A Tour of Leandra’s Mom’s House in Southampton

My mom is sooooo dramatic. She claims she checks Man Repeller at least three times a day, yet when I told her there was interest from the edit team in featuring her summer house in Southampton on MR’s Real Cool Apartments, she had no idea what Real Cool Apartments was. She did not even flinch, as a matter of fact, that I suggested we feature her house in a series about apartments. (I often lament my lack of attention to detail. It is one of the qualities I least like in myself — so much so that not even Haley’s plea to learn to love myself for who I am could eradicate the frustration. If anyone is to blame, it is obviously my mother. But let me not digress.)

After she finally agreed to have her house photographed (she wasn’t even home), she put up a stink about answering the questions. “I’m done with school, I don’t do homework,” she told me, to which I replied, “Just answer them.” What I received in return was the following, which I have dutifully annotated because that’s just the kind of friend — and daughter — I am.

Neighborhood, # of rooms:

Shinnecock in Southampton, 4 bedrooms

Okay, pretty straightforward question receives straightforward answer, that’s fine. Well done, mom.

What do you do?

Live life happily.

Mom, I’m really glad that you’re still reading Gabrielle Bernstein’s book, but the question really meant what do you do professionally. I appreciate your iconoclastic response but we both know you knew why the question was there and yet…live life happily.

How long have you lived here?

We’ve had this house for 20+ years.

Tru. I’ve been coming here since I was a tiny-ass youth. And one time, I was in a Razor scooter race with my brother and I fell off of mine and broke four fingers. To this day they crack every single time I bend them. Every time! I can’t believe this wasn’t the answer to:

Tell a story about one thing in your home — couch, photo, plant, anything.

I reupholstered most of my sofas in white and blue colors.

Come on, mom! That’s the story? You REUPHOLSTERED your couches? That’s not even a story; it’s a minute detail that probably could stand to be withheld under most circumstances except a very specific one pertaining to furniture reupholstering. How about the time there was an ant invasion on the white couches in the living room? Or the time we spent a magical week together out there last summer, just you and me, mano a mano, daughter and mother? Or the time you stubbed your toe coming out to the pool and you thought to remedy it with margarine? Or what about that one time we were eating tuna for lunch and you told me you love tuna because it has the least mercury in it out of all the fish in the sea? Man, I love you.

Who do you live with, animals included?

I live with my pets (kids) and husband, but only during the summer months.

Wtvr, I’m not even gonna comment on this one because the truth is, sometimes I feel like my brothers are pets. She’s not wrong.

What do you like about the neighborhood?

Very quiet and serene, peaceful. Located in a cul-de-sac neighborhood.

Can a cul-de-sac be considered a neighborhood?

What about this home?

We bought this house when we had four small kids and it was the perfect summer getaway for us.

Boring answer, no comment.

What’s the worst thing about the home?

Everything is magical about this home (except maintenance and constant upkeep).

She’s right tho — the house is a magical fortress. I know nothing about maintenance, however, so cannot sympathize on that clause, which you will understand more clearly in the passive aggressive response below.

What’s the best?

Memorable summers, family time together, good meals (that I cook with no help whatsoever from Leandra…).


Do you ever work from home and if so, what’s that like? Is it important to you to have a dedicated work space or do you work from bed/the couch?

Most of my work is done in the kitchen.

She should put that on a bumper sticker, no?

What did you think about when decorating? What was the process like? Did you start with one piece and design around that or has it been add-as-you-go?

We started with the basics (beds, couches, coffee tables), and we just kept on adding pieces we loved along the way.

It’s true, they just kept on adding. They like to call it “modern eclectic” but I think it’s more of a hodgepodge of things they like that make very little sense together but still work because fuck you, they’re my parents and everything they do is perfect.

Did you have an overall vision in mind when you started decorating? What was it and where did you get it from?

We fell in love with the house because it was simple and rustic. We kept on decorating with that in mind.

Fun fact: When they bought it, the entire — and I do mean entire — living room was enveloped in a gigantic American flag. It stayed up because of the dead animal head on one of the walls.

What are your favorite home “scores” and where are they from?

I brought my fave furniture (master bedroom bed, a few antique sofas and coffee tables) from my city apartment.

You might be wondering what she did for the furniture in the city, right? For example, where did she sleep if her master bedroom bed was transported to Southampton? Where did she drink coffee if there were no coffee tables? I could answer but I would rather let your imagination do what it wants.

What about this home makes you feel like it’s a getaway? 

I feel I am worlds away from the city when I am in this home. It has such positive energy that it relaxes me the moment I enter.


For someone young and low on money and trying to nest, what are your top three tips for finding/buying for the home?

Find a fixer-upper, a good size property, a good neighborhood but not over-the-top.

??? You do not need to find a “good size property,” don’t listen to her.

What about a total amateur in putting a room together — any tips?

What does your dream room look like?

^^^ Guess she didn’t like those questions. Sorry! Bye!

What’s the one thing every home should have?

Every home should have a beautiful outdoor space to sit in and sip wine while enjoying the outdoors…after all, we are out east to enjoy nature.

I quit.

Photos by Genevieve L. Garruppo; Follow Genevieve on Instagram @garruppo.

Leandra M. Cohen

Leandra M. Cohen is the founder of Man Repeller.

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