A Gorgeous Refuge Treads Lightly on its Surrounding Nature Reserve

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By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo
Set on the edge of a wooded hillside in a peaceful nature preserve, a stunning year-round refuge is designed with the utmost respect for location.

Designed by Leroy Street Studio, the Hill House has been built for a client who happens to be a trustee of New York's Shelter Island Nature Conservancy. So, it should come as no surprise that great care was taken to ensure the contemporary home was respectful of its serene surroundings. 

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The first floor is made up of glass walls that allow the site to appear to remain uninterrupted. 

The first floor is made up of glass walls that allow the site to appear to remain uninterrupted. 

The client originally requested a house that was "sensitively knit into the site with intimate spaces for the family, as well as a large outdoor event space for entertaining." To achieve this, the team at Leroy Street Studio created a series of stone-retaining walls to form stepped terraces in the landscape, which then allowed the second level of the home to cantilever out over the walls. The elegant volumes are connected by a multi-purpose roof deck, an area that also serves as additional outdoor space. 

The home cantilevers out over the series of stone-retaining walls.

The home cantilevers out over the series of stone-retaining walls.

Given that the homeowners enjoy spending time outdoors and are actively involved with the Island’s land trust, they requested a green roof and xeriscape landscaping with native plants that comply with the irrigation restrictions on Shelter Island. The house also includes space for beekeeping, as well as an area to have a chicken coop and greenhouse.

The mix of cedar and stone help integrate the dwelling into its natural setting.

The mix of cedar and stone help integrate the dwelling into its natural setting.

The roof deck forms a connector between the two cedar-clad volumes, while also providing additional outdoor space. 

The roof deck forms a connector between the two cedar-clad volumes, while also providing additional outdoor space. 

The extensive use of glazing on the first floor of the home allows light to enter, and also creates a strong sense of the surrounding nature preserve inside the living space. 

The extensive use of glazing on the first floor of the home allows light to enter, and also creates a strong sense of the surrounding nature preserve inside the living space. 

The ground floor consists of the public space with ample room for entertaining, while all the private living spaces have been delegated to the second floor. 

The ground floor consists of the public space with ample room for entertaining, while all the private living spaces have been delegated to the second floor. 

 A bright bathroom is surrounded by tree views. 

 A bright bathroom is surrounded by tree views. 

The home's siting marks a transition from the trees to the rolling fields that extend out to the distant waterfront. 

The home's siting marks a transition from the trees to the rolling fields that extend out to the distant waterfront. 

The Hill House Ground-Level Floor Plan.

The Hill House Ground-Level Floor Plan.

The Hill House Second-Level Floor Plan.

The Hill House Second-Level Floor Plan.

Project Credits: 
Architect of Record: Leroy Street Studio / @leroystreetstudio

Builder / General Contractor: Robert Reylek, Inc. 

Structural Engineer: Robert Silman Associates

Landscape Design Company: Starr Whitehouse

Lighting Design Company: Clinard Design Studio

MEP: Condon Engineering