homes next year and in each of the years that follow.