How One Hamptons Architect/Real Estate Agent Blends Her Passions
With Women's History Month officially underway, now is as good a time as any to recognize and spotlight inspiring female leaders making a positive impact in their communities and beyond.
An accomplished architect and Brown Harris Stevens Agent, Debbie Kropf regularly uses her design expertise to help clients of all kinds, from home buyers and sellers in the Hamptons to customers of her architecture firm, DSK.
An architect of over 30 years, Kropf has designed homes and commercial buildings in California and New York. Her recent work can be seen throughout The Hamptons, where she lives and works.
"Most of my work in the Hamptons has comprised residential renovations, transforming small single-story cottages into large, two-story homes. However, from 2015 – 2019, I had the opportunity to work on Shou Sugi Ban House, from conceptual site plan and building design through construction. It is a destination spa and wellness retreat in Water Mill, just east of the Parrish Art Museum." — Debbie Kropf
Clean and contemporary with hints of classic design and the nostalgic appeal of yesteryear, much of Kropf's work is strongly rooted in the present, with ties to more "retro" trends. "I think architecture is always moving forward while taking references from the past," she said.
Kropf has lived in The Hamptons for over three decades, witnessing firsthand how the area's architectural aesthetic has developed, from tudor and barn-style homes to contemporary seaside estates.
"When I moved to the Hamptons in the 90’s, shingle-style homes with white trim, cedar shingle siding and roofs, and arched windows were popular. Now, there seems to be a variety of styles, including modernized versions of the classic shingle-style, barn-like homes; one local builder has even trademarked the term 'modern barn.'"
Like many, Kropf has noted the continued popularity of mid-century modern design as a leading trend in the Hamptons, which lends itself perfectly to the area's unique architecture. So precious is this style's preservation in the area that local organizations have been formed to uphold it, including hamptons20centurymodern.
When it comes to utilizing her design prowess as a real estate agent, Kropf regularly employs her skills to help clients envision the future of properties. "Most people know why they need something, which may not necessarily translate into what they say they want," she said. "I am able to translate their desires into a three-dimensional structure, either by finding a property that has what they want or the potential to have it. I understand zoning and building codes and can interpret how a property can be developed, either as a renovation or as a new build."
Weighing considerations like these, she noted, are important when assessing a property's potential, both as a home and investment.