Call it the battle of the Pinterest boards. “After we got this land, we went off and made our own Pinterest boards and then showed them to each other,” says Joseph Altuzarra, the acclaimed Paris-born, New York–based fashion designer. The project: building a dream getaway with his husband in the middle of protected farmland and at the end of a winding road in the heart of the hamlet of Water Mill in the Hamptons.
“And mine was a black barn; I’m a minimalist,” the husband, real estate developer and financier Seth Weissman, says with a laugh. “These poor architects.”
What could have led to marital discord ended in architectural harmony. “This is the love child of the two,” Weissman says, pointing to the eight-bedroom house the pair and their daughters, two-year old Emma and just-born Charlotte, retreat to from NYC on weekends and during the summer. With the help of Matthias Hollwich, founding principal of HWKN Architecture, Altuzarra got his beloved cedar shingles on a stark five-point roofline, which, at Weissman’s request, doesn’t feature trim, shutters, or gutters.
“We both had very specific visions of the house, and now when I look at it I think some of it feels more like me and some feels more like Seth,” Altuzarra says. “But overall, it really feels like us.”
Altuzarra and Weissman first met at a New York nightclub called Duvet in 2005. “Pre bedbugs,” Weissman deadpans. (As its name suggests, the now defunct lounge’s gimmick was patrons sitting on beds instead of at tables.) It was the year they both graduated from college, Altuzarra from Swarthmore and Weissman from the University of Pennsylvania. They spent early summers together in the Pines on Fire Island, where Weissman was a co-owner of the commercial district. In 2014, they started coming to the Hamptons.
After working for Marc Jacobs and Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy, Altuzarra started his namesake brand in 2008. Julianne Moore and Rihanna were some of his earliest clients, and the label quickly became known for its blend of European polish and classic Americana, with a pinch of French-girl cool. For this year’s Met Gala, he dressed Hillary Clinton, supermodel Precious Lee, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel star Rachel Brosnahan.
A methodical designer who’s known for a specific, organized creative process, Altuzarra prides himself on being fashionably early. Typically, New York designers must work through the second half of summer to prepare for September Fashion Week, but Altuzarra’s studio works several seasons in advance, which allows him to enjoy European hours in the Hamptons for the full summer.
He’s got a real knack for timing. The couple moved into this house in July 2019, long before many New Yorkers flocked out of town during COVID-19’s lockdown. (Weissman says it became a satellite Altuzarra studio in the summer of 2020.) “The first time we stayed in the house was on the Fourth of July weekend. All of our furniture hadn’t arrived, and I remember ordering pizza and pasta and having a picnic in the living room,” Altuzarra says. “Seth and I were pinching ourselves all weekend and couldn’t believe this was really our house.”
Thanks to interior designer Josh Greene, the pizza boxes are now gone and the furniture is in, with the result that this is Altuzarra’s favorite room. “I had a vision for a pink-hued living room from the very beginning,” Altuzarra says, referring to the modernist Dmitriy & Co. sofa in a blush pink Schumacher fabric sitting like a jewel within the space. “I love all the different tones of pink, the roundness of the furniture, all of the different textures. And I love the fireplace. I lie in front of the fireplace every night with a book, whether it’s summer or winter.”
Altuzarra’s second-floor office becomes headquarters when he’s sketching future collections, often with other members of his all-female design team. Weissman’s office is a floor below. “I like to sit at the kitchen table,” he explains. “I like to be near food at all times.” (They admit that the formal dining room is the least used room in the house.)
Karen Altuzarra, Joseph’s mother, is a frequent houseguest. She is the chairperson of the Altuzarra company board and likes to stay close to her granddaughters. Her largest contribution to the property was a planting garden. It includes blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, peppers, and kale. The rest of the garden was designed by Summerhill Landscapes with consulting by Studio Lily Kwong. (Kwong is Altuzarra’s cousin and a sometimes muse for the brand.)
The family spends a lot of time in a Belgian-linen-wrapped den that is flush with neutral colors, which they admit isn’t ideal for a two-year-old. “All of our friends ask, ‘Are you insane?’” Weissman says, pointing out the long cream-colored sectional sofa from RH and the plush white Moroccan rug.
Altuzarra points out two chairs covered in a bulbous shearling that he sourced from textile mills he often collaborates with for his fashion brand. Was there any creative crossover between his career in fashion and the house’s interiors? “For either design process, you need to have a clear vision of what you want and be able to express that vision,” he says. “Both practices are about expressing a mood or feeling through design, whether it’s designing a dress that makes you feel confident and powerful, or designing a room that makes you feel serene and calm.” He credits the decor in this house to a lot of the insights he’s gleaned from creating Altuzarra retail outposts.
Even as the family grows, the couple won’t be asking anyone to make mood boards on Pinterest again. To get Emma excited about moving into a bigger bedroom, they told her she could decorate it. “We said she could pick the wallpaper,” Weissman says with a smile, “but then Joseph gave her three preapproved choices to pick from.”