New to the real estate market is the home at 320 Majors Path, a site that has a storied history as the Southampton Riding & Hunt Club, and more recently, as one of the Hampton’s premier estates.
Originally built in the 1920s, what is now known as The Rosewood Farm Estate, is sited on 34 acres, transformed from a horse farm where a young Jacqueline Bouvier once rode to an elegant and imaginative home with European flair.
“The property was built at the height of Southampton being a summer colony and this is in the area where people would keep their horses,” said Paul Brennan, who is co-listing the property with fellow Douglas Elliman agents Martha Gundersen and Michaela Keszler. “The main house was rebuilt entirely: It’s a timeless aesthetic.”
The three parcels that, now combined, make up the estate were purchased between 201 and 2013 by the late architect Thierry Despont, a French native who studied architecture at École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, but built his career largely in New York City with such restoration projects as the Statue of Liberty, the Woolworth Building, the Carlyle hotel, the Palm Court at the Plaza and Cartier’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue. Abroad, his projects included restoring the Ritz Paris, Vendôme Column and historic London hotels including Claridge’s, the Beaumont and the Dorchester. Stateside, Bill Gates and Calvin Klein, and Annette and Oscar de la Renta were among his clients. In 2023, Architectural Digest named him to its AD100 Hall of Fame.
But project most close to home—and perhaps his heart—was Rosewood Farm, which he transformed into a sophisticated country compound and then occupied himself.
Paul Goldberger, the architecture critic for the New York Times, wrote in an email that Despont’s Southampton house is “at once a grand estate and a highly personal, intimate residence, where elegance and casualness are in perfect harmony. … every room is a composition that shows Despont’s inventive and cultivated eye. The atmosphere throughout is what I can only call sumptuous restraint. It is like no other property I’ve seen in the Hamptons.”
In addition to his architectural practice, the designer was an accomplished sculptor and watercolorist, and a collector of leather-bound books and antique maps. His personal aesthetic is on display throughout—his eclectic design treatments hanging from walls, adorning windows and ceilings: Everywhere you look, there’s something to see. Brennan says select furnishings, many of which are custom to the space, may be purchased in a separate transaction from the buildings.
The original horse barn is now a 5,536-square-foot home that opens onto a courtyard cobbled with Belgian brick, surrounded by covered verandas doubling as entertaining space and an expansive lawn. The first floor’s 35 x 21-foot great room is flanked by the library and the formal dining room. Beyond the library, a mudroom is adjacent to a full bath, and leads to one of two wings transformed from horse stalls into guest rooms. The south wing contains an office and two ensuite bedrooms of equal size (230 square feet). The north wing has three ensuite bedrooms ranging from 168 to 220 square feet.
The dining room features glass-paned built-in storage and a ceramic-tiled floor that carried over into the adjacent kitchen, which is simply outfitted in country cupboards accented with black iron hardware that offer generous storage and work space. The Viking gas range is commercial grade.
The second floor is devoted to the primary bedroom suite, a wood-paneled loft space with 374 square feet of sleeping space, a wood-burning fireplace, two ensuite baths, a 144-square-foot dressing room, a walk-in closet and multiple other closets for clothing and linens.
The lower level is used for storage and contains the laundry area.
The four-bedroom, three and half baths guest house is 2,115 square feet and located just south of the main house. It is fully independent with its own kitchen outfitted with high-end appliances, eat-in dining, a living room and study, laundry and storage areas.
Completing the living quarters of the compound is a converted stable overlooking the heated gunite infinity pool. Its sliding barn doors open onto a living room, and the building also contains a sauna, steam shower, full bathroom, gym and a bar.
The four-car garage, also constructed in stable- or carriage house style, would be ordinary were it not for the extraordinary second level, which Despont coverted into a workroom / studio. The nearly 1,600-square-foot space runs the entire length of the building, with an exposed-beam ceiling and large windows at one end providing an outlook in the seating area.
Overall, Brennan says, the house is “stunningly curated and doesn’t conform to anything, and that’s what’s beautiful about it. Everything was custom created by the owner, who was a true Renaissance man.
“What we’re all hoping for is to find a buyer who loves it as it is, but also recognizes the potential this property offers. We’d love to be able to say we sold it to someone who loved horses,” he said. The property overlooks 50 acres of agricultural reserve.
Rosewood Farm Estate is in North Sea, a hamlet less than two miles north of Southampton Village. Nearby are Agawam Lake and Park, the Tuckahoe Woods Preserve and the Southampton and the Shinnecock Hills golf clubs. Within three miles are Gin, Cryer and Little Plains beaches. The village is serviced by both the Long Island Railroad and the Hampton Jitney.