Real estate dynamo Frances Katzen gives us a glimpse into her dreamy Hamptons hideaway designed by her brother Mark Zeff.
Katzen kicks back on a West Elm couch on the patio.
Prima ballerina-turned-NYC broker Frances Katzen has built a powerhouse team at Douglas Elliman, The Katzen Team, and has become a power player in the industry. So when it came time to reimagine her Hamptons home, the top priority was to create an oasis to escape the hasty pace of her day-to-day. “I didn’t want a McMansion,” Katzen shares. “It was to be an uncomplicated, not-too-perfect bungalow that provided a break from the busy.”
“I said, ‘If I see one more white kitchen, I’m going to have a breakdown because I see so many of them during my showings and at listings.’ We did the opposite and used black,” Katzen shares.
Coincidentally, there’s more than one big-time talent in the family: Frances’ brother Mark Zeff helms his eponymous firm, MARKZEFF, and has worked with the likes of Hilary Swank, Annie Leibovitz and, now, Aman Resorts. Naturally, he took on the job of crafting his sister’s Hamptons haven.
Handstitched leather Capiata chairs from Spain pair with a custom oak MARKZEFF dining table.
“We designed my dream home in a three-year project,” Katzen says. “We maintained the original flora and fauna, like juniper, but cultivated a more natural, laid-back feel with light and shade, and big, open sun moments that shine into the home at all times.” Soothing colors and materials such as wood, cream and metal create a warm aesthetic throughout, and many glass moments, like the double-height glass walls overlooking the pool, blur the line between indoors and outdoors. “I wanted an earthy, grounded, clean look, and nothing over the top or fussy,” Katzen adds. “We completely cut the back of the house with glass, so you can open up all of the sliders, which close onto themselves to open the whole way, and open all the living room and kitchen windows to take in a beautiful view of a protected horse preserve spanning 54 acres.”
In the living room, mid-century and Danish coffee tables and sectionals
The home is beautifully simple and peppered with unique pieces that elevate the space. In the living room, a 12-foot-long table anchors the room. “The living room table and sideboard were shipped on freight from South Africa [Katzen’s native country], where I also bought a stunning silk black rug at an antique shop in Cape Town,” she says. “I got the green zinc sideboard from an apothecary in Franschhoek, and it took eight movers to bring it into the house!”
A one-of-a-kind, handmade antique Moroccan Berber rug in the primary bedroom.
Katzen and Zeff created the ultimate bungalow filled with handpicked selects from across the globe where her family now spends laid-back days unwinding in the living room or hanging out back. “The full-grown avocado tree started as a seed from one of our salads,” Katzen recalls. “The kids love it and have created great memories here.”
A surfboard and large glass doors achieve the beachy aesthetic Katzen desired.
A custom MARKZEFF sink finished with stainless steel sits in front of black wood clapboarding with a pair of windows cut into it.
All of the sliding doors at the back of the home open for the ultimate indoor-outdoor experience.
Village of East Hampton
INTERIOR DESIGN, ARCHITECTURE
Mark Zeff, MARKZEFF
BUILDER, CARPENTER, ELECTRICIAN, PLUMBING
Michael Babarcich, King Construction and Design
Kitchen farm sinks