When Southampton decided, this fall, to place a limit on the size of all new houses, it settled on twenty thousand square feet, on the ground that that figure represents a reasonable limit, given the big-house norms of the area. At twenty thousand square feet, a house has perhaps ten or eleven bedrooms, a dozen bathrooms, a six-car garage, and maybe, oh, a mini-trading floor for the kids. By comparison, Rennert's house, at forty-two thousand square feet, has twenty-nine bedrooms, thirty-three bathrooms, and two bowling alleys. What the Town of Southampton was saying, in other words, is that twelve bedrooms and one bowling alley is fine, but twenty-nine bedrooms and two bowling alleys is not. Think of the twenty-thousand figure as the community standard—a social consensus—for the maximum size a Hamptons monster home ought to be. With that extra bowling alley and those seventeen additional bedrooms, Rennert just went too far.
It's warming to know that even the insanely stupid rich have problems with associations. Oh, and who is this Ira Rennert to whom a 20,000 square foot home is just too small? Oh, one of those robber barron CEO type people with a penchant for funnelling money into his pocket.