Shelter Island Retreat

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June 30, 2010

Architect Cary Tamarkin designed his family's summer house for snoozing. “It lends itself to massive relaxing,” he says of the 2,800-square-foot cottage on Shelter Island overlooking Long Island Sound.  “There's lots of napping, and big dinners on the teak tables out on the porch.”

Guest quarters with two bedrooms anchor the home at ground level. Above, a breezeway separates kitchen, dining and living areas from master suite and children’s bedrooms. “Every bedroom gets to sleep to the sound of the waves,” he said. Tamarkin, principal of New York architecture firm Tamarkin Co., used 100-year-old cypress salvaged from the swamps and rivers of Georgia and Florida for its skin and structure. A former shipbuilder crafted its 36-foot-long beams.

The design challenge, Cary said, was to respond to the forces of the site – its sounds, breezes, views and lighting. “It's all about outdoor living,” he explained.  “It's small inside but it was meant to be that way.”

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  Architect and developer Cary Tamarkin designed and built his family’s summer home to face due southwest to capture prevailing breezes all summer long. Courtesy Architects and Artisans.  Photo by: Bart Michiels
    Architect and developer Cary Tamarkin designed and built his family’s summer home to face due southwest to capture prevailing breezes all summer long. Courtesy Architects and Artisans.

    Photo by: Bart Michiels

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  The cottage appears to hover over Shelter Island, cantilevered on all sides on top of a foundation of spread concrete footings above a slight, rolling berm on three-quarters of an acre. Courtesy Architects and Artisans.  Photo by: Bart Michiels
    The cottage appears to hover over Shelter Island, cantilevered on all sides on top of a foundation of spread concrete footings above a slight, rolling berm on three-quarters of an acre. Courtesy Architects and Artisans.

    Photo by: Bart Michiels

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  No air conditioning is required.  Instead, Tamarkin says he plays the house like an instrument – opening windows to take optimal advantage of the breezes straight off the waters of Long Island Sound. Courtesy Architects and Artisans.  Photo by: Bart Michiels
    No air conditioning is required. Instead, Tamarkin says he plays the house like an instrument – opening windows to take optimal advantage of the breezes straight off the waters of Long Island Sound. Courtesy Architects and Artisans.

    Photo by: Bart Michiels

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  The porch is designed for living outdoors all summer long, and for parties and dinners with “a stable of friends who arrive announced and unannounced,” Tamarkin says. Courtesy Architects and Artisans.  Photo by: Bart Michiels
    The porch is designed for living outdoors all summer long, and for parties and dinners with “a stable of friends who arrive announced and unannounced,” Tamarkin says. Courtesy Architects and Artisans.

    Photo by: Bart Michiels

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  The exterior is clad in 100-year-old cypress meticulously crafted for the home by former shipbuilder George Velmachos of Wright and Company. Courtesy Architects and Artisans.  Photo by: Bart Michiels
    The exterior is clad in 100-year-old cypress meticulously crafted for the home by former shipbuilder George Velmachos of Wright and Company. Courtesy Architects and Artisans.

    Photo by: Bart Michiels

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  Looking out to the water, the view peers back to Long Island with the Left Fork on its right, and the Right Fork just opposite. “It’s like a huge harbor with its outstretched arms around you,” Tamarkin says. Courtesy Architects and Artisans.  Photo by: Bart Michiels
    Looking out to the water, the view peers back to Long Island with the Left Fork on its right, and the Right Fork just opposite. “It’s like a huge harbor with its outstretched arms around you,” Tamarkin says. Courtesy Architects and Artisans.

    Photo by: Bart Michiels

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  Inside, the kitchen, dining and living areas are separated by breezeway from the master suite and the children’s bedrooms. “It’s small,” Cary said. “I wanted to design it, but not architect it.” Courtesy Architects and Artisans.  Photo by: Bart Michiels
    Inside, the kitchen, dining and living areas are separated by breezeway from the master suite and the children’s bedrooms. “It’s small,” Cary said. “I wanted to design it, but not architect it.” Courtesy Architects and Artisans.

    Photo by: Bart Michiels

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  The kitchen is simple, functionally serving the needs of a family of four seeking to escape from New York’s Greenwich Village for days and weeks during the summer. Courtesy Architects and Artisans.  Photo by: Bart Michiels
    The kitchen is simple, functionally serving the needs of a family of four seeking to escape from New York’s Greenwich Village for days and weeks during the summer. Courtesy Architects and Artisans.

    Photo by: Bart Michiels

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  Before he built the home, Cary climbed up ladders to ensure that each bedroom would be within earshot of the sound of the waves. Courtesy Architects and Artisans.  Photo by: Bart Michiels
    Before he built the home, Cary climbed up ladders to ensure that each bedroom would be within earshot of the sound of the waves. Courtesy Architects and Artisans.

    Photo by: Bart Michiels

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  Shelter Island is two-and-a-half hours from New York City, and is accessible only by a seven-minute ferry ride – just enough, Cary says, “to free you from the bonds of the city.” Courtesy Architects and Artisans.  Photo by: Bart Michiels
    Shelter Island is two-and-a-half hours from New York City, and is accessible only by a seven-minute ferry ride – just enough, Cary says, “to free you from the bonds of the city.” Courtesy Architects and Artisans.

    Photo by: Bart Michiels

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  The house was conceived as a summer home, to take advantage of the sounds, breezes, views and lighting – even in the shower. Courtesy Architects and Artisans.  Photo by: Bart Michiels
    The house was conceived as a summer home, to take advantage of the sounds, breezes, views and lighting – even in the shower. Courtesy Architects and Artisans.

    Photo by: Bart Michiels

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  Reclaimed and recycled cypress beams measure 16 inches tall, six inches wide and are 36 feet long. Courtesy Architects and Artisans.  Photo by: Bart Michiels
    Reclaimed and recycled cypress beams measure 16 inches tall, six inches wide and are 36 feet long. Courtesy Architects and Artisans.

    Photo by: Bart Michiels

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