Home Tour | Bridgehampton Beach House by Steven Harris Architects & Rees Roberts + Partners
A sculptural oceanfront home emerges as a natural extension of the landscape on which it’s built.
United by a focus on celebrating each of their projects’ natural context, New York-based architecture practice Steven Harris Architects and interior and landscape design practice Rees Roberts + Partners have taken a dynamic approach to coastal living. Bridgehampton Beach House, consisting of a two-storey house and sculptural pool pavilion, surrenders to the coastal elements by rising out of the dunes and directing its attention to the vast Atlantic Ocean.
The pavilion is crowned by an organically-shaped swimming pool with an underbelly made of plaster, which, in the light of the afternoon sun, turns a beautiful shade of gold on one side. Other weather-resistant materials include Ipe hardwood decking and Grigio Olivo limestone steps.
The front entrance is marked by a sculptural, cast-concrete mural by Mig Perkins.
The home occupies a large, south-facing site on the east end of Long Island, New York, in the city’s most renowned summer destination. “Houses in The Hamptons, especially those by the ocean, can be quite massive and imposing, which is why we spent a lot of time ‘fragmenting’ the house to relate it back down to human scale,” Steven Harris says. “Our focus was on showcasing the coastal landscape rather than competing with it for attention,” he adds.
The main house at the rear of the site and the pavilion at the front of the site were conceived as two separate entities. While sharp, angular lines shape the house, the pavilion echoes the dunes with its sinuous forms. “The contrast between the two structures helps to accentuate the pavilion’s visual impact,” Steven says.
The entry hall doubles as a gallery space for the client’s art collection. The pieces pictured are by Philippe Hiquily (sculpture) and Keltie Ferris (painting).
In keeping with the home’s language of curves, the kitchen features a custom, curved cast-concrete island bench, while the dining space features a custom table made of wood and white gesso finish and a set of Ralph Pucci Mahalo dining chairs.
The pavilion is inspired by the late Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx, whose proclivity for curves earned him global recognition. An organically-shaped reflective pool with an underbelly made of plaster crowns the pavilion, mirroring the ocean that lies just metres away. “The pool helps to collapse the space between the house and the ocean, reinforcing the connection between the two,” Steven says.
Rees reveals that curves, like those expressed by the pavilion, were worked into the entire brief as a tribute to the landscape, stating, “Our clients repeatedly challenged us to explore these organic forms at multiple scales.” Journeying into the main house, we see this manifest in a cast-concrete mural by the front entrance and a large winding stairwell in the entry hall.
South-facing floor-to-ceiling windows with deep overhangs offer expansive views of the landscape while also maximising natural light. The living space features a custom-upholstered Edra On the Rocks sofa, Oscar Niemeyer Alta lounge chair, Studiotwentyseven SSU carved coffee table in walnut, The Invisible Collection Soff floor lamp and a painting by Rodney Graham.
“Our focus was on showcasing the coastal landscape rather than competing with it for attention.”
– Steven Harris
The home’s main living spaces are located on the first floor, to take advantage of the ocean views. “We went against tradition by placing the kitchen, dining and living areas on the upper level. In doing so, though, we have opened these areas up to spectacular panoramic views of the dunes and ocean,” Rees says. This top-heavy distribution is made possible by a series of heroic cantilevered forms, which, when viewed from the outside, pivot around a solid brick mass.
Living by the coast is not without its challenges. “In harsh marine environments, materials are more likely to rust or rot,” Steven says, “and so we had to choose materials that were low maintenance, yet durable.” The plaster that wraps around the underbelly of the pool for example, was chosen for its resistance to heat, wind, salt and sand. Similarly, all the windows are made of marine-grade stainless steel, and the floors are made of durable Grigio Olivo limestone.
Homes by the ocean should embrace its natural beauty and appreciate the unfathomable length of time it has existed before us, as typified by Steven Harris Architects and Rees Roberts + Partners in their design.
This feature originally appeared in est magazine issue 49: Force of Nature.
The line between inside and outside is blurred once again in the bedroom, which features a custom cast-concrete bed frame and matching nightstands designed by Rees Roberts + Partners. Artwork by Volker Huller.
A Rees Roberts + Partners designed outdoor shower made of Danby marble – one of the most naturally durable marbles to exist – with a marine-grade stainless steel shower fixture sits nestled amongst the elements.