2012 June 29
From The Daily Dan: Mega Watts!
(NEW YORK) If you’re not partying with Montauk’s hippest duo, photog Ben Watts and fashion PR powerhouse Jeanann Williams, you’re not doing the easternmost point of the East End right. Watts, Williams, and their adorable tot, Ruby, host waves of the couple’s creative posse of pals throughout the year at their neighboring duo of properties on East Lake Drive. They’re headed out of town for the month of August per usual, perhaps to visit Ben’s sis, Naomi [Watts], (and these divine beach havens are still up for grabs, last-minute renters!), but not before throwing the epic 10th annual Shark Attack Sounds bash this weekend. Rage on, Montaukettes!
BY ALEXANDRA ILYASHOV
How did you end up in Montauk?
Ben Watts: I’ve been going out here since 1996, and I got a place in 1999. I was looking for a home upstate, but I was never convinced. I put a deposit down on a really beautiful home upstate, but they got a better offer and never cashed in my deposit. I visited Montauk one Memorial Day, and that was sort of it.
Besides the house, why Montauk?
BW: I was continuing on the journey I started when I left London at the age of 16 and headed to Australia, to live on the beaches of Sydney. Out in Montauk, it feels a bit like Wales or the northern beaches of Australia.
And how long have you been a Montauk regular, Jeanann?
Jeanann Williams: Ben introduced me to Montauk five years ago, and I fell in love. Ben and I met at a Gap photography event during New York Fashion Week in 2006, remained friends, and started dating in 2007.
Why the duo of abodes?
JW: We’ve always kept an eye on the neighboring properties of 266 East Lake Drive. An older woman lived next door, and Ben approached her to express interest if she ever moved.
BW: I’m not the best on all occasions, but my neighbors have always tolerated me. Sometimes I play my music loud! The woman before perhaps didn’t have the best hearing, and I didn’t want to risk someone moving in who did.
How many people have you fit on the compound at once?
JW: Too many! We definitely have enough friends, dogs, and kids to fill both houses; it’s fit 20 or more people, I’d say. We’ve been discussing how everyone will fit for the 4th of July, and we’ve decided to use the trampoline as a bed.
What’s your favorite room?
BW: The basement of 266 East Lake Drive! I was with my ex-wife at the time I got that property, and the basement was the only place I was allowed to express my creativity. I turned it into a man cave. At the time, I was still shooting analog film, so there was a dark room. I wallpapered the bathroom with my favorite childhood comic book. When our relationship ended, I grew out of the basement like a weed at the bottom of a garden, spreading throughout the house.
How do the homes differ?
JW: The kids’ house is 266 East Lake Drive, while 270 East Lake Drive is the “sexy house”; they’re mixing drinks, lounging upstairs, and listening to music. Ben and I escape there when we can! It’s like our own version of The Standard. That’s also where we spend the majority of our summer nights, on the wraparound deck watching sunsets.
What does Ruby do out in Montauk?
JW: Ruby’s a total Montauk brat. She loves the pool, and she’s had weekly swimming lessons. She talks to the flowers! And of course, the trampoline.
Old vs. new Montauk: Thoughts?
BW: It’s all for the better! Like the 7-Eleven: they have a Citibank ATM, even! I’m a strong believer in progress. If you want to ignore it, you can, and if you want to embrace it, you can do that, too.
JW: The new has happened so fast. When I first starting coming to Montauk, it was all backyard barbecues. The only places to go were the Shagwong or the Memory or karaoke at The Liar’s Saloon. I like the new Montauk! The more, the merrier.
What’s your favorite old-school spot?
BW: If you want to keep it real, go for a sunset drink at The Montauket.
Where are you headed in August?
JW: We’re not quite sure yet. Last summer we went to St. Barts for a couple weeks, but we’re leaving it open for now. My sister-in-law [Naomi Watts] is in London filming this summer, and Ben’s mother may go to Europe and see her. Whatever we do, we definitely will not be in the city!
What should we expect for this Shark Attack Sounds?
JW: It started very organically out on the beach in Ditch Plains. Then it grew a bit too much and it got moved away from the beach, and it’s been at Rick’s Crabby Cowboy Cafe for the past few years. It’s a gigantic 4th of July party that’s about fun music and getting down, right on a lake; it’s not pretentious and you don’t have to wear all-white. It gets bigger and bigger each year—last year we had 2,000 people, so I have no idea what to expect!
BW: We take you on a musical journey from reggae to dubstep, a little bit of hip-hop and funk, then going into deep, hard, melodic house beats. There’s a big, interactive surprise this year for our 10th anniversary—toys that invite people to interact with the music.
PLUS: This Can All Be Yours! The Stats...
270 East Lake Drive
Nickname: The “sexy” house
Price tag: $25,000 for the month of August
Stats: Three bedrooms, airy loft-esque living room, and modern kitchen with prime lake views. Plus! A wine fridge and extra washer-dryer set (for all those houseguests, of course).
All on deck: The master lair opens up on the lower level’s deck access, while a wraparound deck upstairs is tricked out with a grill and massive dining room table that seats a dozen.
Sprawl status: 1 acre, complete with mature landscaping for ample privacy.
266 East Lake Drive
Nickname: The kids’ house
Price tag: $40,000 for the month of August
Stats: Five bedrooms, four baths
Great grains: Gorgeous, stripe-y reclaimed wood detailing throughout is crafted from the house’s former decks.
Subterranean pursuits: The finished basement and former man cave includes a media and game room.
Sprawl status: 1.5 acres, including a party-ready yard with heated pool, ping-pong table, and an outdoor tub.
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