A Sustainable Mid-Century Beach House

Thanks to a disciplined devotion to mid-century principles of design, a curator’s bachelor pad in the Hamptons is reborn.
Project 
Gansett Lane Residence
Architect 

When architect Nick Martin was hired to rework an art curator’s Hamptons property into a Zen-like getaway from the big city, he took an appropriately holistic view. It’s the beach house that’s got it all: green technology; passive solar design; rich materials; an expansive feeling, despite a petite half-acre corner lot; and a design concept that references its humble beginnings as an off-the-rack kit house.

The primary design gesture is a grid, composed of 10 3/8 -inch modules. These building blocks inform every relative proportion in the home—where the sliding glass doors are set into an exterior wall, the number of windows, and the dimensions of drawers set into a seamless wall of storage—keeping all the various material elements in sync. “The grid is a subconscious thing we are trying to pull off,” explains Martin. “It connects different scales and materials: concrete, steel, glass, white oak.”

The open kitchen is a masterly expression of this visual trickery. Designed to “disappear,” its orderly cabinets and appliances are all clad in the same Forest Stewardship Council–certified pickled white oak—a material that also covers the side storage wall that runs from the food-prep area to the attached living and dining space. The minimalist concrete countertop was fabricated by Get Real Surfaces.

The resident, who often hosts small groups of friends, wanted a low-key arrangement built for entertaining. So Martin designed one very large space that spills over to other rooms at different elevations and connects to the outdoors through sliding glass Loewen doors. While the result is resolutely contemporary, Martin says he aimed for a design that would have been at home in Richard Neutra’s era. “[We made] no special moves or mechanical devices,” he says, “just clean design and a modernist arrangement of objects.” 

Originally published

as 
Rational Expressions

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