A Montauk Vacation Home Finds Common Ground With its Natural Surroundings
An NYC family’s Long Island retreat was meant to be an escape. But the original postwar layout didn’t make the most of its location.
It doesn’t take much to describe the allure of Montauk for a family based in New York City. A couple with a young child were attracted to this storied seaside town on Long Island for its clear differences from their daily lives—the trade of crowded sidewalks for ocean views, and cramped quarters for open spaces, for instance—so they planned to buy a vacation home to use as a ready escape. It’s just that the original property they settled on wasn’t easily linked to its relaxing setting.
As part of a beach community that’s stood since the postwar era, the home and its neighboring properties were built with a distant relationship to nature. The area’s “steep topography,” as Paul Masi of Bates Masi + Architects describes it, wasn’t touched, and homes were built around it. This, Masi continues, created a disconnect between “the usual flush relationship between a house and its yard.” And for a modern family, that wouldn’t do. Masi’s main goal was to reconfigure the home so that its indoor spaces had a seamless connection to the outdoors.
“The steep terrain was the main challenge of this project,” Masi says.