Fun in the Sun

It’s summer and it’s time to have fun. You want to entertain, and what better place to do it than at a summer house? Obviously you did your homework and found a fitting area—say, Fire Island or the North Shore or Hamptons—but finding the appropriate setting is only half the battle. Now you have to find the right house. A fun house.

If one can place some faith in the accuracy of Wikipedia, the premise of the “funhouse” began on Coney Island in the early 1900s and contained any number of amusements. In simpler times, fun could be had with spinning floors, towering slides and distorting mirrors, all intended to entertain.

Fast forward a century or so—the hunt for a house with a rolling barrel or steeplechase is unlikely. Though modern substitutions are less circus-like—sorry Pee-wee—they have a broader appeal.

For a short term rental, an in-ground pool may suffice. But for most, such an item is standard and needs to be of the saltwater variety and feature a jacuzzi, waterfall and possibly a bar to get more than a glance.

There was a time when all one really looked for in a summer home—or any home for that matter—was a place to regale, relax and recharge. Now, the amenities on the housing menu are only limited by your budget and the local zoning board, according to Shawn Elliott, president of Shawn Elliott Luxury Homes & Estates. He explained that client requests go well beyond the pool and tennis court combo.

The modern home entertainment center can include, but is not limited to, bowling alleys, media centers, wine cellars, billiard rooms, indoor pools, you name it. Given the ever growing influence of the internet, those features can now be linked to and controlled by your smart phone or tablet. Entertainment supplies can be ordered and delivered without stepping into the supermarket. Perhaps Mr. Clarke was onto something with the HAL 9000?

One wonders why anyone would need to leave the house, unless it was to practice his or her golf game on a personal par-three golf hole or go to the requisite multi-vehicle garage where the collector cars, games and bar are located.

A note to builders: Buyers and otherwise are keen on immediate gratification when it comes to a fun house, and they prefer fully equipped sites to those in need of improvement, unless the location is one of a kind.

conor bly

Conor Bly has been writing about Long Island for the past 14 years covering, well, pretty much everything, from automobiles to zoning regulations. When not writing, much of his time is occupied by looking for that elusive perfect house.