May 20, 2015

Ahead Of The Curve With Larry Kane

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He built his first house when he was just 17 years old. "And it's still standing," said Larry Kane with a grin. Designing and building a house while still in high school was impressive, but Kane was already a veteran builder by then.

His mother Nancy designed their home in Springs and his father Jerry, a school teacher, built it. At the tender age of 11, Larry Kane was introduced to the construction industry, and he's never looked back.

A graduate of Sayville High School, Kane studied architecture at Rensselaer. He moved to East Hampton in 1988 and noted, "Every house I've ever built has been in East Hampton." That's more than 100 homes, but there are no cookie cutters here.

Matching the house design to the location is a key Kane characteristic. "I like to be site specific. You don't just plop the same house down from the village to the farm fields to the oceanfront."

His homes are best described as residences between 3500 and 4000 square feet, with an updated traditional style. they're are known for their "big, fancy basements," Kane's wife, Luisa, explained. The basements boast large windows to let natural light in, and often feature huge family rooms, wine cellars, and even home theaters with big screens and lounge chairs.

When it comes to architectural and design trends, "He's always been just a little ahead of the curve," Luisa opined. Kane believes some people are moving towards smaller spaces that still feature top of the line appointments. Case in point: Kane recently sold a 1900 square foot house on an East Hampton Village lane to a family moving down from a 6000 square foot mansion. "They didn't want to maintain it anymore."

But they didn't want to lose the amenities, either. A sensational kitchen benefits from every high-end appliance you can imagine, and is marked by a huge sliding glass door that opens onto a screened-in porch (with a fireplace for chilly nights). Another giant glass door in the living room opens onto the back patio and pool. Each room boasts unique accents, like Kane's signature chandeliers and light fixtures. "You can have a spectacular kitchen in a smaller house. Smaller always meant cheaper, but it doesn't have to be," the builder said.

Visitors walking in to the formal entrance see an open vista, as if the rooms have just three walls. With fireplaces, luxurious bathrooms and classic stonework by the pool, "Nothing is less expensive, it's just smaller . . . This was designed to look like a cottage, but you're amazed by what's inside."

While people may downsize to eliminate the hassle of never-ending maintenance, the expectation from foundation to the roof to the landscaping, is high.

And Kane delivers.

One of his larger homes located adjacent to farm fields in the village employs the same visual effect as the village "cottage." Visitors view a bucolic expanse of nature from just about every room of the house, thanks to the giant sliders. Though the square footage measures in the thousands, "People want cleaner, simpler lines and more of a beach house feel."

Kane enjoys the contrast of creating a home that "looks like a cute little traditional house from the street, but inside it's a modern beach house."

With a trend moving towards simpler lines and low maintenance designs, Kane uses a lot of neutral colors in his houses. He learned "a lot about grey" building a house for a renowned fashion designer.

He learned even more about environmentally sound construction building celebrity chef Bobby Flay's home in Amagansett. It was one of the first GOLD LEEDS-certified residences in East Hampton Town. To attain GOLD LEEDS certification, every aspect of the construction process must be clean, with materials locally-sourced and 90 percent of construction waste recycled.

Figuring out a design, and seeing his vision come to fruition are both rewarding aspects of the profession, Kane acknowledged. But his favorite part? It's being on the jobsite . . . just like when he was a little boy.

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