This waterfront property unfolds in a sequence of views, both revealed and concealed, a kind of Kabuki shadow play that starts at the driveway and snakes down the entire length of the five-acre lot. "It adds to the experience of arrival," says the bachelor client who wanted a peaceful escape. The property lies in an area of modest fishing cottages and salt-water inlets that remains remarkably unspoiled for the Hamptons. "I never built a house from scratch before," admits the client. "In some ways it's very liberating to be master of your own destiny."
A narrow wooden boardwalk leads from the parking area up to and under the house, continues through a thicket of brambles and ends at the beach. All plant materials used in the project were native species and have been orchestrated for maximum effect. Sand has been sculpted into wind-blown mounds.
The main level is a 90-foot slab of glass and steel raised to gain water views and summer breezes. It floats like a bridge, perpendicular to the walkway. Specially fabricated screens of horizontal teak lattice break up the expanse of glass. They serve as brise soleils to block the sun along the south side and provide a modicum of privacy. A staircase is subtly concealed behind another wall of lattice and leads up to the main living area. "I wanted a lot of wood elements," the client says. "I didn't want a cold, modern box."
Inside, the house is furnished with spartan restraint where views of water and wild sunsets are the real decoration. The central living area has been geared for entertaining with freestanding kitchen islands and a seating area clustered around a fireplace. A master bedroom suite lies to the east while guest rooms and a bathroom lie to the west.
There is hardly any distinction between inside and outside. The central living area extends out towards a terrace with a swimming pool that spills over the edge of a retaining wall to make a gently splashing waterfall. In a protected corner beneath the house is a terrace and open-air fireplace that can be used on rainy, blustery days.
"It's not a precious house," says the client. "You just hose it down at the end of the weekend."
Date of completion: 2006