Sister Act: Katie Couric's Hamptons Home
At her Hamptons getaway, Katie Couric calls on her landscape-architect sister to open up the house to nature. Plus, view our exclusive image gallery.
photographs by Keith Scott Morton
produced by DJ Carey
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Curb Appeal | Clara Couric Batchelor improved the front entry to her sister Katie Couric’s Hamptons home by repositioning the driveway and adding a series of stepping stones. The sisters in the living room (right); all sweaters are by Magaschoni
Like most people, Katie Couric was drawn to the Hamptons for its magical countryside, glorious light, greenery and incomparable beaches. She already owned a country house in Millbrook, New York, which she had purchased many years ago with her husband, Jay Monahan, who died in 1998, but she realized it was time for a change. “I decided that I’m really a beach person and would go to a house in the Hamptons much more often, especially since I have lots of great friends there,” says Couric, who also envisioned a home where her close-knit family could gather easily and often. “I wanted something casual and relaxed—something without a lot of trees. I didn’t want to be deep in the woods.” Couric also wanted a house that didn’t require a lot of upkeep. “I would be in the house primarily on the weekends, and I’m not exactly Bob Vila!”
Glass Act | This collection of colorful glass bottles (left) belonged to Couric’s late husband, jay Monahan. Just Beachy | The airy, inviting living room (right) features French doors that open to both the sunroom and the yard.
So Couric, who has just completed a five-year run as the anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News, asked her real-estate-broker friend Charlie Esposito to take her house-hunting. They had seen only two houses when Couric spotted a flyer on the backseat of the car with a picture of a house that looked very much like the one she had visualized. “It was a traditional built about 14 years ago,” says Couric. “The rooms were spacious and had lots of sun, and as soon as I walked in I could picture my family being there. Its proximity to town was convenient for my daughters, and it was close enough to the ocean, on a pretty street that wasn’t very busy. It met all the requirements.”
Shore Things | Blue and white, one of Couric’s favorite color combos, anchors the dining room (left), which comfortably fits large groups of family and friends. The shell mirror above the fireplace was created by Couric’s friend Laurie Kittle. Point of View | The enticing view toward the house (right), blanketed by wisteria and hydrangeas.
Even better, the house was in excellent condition; Couric didn’t have to do much more than paint and replace a few doorknobs (the interiors are comfortable and unfussy, thanks to her casual, unrushed collaboration over the past few years with decorator Eric Hughes). The landscaping, however, proved to be a sizable challenge.
Point of View | By removing an old white picket fence and overgrown hydrangeas, plus repositioning a linden tree in a side yard, Batchelor created an unobstructed view from the living room: across the lawn, to the pool and tennis court and the pergola beyond.
Enter Couric’s sister Clara Couric Batchelor, a Harvard-educated, award-winning landscape architect who owns CBA Landscape Architects in suburban Somerville and Brookline, Massachusetts. “Clara’s extraordinarily talented, and I thought this could be a really fun project for us to do together,” says Couric, who had no qualms about hiring her sister for the job. “She’s six years older than I am and very nurturing—I think she enjoyed taking care of me when I was little.” (“Katie was always very entertaining,” Batchelor recalls. “I’m not a big talker, but if you had Katie around you didn’t have to worry about what you were going to say!”)