When Audrey Gruss was planning her dream house in Southampton, New York, a decade ago, she had one goal in mind: to create a home that looked like it had been around for centuries. “Our biggest compliment was when someone came in and asked us, ‘How long did it take you to renovate?'” recalls Gruss. “We were thrilled.”
A philanthropist and the founder and chairman of the Hope for Depression Research Foundation, which funds scientific research on depression and other emotional disorders, Gruss relocated from nearby East Hampton with her investment-banker husband, Martin. As the house hunting proved challenging, the couple settled on building their own construction on a desirable six-acre lot. The result was a spacious, Shingle-style manse that she describes as “very classical, traditional, with a twist of modern and contemporary on the inside.”
The sprawling estate, with its lush gardens and ample, tree-filled outdoor space, serves as a getaway from Gruss’s day-to-day life in Manhattan, where, for the past 20 years she has also been president of the Audrey and Martin Gruss Foundation, a private organization that focuses on supporting charities related to arts, education, and medical research. Gruss and her husband retreat to the Hamptons for “holidays and leisure time,” particularly in the warmer months and early fall. For this reason, she wanted a home that felt inviting and, most important, calm. “We all live hectic lives, and we all want a place to unwind and just do whatever we want to,” she says. “The Hamptons house gives you an instant feeling of relaxation. It is the ultimate rest from reality.”
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