written by:
photos by:
March 4, 2009
Originally published in Before & After
Time and Again

 “I can show you what it was…and what it is,” 
Joe Dolce says, delineating the slight, 250-square-foot addition to his Long Island summer home.

Renovation of Henry Bates house in Amagansett, New York, Hamptons

Bates Masi’s renovation and expansion of Harry Bates’s 1967 house in Amagansett, New York, salvaged much of the home’s original cypress decking and incorporated subtle additions to the exterior. Because cypress quickly develops a patina, it was only a matter of weeks before the new facade matched the color of the original wood siding. Photo by Raimund Koch.

Photo by 
1 / 17
The exterior, as seen in the 1970s.
Photo by 
2 / 17
The living room, before renovation.
Photo by 
3 / 17
Dolce sits on a vintage 1950s couch he found at a thrift store in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Dolce and Burnham had the couch and the Donghia armchair recovered in a stain-resistant Sunbrella fabric by Andrew Grossman Upholstery. The Flokati rug was picked up at a thrift store in Florida. Hanging on the wall behind Dolce is a piece of art by British painter Tom Hammick.
Photo by 
4 / 17
The kitchen before renovation.
Photo by 
5 / 17
This sleek kitchen in the renovated Dolce and Burnham Residence hits warm notes with red lacquered cabinetry, cypress woodwork, and a leafy backyard vista.
Photo by 
6 / 17
Harry Bates designed this simple cedar house for a young family in New York in 1967. Forty years later he updated the place for its new owners, Joe Dolce and Jonathan Burnham. The addition of bright red cabinetry in the kitchen introduces a contemporary s
Harry Bates designed this simple cedar house for a young family in New York in 1967. Forty years later he updated the place for its new owners, Joe Dolce and Jonathan Burnham. The addition of bright red cabinetry in the kitchen introduces a contemporary style without losing the rustic, vintage quality of the space. Read the full article here.
Photo by 
7 / 17
8 / 17
9 / 17
A shot of the former spiral staircase.
Photo by 
10 / 17
Dolce sits at the dining-room table in front of the elegantly slatted cypress divider, which separates the living space from the new staircase.
Photo by 
11 / 17
Inside Joe Dolce's cypress-clad house in Amagansett, New York, the office space is situated above the loft and is illuminated by Jielde steel lamps from France, which he collects. <a href="http://www.dwell.com/articles/time-and-again.html">Read the whole
The office space is situated above the loft and is illuminated by Jielde steel lamps from France, which Dolce collects.
Photo by 
12 / 17
A guest bedroom is furnished in a quaintly quirky fashion.
Photo by 
13 / 17
14 / 17
Burnham and Dolce picked up a petite but deep bathtub, which fits perfectly in the modest master bathroom upstairs.
Photo by 
15 / 17
The exterior, shown in a 1970 photograph.
Photo by 
16 / 17
The patio is also equipped with a generous workspace. Bates’s original fenestration, which failed to meet current building code, has been brought up to safety standards by employing the same slatting motif used elsewhere in the house.
Photo by 
17 / 17
Renovation of Henry Bates house in Amagansett, New York, Hamptons

Bates Masi’s renovation and expansion of Harry Bates’s 1967 house in Amagansett, New York, salvaged much of the home’s original cypress decking and incorporated subtle additions to the exterior. Because cypress quickly develops a patina, it was only a matter of weeks before the new facade matched the color of the original wood siding. Photo by Raimund Koch.

Dolce and Burnham Residence

In effect, the 1,400-square-foot house—a simple cypress box elegantly sited on one of the area’s anomalous slopes—is largely unchanged. “We decided to 
expand it a bit but not to alter the footprint,” he says. “The idea was to keep it small and, really, 
we bought the house because we liked it—we didn’t want to change it.”

But even the most well-executed design has trouble withstanding the wear and tear of 40 years; if it didn’t need a change, it certainly needed an update. So Dolce and his partner, Jonathan Burnham, made the most logical decision: They hired the original architect to do the renovation.

Harry Bates designed the house in 1967 for a young family. The modest, light-filled beach home garnered some attention, including coverage in a 
1970 issue of House Beautiful. “I can remember it as  
if it were yesterday,” Bates recalls, “the clients coming into my office—a psychiatrist, a German wife, and two preteenage kids. They must have seen something I’d done. It was a very happy experience for me, very pleasant.”

Bates had worked with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill for many years before leaving to start his own practice, first in New York City in 1963, then in
Long Island in 1980. The house is one of many he designed throughout Long Island. Paul Masi—who served as the project architect for the renovation and who was key in maintaining the integrity 
of the original design—became a partner in Bates’s firmin 1998; he’d worked with Richard Meier for two years after receiving his degree from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.

Dolce and Burnham’s main objective was to 
reorient an awkward staircase that had replaced the original spiral one; it now landed, rather pathetically, in the central portion of the main living area. To open up the room without having to resort to the original space-saving stair, the architects pushed out the south-facing wall five feet, sandwiching a new staircase between the new exterior wall and the line of the old wall. In place of that wall, they inserted a semitransparent slatted divider. This not only refers back to the original structure, it also affords the main living area light from skylights that run along the ceiling above the stairs. This slatted motif is 
carried throughout the interior (into the kitchen) and exterior (with the deck gates and safety railings), making the intervention seem almost endemic.

Reusing material made the update so seamless as
to be invisible, although Dolce will tell you that this almost imperceptible difference belies the cost and time it took to achieve it. The couple’s contractor, Paul Cassidy, reused all 12-inch cypress boards from the old deck and former south-facing wall, carefully stripping and recutting each one to serve as the   predominant building material for the renovation. “There’s a nice character in all the wood that’s here,” explains Masi. “When you’re adding new elements 
it can be hard to maintain that, and by recycling a lot
of it we updated the house but kept it in the same vernacular.” The aged wood provides uniformity to the cypress, which permeates the overall home experience—even down to the sense of smell.

As for structural updates, the architects were able to fit the bulk of their changes within the addition’s compact 250 square feet. The downstairs bathroom, for instance, which both the residents and architect recall as being more like an outhouse than a modern commode, was fully revamped.

“You have no idea what it looked like!” exclaims Dolce. Masi adds, jokingly: “It was a summer house. You know, you’d probably just get in and out as quickly as you could.”

The extra space from the stairway addition allowed for an equally wide, handsome blue sandstone shower. The blue sandstone, which hails from northern New York, is one of three elements the couple chose for their minimal palette. The patio, kitchen, and bathroom run together along an east–west axis, each room bearing a different finish 
of the same blue stone. This allows for a subtle contrast in texture, but it also carries the overall theme throughout the space, making it feel more expansive yet sharply defined. 

They decided to keep the hardwood floors oak but had to add an extra layer on top of the old floor in the living-dining area so that it would lie flush against the new tiling in the kitchen (which was remodeled with Ikea components). This was one of the only “unforeseen expenses” that Dolce recalls—though, he adds positively, they were lucky that 
the disparity was exactly three quarters of an inch, making it a relatively inexpensive fix. When asked about the origin of the racks in the bathroom,   
he chirps, coyly, “Cheap, cheap, cheap…They’re old train luggage racks—found them at a yard sale for $50.” Dolce seems to remember the price and origin of almost every detail in the house.

Additionally, the house’s sliding glass doors were replaced with custom brushed-aluminum sliders, although the frameless glass window—arguably the most distinctive element of Bates’s original design—remains the same. It serves as a simple clerestory to the upper and lower levels of the house. “At a certain point, we started to run out of money,” explains Dolce, “so we put the money into the elements—into the stone, the wood, the glass.” The master bathroom received a simple update and reorientation, which added a new bathtub and fixtures. They also updated the vanity, whose mirror slides to the side, permitting a view into the bedroom. “You have all sorts of possibilities for voyeurism in this house, which is exciting—depending on who your guests are,” Dolce quips. “But usually it’s just my mother.”

Indeed, any slickness in the renovation is mediated by the house’s humble form and materials. As Bates describes it: “It was built at a period when budgets were so low that we couldn’t afford things like entrance halls—I didn’t want to waste the space. The materials are very basic: brick concrete blocks, rough-cut cypress with tongue-and-groove, and shiplapping construction.” When all is said and done, 
the difference isn’t great.

“You know, at the end of it, we looked at the house and we thought, Wow, we spent a lot of money!” 
says Dolce. But, he adds, “None of the details are hidden, and that’s actually what makes it expensive. 
All these seams have to be perfect, and, if they’re not, you’re going to see it.” The mastery of the renovation
is its relative invisibility. The simplicity of the 
program was handled with a slight and embracing hand. In the end, what it is turns out to be exactly what it was: a timeless vision.

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

senses smell products
The nose knows: Though fleeting and immaterial, scent is the lifeblood of Proustian memories, both evoking and imprinting visceral associations.
February 06, 2016
design icon josef frank villa beer vienna
Josef Frank: Against Design, which runs through April 2016 at Vienna’s Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art, is a comprehensive study of the prolific architect, designer, and author.
February 06, 2016
senses sound products
From an alarm to a symphony, audio frequencies hold the power to elicit an emotional call-and-response.
February 06, 2016
Italian Apline home with double-height walls on one facade.
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
February 05, 2016
A built-in sofa with Design Tex upholstery marks the boundary between the two-level addition and the bungalow. Leading up to the master bedroom, a perforated metal staircase, lit from above, casts a Sigmar Polke–like shadow grid on the concrete floor.
From a minimalist Walter Gropius design to a curving sculptural stair, these six stairways run the gamut.
February 05, 2016
distant structure lakeside prefab norway facade stones green roof
Dwell has traveled all over the world, from Tasmania to Indonesia, to report on modern houses.
February 05, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment master bedroom atrium
Get ready for a weekend of rest with these sleepy, little cocoons.
February 05, 2016
lamp show 99 cent plus gallery 0
At Brooklyn's 99¢ Plus gallery, 30 artists and designers re-imagine the lamp in an illuminating light show.
February 04, 2016
Hidden storage stairwell with raw brass hardware
Having ample space to stow items is a daily struggle—peep these modern homes for some ideas on maximizing your square footage.
February 04, 2016
modern fairhaven beach house blackbutt eucalyptus living room Patricia Urquiola sofa
Whether it's along a coast in Australia or the French Alps, wood provides a natural touch in these interiors.
February 04, 2016
Glass and steel sculpture in Printemps store of Paris.
In the Paris' venerable Printemps department store, two Toronto-based firms were tasked with enlivening a new atrium and creating a unique experience for visitors. YabuPushelberg, partnering with UUfie, designed this stunning steel "sail" embedded with vibrant dichroic glass.
February 04, 2016
Monochromatic Master Bedroom in Copenhagen Townhouse
Whether it's to maximize limited light or create a soothing interior, these five projects go white in a big way.
February 04, 2016
EQ3 Assembly quilt by Kenneth LaVallee
The new Assembly collection from EQ3 celebrates up-and-coming figures in Canadian design. Discover this newly appointed class, which debuted at Toronto's Interior Design Show, here.
February 03, 2016
The Greenhouses of Half Moon Bay
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most viral design and architecture shots of the week.
February 03, 2016
Deck of Australian addition to Edwardian home.
A 1,500-square-foot home in Melbourne welcomes a modern black and white kitchen, dining, and living area.
February 03, 2016
open plan concrete home in japan
Embracing the organic, imperfect material, these raw concrete surfaces are a step up from exposed brick.
February 03, 2016
Renovated DC Row House loft space with Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair.
The classic designer's signature and comfortable forms continue to be popular in homes today.
February 03, 2016
Zinc-roofed cabin France.
An architect builds an energy-efficient home near one of France’s most popular pilgrimage sites.
February 03, 2016
1973 Palm Springs home
Made for casual design enthusiasts and Palm Springs connoisseurs alike, Unseen Midcentury Desert Modern offers a peek into 51 buildings—some not open to the public—in that Southern California mecca of modernism. Begun in 2008 by photographer Dan Chavkin, the book is set for release this February 9th and will be available on Amazon and at multiple venues of Modernism Week in Palm Springs, February 11 - 21. Here we preview some of its images.
February 03, 2016
Millennial concept home with an outdoor living area
A concept home aims to reflect the requests of the Millennial market.
February 03, 2016
The two twelve-by-sixteen-foot bedrooms, directly above a comparable pair on the first floor, feature a glass transom that follows the pitch of the roof. “The stair and railings were very simple,” Depardon observes. “We added a bit of design, with panels
Skylights needn't be simple overhead daylighting; sometimes they can truly define a room.
February 03, 2016
Modern small space Rhode Island cottage with landscaping and cedar cladding
Surrounded by nature, these cottages are tranquil retreats from the city.
February 03, 2016
The couple kept original touches, including the arch.
Historic archways belie these contemporary homes with physical reminders of each structure's storied past.
February 03, 2016
modern guesthouse in norway with angular facade and cutaway patio with spruce cladding and ikea chair
These houses make room for nature, not the other way around.
February 02, 2016
Modern kitchen with yellow sectioned walls and monochrome appliances
Whether it's a splash of color or bold strokes, this collection of interiors brightens up these homes.
February 02, 2016
Rust-washed concrete wall in Moscow apartment renovation.
This 590-square-foot apartment was stripped down to admit sunlight and dramatically reveal forgotten surfaces.
February 02, 2016
Nendo's collection of objects inspired by Star Wars
In a galaxy not so far away, Japanese studio Nendo has released a versatile collection of objects inspired by classic Star Wars characters.
February 02, 2016
Monti catered to his mother’s love of cooking by giving her ample storage areas along the 70-foot long walnut wall-slash-cabinet. The refrigerator, kitchen items and other goods easily disappear into the wall when not in use. The nonporous, stain-, scratc
Sometimes the earthy colors and vivid grain of a wood like walnut is all you need to make a space.
February 02, 2016
renovated modern home in Austin interior kitchen
From California to Connecticut, these midcentury interiors still shine through thanks to the careful attention of architects and residents alike.
February 02, 2016
Outdoor dining area at a Saigon home.
A city home honors the local culture with communal outdoor space and reclaimed materials.
February 02, 2016