Real Estate Spotlight: Builder and Designer Jeffrey Collé

For more than four decades, Jeffrey Collé has been designing and building some of the most elegant homes on the East End. Following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, he is the consummate craftsman.

Since Collé started his company, JC Construction in 1978, he has been creating homes that blend Old World craftsmanship with modern day luxury. He works with the most skilled carpenters, custom cabinet makers and mill workers exclusively. Every project he creates is custom and precise and no detail is too small for his attention.

In addition, Collé has achieved some of the most extraordinary renovation projects including a 12,000-square-foot penthouse at the renowned Pierre Hotel in New York, the restoration of a 16,000 square-foot estate originally owned by the Gardner family in East Hampton as well as one of his current projects, the revamping of a Stanford White-designed estate in East Hampton’s Georgica Pond neighborhood.

Whether Collé is designing a new home or renovating an old one, his work is superior. Intricate moldings, spectacular wood flooring and unique architectural designs are carefully recreated or renovated to precision.

Q: What is the most rewarding part of designing or updating an older home?
A: “I am the most excited when I can combine beauty and tradition with new technologies for today’s living. I am also passionate about providing the best quality materials and craftsmanship for my clients. Truth is, I fall in love with my homes. It’s actually hard to hand over the keys to the new owners.

Q: What inspires you?
A: I love the challenge of transforming a raw piece of land into a masterpiece – turning it into a home for a family while preserving the beauty of the natural environment.

Q: What did you learn about Stanford White’s Georgica Pond Estate while working on this project?
A: Over the years, I have had the unique opportunity to study the work of great architects by deconstructing their designs, figuring out how they made certain decisions after the fact, and then putting the pieces back together. Much like a chess player tries to understand how a grand master played a game to victory, I begin to think like the architect. What strikes me most about Stanford White is that he used simplicity of design to convey elegance, which is a complicated task for any artist.

Q: What did you try to maintain in the revamping of this historic East Hampton Estate?
A: My challenge was to maintain White’s original “intention” (elegant lines, and traditional concepts) and, at the same time, meet the demands of the modern world.

Q: What modern technology or techniques do you use to create and maintain the integrity of old-world charm in a new home?
A: There is an interesting relationship between old-world craftsmanship and new-world reality, so I am usually guided by two thoughts: design and function. I like to introduce magnificent, stand-out amenities and furnishings into my homes, but only if they support the practical lives of the inhabitants. I consider visual, auditory, and kinesthetic impact when choosing both classic designs and modern technology. If, for example, I find an 18th century Louis XV limestone fireplace, I will immediately envision the family that gathers around it for warmth, or the photos that will rest on it. How does it look in that context? How does it feel? I apply this to all the remarkable materials I use in my homes, from the site selected Carrera marble counter tops to the antique European parquet floors.  Every piece, new or old, has an energy, and that energy is either working with or against life.

Q: What are the key questions you ask your clients when taking on a new project? And what advice do you offer?
A: The most important question I can ask – the question that informs all decisions – is “how do you want to live?” If I can understand how the family lives life, I can build a house around that.

Q: What do you love about working and living in the Hamptons?
A:  Consider it a privilege to work and live in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

See more at www.jeffreycolle.com/pond-house

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