Real Realty

Rocco Lettieri: The Maestro Of The Hamptons Modern

Rocco Lettieri. Independent/Greg Kessler

As a leader in the community, Lettieri is known as an expert of the ins and outs that are unique to the East End’s landscape, particularly for modern building. He lends his high-end aesthetic from years of traditional building to his now more complex building of modern masterpieces; executing his clients’ visions with his decades of experience, leading to a relationship of trust and eye-popping results. We caught up with Lettieri to learn more about his vision for his own brand of Hamptons building.

Your work is stunning. How did you become a builder?

Thank you, I really appreciate that, as the quality of my work is so important to me. My father was a builder and through the family business I learned to appreciate a beautiful aesthetic and developed an interest in architecture. Naturally I got my start working for my family, but I went out on my own pretty early. Once I started developing projects I created my own company and have been working independently ever since.

Do you ever spec build?

I mostly focus on custom homes for my clients, but I will occasionally build a spec house when it’s the right opportunity. I am currently working on a spec project, an oceanfront modern in Bridgehampton with a rooftop pool. It’s pretty incredible.

Do you generally work for the homeowner or do you find yourself bidding on architect projects?

My referrals come both from my personal client network and the architects I work closely with. I enjoy both scenarios because with the homeowners is a personal connection. I work very closely with my clients and enjoy bringing their vision to life. With architects, there is a professional collaboration where we can work together to push the limits of what is possible, which I find really exciting.

Who are some of your favorite architects to work with?

I have had the opportunity to work with the best architects throughout the East End, New York City, and the tri-state area. There is such a concentration of architecture talent working on the East End, which is exciting as a builder. I really enjoy collaborating with the range of amazing architects across their different styles.

Who are some of your favorite interior designers to work with?

My favorite interior designers are those who take a house we build and make it a home for our clients.

Do you have a favorite East End area to build on?

My favorite properties to develop are waterfront properties, and there is so much unique waterfront throughout the East End. It’s that excitement of walking out to the water and having the experience of being in the Hamptons. So for me it’s not one specific place on the East End, but rather achieving that dramatic feeling through our projects.

Your finishes are beautiful. Is your aesthetic part of the design process or do you work with a team to determine best finishes and millwork design?

Thank you. I have been doing this for a very long time, most of my life, and at the start of my career all of the homes we were building were very traditional, finished with complex millwork. So I spent years learning that craft and to this day I am personally very involved in all of the finishes and millwork design on my projects. What is interesting is how much that experience has informed my work in modern homes, which are now nearly 100 percent of my projects.

With modern, there a fewer details, so those details actually become more important and more complex. I took everything I learned and honed working on traditional homes and use that to take modern homes to the next level. We are now coming up with new finishes for modern homes, often doing things for the first time, to create new custom details.

Are you personally at the sites daily? Can you tell us about your team?

Yes, I am a very hands-on builder. I am the owner and operator of my business and I am responsible for everything that happens on my job sites. I am there on a daily basis and that’s what separates me. Where I gain respect from my clients is that I treat their projects like they are my own home.

How do you incorporate green building into your work?

I have been pushing toward more green building practices for over a decade. Back in 2007 I worked to develop a project on a renewable energy farm that incorporated solar, wind, and geothermal, but unfortunately it never came to fruition. Through that experience I became very well-versed in green building and always work to educate my clients on these options and incorporate them into our projects.

Have you noticed any trends in building that you’re excited about?

The biggest trend is the rebirth of architecture in the Hamptons. We are seeing creative and personal expression through architecture. Projects are pushing the limits of structure, engineering, renewable energy, materials, and finishes to taking everything to the next level. It’s exciting.

You build in NYC as well as on the East End. Do you have an office there? How do architects and homeowners find you?

I do projects in NYC, mostly for other developers, helping them with their residential projects. I will go into NYC as an owner’s representative, looking out for the developer’s and/or owner’s best interest, my work in NYC is all referral-based.

What do you do for fun when you’re not building these beautiful homes?

My wife Colette and two young daughters, Lexi and Sloane, keep me busy and entertained. In the winter we ski in Vermont and in the summer we swim and take our boat out. I love to build, so I work on car projects too. I recently restored a 1984 Land Rover Defender and a Mercedes Benz Unimog, those are my passion projects.

Anything to add?

The East End is a fun place to build and live. The combination of the people, the landscape, and the possibilities make it a really compelling place to do this work. I am proud of my relationships and projects in this area, which I have cultivated over several decades. Thank you for giving me a chance to speak about it.

To reach Lettieri or inquire about his work, call 288.4636 or visit www.roccolettieri.com.