The idiom “Rome wasn't built in a day” has more meaning these days for builder Jay G. Jinks, Jr. and architectural/ interior designer Jeani Ziering now that they've spent the last three years of their lives working on perhaps their greatest career achievement-an uber-luxurious 12,500 square-foot ocean-front home in the Hamptons that is oozing with Old World grandeur, yet filled with every conceivable modern amenity.
Designed by Southampton architect Donald Jewell of AR Design Studio, the two-story shingle-style home with wrap-around porches and sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean has eight bedrooms, 15 bathrooms and is reminiscent of a Newport-style summer “cottage,” says Jinks, who entered the home in this year's LIBI Awards (over $15 million category).
From the very first seeds of the design concept to the planning stages and throughout the implementation of the massive project, the owners of this new weekend and summer retreat were intimately involved in the decision process.
“Everything was painstakingly chosen - every piece of custom material, every furnishing, every antique and every work of art," notes the Manhasset-based Ziering, who also wears the hat of vice president of Andre Originals, her family's New Jersey furniture manufacturing company which provided much of the home's handcrafted furnishings.
Ziering remembers scouring bins of antique door knobs and backplates at salvage companies like Olde Good Things in New York City to find “just the right ones” for the home's 83 custom-made interior doors. Some of the hardware was even scavenged from the historic Plaza Hotel.
“The attention to detail was incredible,” she says proudly.
Jinks’ experience in the Armed Forces served him well as he oversaw - with military timing and precision - the more than 50 craftsmen and tradesmen he and the owners assembled to work on the project.
“It was a real team effort,” says the soft-spoken, unassuming builder from Hampton Bays, who cannot speak highly enough of the artistry of Ken Wildes of Joshua & Co., who was commissioned to create Old Masters-style ornamental plaster ceilings for the home's two-story entry foyer and great room. “Each of the ceilings has 5,000 plaster molds, all of which were cast on site.”
Wildes left his home in Newport and spent ten months on-site--lying on his back on scaffolding 24-feet high in the air-to create the intricate trellis, egg- and-dart and other plaster art patterns that now cover the foyer‘s 50-foot by 50-foot ceiling.
While many of the rooms in the house elicit “wows” from visitors, it is this awe-inspiring space, with its golden Venetian plaster walls and white wainscoting, which truly takes one's breath away.
Standing on the caramel-colored stone floor with its three inlaid marble designs, one can ascend the sweeping staircase, which leads to a wrap-around balcony and a small seating area with fireplace on the second floor.
One of the more prolific contractors on the project was Ralph Vinci of DaVinci Designs who for two and a half years loved working closely with the owners to help create this magnificent home. DaVinci's work appears in such photographs as the kitchen, dining room, master bathroom, the library/media room, his and her home offices and all ceiling beams throughout.
To take advantage of the water views, the home was built with the master suite and major gathering areas (kitchen, dining room, great room, media room/ library) on the second floor.
The rooms - elegantly formal with stained glass window accents, antique marble fireplaces and chandeliers and “custom everything” - have a sense of timelessness and intimacy within their grand scale, says Ziering.
The expansive great room, for example, warranted oversized furnishings, including 12-foot sofas, yet still manages to have a Warm and cozy feel. The same can be said of the nearby media room/library room, as well as the dining room, with its beautiful inlaid herringbone floor and custom table from Italy that seats ten.
"The kitchen is a large enough space to accommodate dark Wood cabinetry, but the owner wanted a light and cheery room," says Ziering. In addition to the kitchen cabinetry DaVinci designed & installed rough sawn hemlock ceiling beams to mirror the shape of the rooms palladium window. A pale tuscon gold color scheme was used to match the hues found throughout much of the house.
The second floor master suite was created as a private, self-contained space for the owners, who can luxuriate in their peach French Provincial bedroom, or retreat to a turreted sitting area to read a book or look at the stars through their telescope. The owner can also stay in touch with his business associates from the home office, which features one of his favorite electronic “toys”: a flat-screen television creatively hidden behind a designer frame and art canvases that scroll down to reveal several art masterpieces.
Downstairs, six bedrooms await the arrival of lucky guests. The first floor has a fully equipped gym and a home movie theater designed by DaVinci that would get the ”thumbs up" from any movie critic. DaVinci created beautifully paneled walls with upholstered insets and an elaborate coffered ceiling with layers of carvings accented with gold leaf. A rich velvet curtain hides the movie screen. To add to the authenticity there’s even a mini bar with built in popcorn maker.
Nearby, the “virtual” golf room allows the owner to stand on Astroturf and “play” on some of the world's finest championship golf courses, whose greens are simulated on the floor-to-ceiling screen. After a grueling 18 holes, the owner can relax in the sauna or steam room (the home has two of each).
When they need a breath of fresh air, the owners can climb up to the two hidden roof decks for a birds-eye view of their three-acre property, which comes complete with an infinity pool and spa, moat with bridge, rock garden, fire pit, waterfall detailing, tennis court, and walkway to the beach.
Like all good builders, Jinks is proud of the “behind the scenes” inner workings that serve as the home's heartbeat. With an elevator, high-efficiency gas-fired boilers, a Crestron lighting system, 18 zones of heating, remote control thermostats, 15 zones of radiant floor heating, and closed cell insulation, Jinks says the home was built to be state-of-the-art and energy efficient.
“It may be big, but everyone who walks in his house says it feels like home,” says Jinks.