Montauk has variously been associated with part-time residents such as the playwright Edward Albee, the world’s largest Ponzi scheme operator Bernie Madoff and the artist Andy Warhol. It was a place that the Algonquian speaking Montaukett Native American tribe called home until one Arthur W. Benson (circa 1798 – 1889), the president of the Brooklyn Gas Light company, came along in 1879 and purchased 10,000 acres there for just $151,000 from the American government.
“Land baron” Benson soon after sold half his acreage to the Long Island Rail Road for $600,000 and then set about turfing out the natives and creating a “playground for the rich.” As part of his plan, he ordered the construction of seven “shingle-style” homes that came to form a 100-acre compound for use as a “private hunting and fishing retreat for him and his friends.” They became known as the ‘Seven Sisters’ and one of them is currently for sale through Sotheby’s International Realty.
Designed by Stanford White (1853 – 1906) – a “lauded architect” whom became more famous for being shot and killed by the deranged railroad heir Harry Thaw (1871 – 1947) – the property offered is said to be known as ‘Andrews House.’ It is more commonly listed, however, as 153 Deforest Road and its date of construction has been put at as early as 1879 and as late as 1888. The ‘cottage’ reportedly first belonged to Benson’s friend, a writer and one of the founders of both the bibliographic Grolier Club in Manhattan and the Society of Iconophiles, William Loring Andrews (1837 – 1920).
Remodeled and expanded in 1992 by the well-known Hamptons architect Francis Fleetwood (1946 – 2015) and updated yet again in the 2010s, 153 Deforest Road today extends to some 3,800 square foot in total. The house stands on a plot of 2.3 acres and accommodation includes a sunken living room, dining room, library, 4 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms and a second floor veranda “with mesmerising views that always inspire.”
In 2016, when priced at £14.8 million, Mansion Global remarked: “The property comes with plans for a future expansion by [the renowned classical] architect Allan Greenberg,” but plainly such has made little difference to attracting interest. Four years later, 153 Deforest Road’s asking price has been slashed to ‘just’ £10.4 million and rather strangely its interior colour scheme is entirely in a depressing shade of grey.
The artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel, comedian and talk show host Dick Cavett are amongst others to have lived in ‘Seven Sisters’ houses. One, Tick Hall, was destroyed by a fire in 1997 and then completely rebuilt; what happens to the ‘Andrews House’ remains to be seen.
The Names & Numbers – The Andrews House, 153 Deforest Road, Montauk, New York, NY 11954
July 2019 – It is further reduced to £10.4 million ($12.995 million, €11.9 million or درهمX47.7 million) through Sotheby’s International Realty.
June 2018 – It is reduced to £12 million ($14.995 million, €13.7 million or درهم55.1 million) through Sotheby’s International Realty.
February 2018 – It is relisted for £13 million ($16.25 million, €14.9 million or درهم60 million) with Sotheby’s International Realty.
August 2016 – The house is listed for sale for £14.8 million ($18.5 million, €17 million or درهم67.9 million) with Douglas Elliman.
2012 – 153 Deforest Road is sold to a limited liability company for £5.6 million ($6.995 million, €6.4 million or درهم25.7 million).
1992 – 153 Deforest Road is renovated and remodeled by the Chilean born architect Francis Fleetwood (1946 – 2015) – a man described as a “popular East Hampton, New York–based architect [of] romantic country houses” by Architectural Digest in April 2015. Fleetwood’s well-known clients numbered Lauren Bacall, Calvin Klein and Paul McCartney and of them, he once told The New York Times: “They’d all love to be born into a grand old house that had been handed down through the generations… [And, he added, surely with a grin]… So would I.”
1976 – The ‘Seven Sisters’ – including 153 Deforest Road – and two other neighbouring properties are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Between 1879 and 1888 – 153 Deforest Road was built as a home for the writer and librarian William L. Andrews (1837 – 1920). It formed part of a group of houses known as the ‘Seven Sisters’ and was known as ‘Andrews House.’
1879 – Arthur W. Benson (circa 1798 – 1889) successfully bids $151,000 or the equivalent of £3.2 million today ($4 million, €3.7 million or درهم14.7 million today) for 11,000 acres of land around Montauk in an auction. He then cleverly sold half the land for $600,000 or the equivalent of £12.8 million today ($16 million, €14.7 million or درهم58.8 million today) to the Long Island Rail Road and kept the remainder as his “private playground.” The legitimacy of the ownership of Benson and others of Montauk remains the subject of legal actions by the Montaukett Native Americans to this date.