Lily Pond Lane: A History

Perhaps Martha Stewart's second most famous home, after Turkey Hill, is the one on Lily Pond Lane in East Hampton on New York's Long Island. She bought the home in 1990 after her divorce from Andy Stewart, eager for a new project.

Featured in many issues of her magazines and in her books, Lily Pond Lane, like Turkey Hill, was the inspiration and laboratory for many of Martha's business ventures, such as a line of paint colours and a  furniture collection with Bernhardt called Martha Stewart Signature.

The three-story house sits on just one acre of land, giving Martha a somewhat restricted parcel to work with, when compared to the hundreds of acres she owns elsewhere. Martha completely redesigned the landscape of the property and divided the plot into new outdoor rooms, separated by arbors, hedges, pathways and flower borders.

Built in 1873, the house once belonged to one of East Hampton's most memorable preachers, Reverand Talmage. It stands on the site that used to be called "Divinity Hill" for the many ministers from New York and Brooklyn who stayed at its boarding houses. Old-timers still call Lily Pond the DeWitt Talmage House, named after a longtime summer resident who commissioned extensive renovations to the home in 1893. (Talmage's fiery sermons in the town reportedly attracted as many as 3,000 parishioners on an average Sunday!)

Martha first fell in love with the Hamptons in the early '60s when she would vacation there with her husband. One of her favourite streets in the area, even then, was Lily Pond Lane, known for its stately width and the rows of majestic beech trees that line the street, as well as towering London plane trees and elms. Martha describes her initial attraction to the street she would one day call home:

"I was attracted to its quiet, serene appearance, and though most of the houses were tucked behind privet barriers, some of the gardens were fully exposed. The most wonderful one was on the pond itself. It was breathtaking. I stood and gazed at the profuse and colourful flowers, making mental notes of the types that were blooming so perfectly - dahlias, salvias, asters, daisies and roses."

Thirty years later, Martha had her own home on this lovely street.

Martha has completed an extensive renovation of the shingle-style summer home, which had been badly neglected. She has grown sumptuous gardens of climbing roses around her front porch and big patches of purple hydrangeas. There are over 1,800 tulip bulbs planted on this relatively small lot. The interior features large, open rooms with hardwood floors and big, bright windows. The six bedrooms play host to numerous guests in the summer who have only a few minutes to walk to the local beach. Martha's neighbors here include Billy Joel, Steven Spielberg and Calvin Klein.
The dining room overlooks the back gardens.
Martha's collection of McCoy pottery is elegantly displayed on floating shelves in the dining area of the kitchen.
Gleaming hardwood floors and classical architectural details add a sense of formality to this parlour.


Anonymous said...

I love Lily Pond Lane - it's my 2nd fave of Martha's homes after Turkey Hill. My question is whether she actually lives there as much as she used to, or at all, in fact. She used to be a East Hampton regular, but that was many years ago, before she purchased her Skylands estate, and now her Bedford property, where she spends most of her time. Also, was the kitchen on her old tv show the replica of the kitchen in Lily pond lane? she had two kitchens on the show - one was the duplication of the one in Turkey Hill, and for some reason, I always thought the other one was designed to be like the one in her Hamptons home. Thanks!


No, Martha doesn't spend that much time in the Hamptons these days. Although she does more so in the summer than any other season. But, she still makes it there occasionally.

The TV studio kitchen with the darker wood was based on the Lily Pond kitchen, yes. The one with the lighter wood is the Turkey Hill model.


Anonymous said...

Does she have tennis courts?


She doesn't have tennis courts here. But she does have tennis courts at Bedford and Skylands.

Anonymous said...

what about a gym?

Unknown said...

I was in the home on Lily Pond Lane a few years back and wonder why all the beds lined up on either side of the upper most floor ? Anyone know the history of this house ? Thanks .

Unknown said...

I was in the home on Lily Pond Lane a few years back and wonder why all the beds lined up on either side of the upper most floor ? It reminded me of a hospital room circa 1850! Anyone know the history of this house ? Thanks .