A Hamptons Beach House Gets a Minimalist Makeover With Midcentury Vibes
They say the third time’s a charm. That is certainly true for architectural designer Sarah Reilly, founder of Studio Rozu, who sought a more modern house to remake in the Hamptons after buying, renovating, and flipping traditional ones in Sag Harbor and Shelter Island.
Materials were key from start. Sarah drew inspiration, both for materials and the project’s allegiance to indoor/outdoor living, from the beach house that French architect Charlotte Perriand conceived in 1934. Fashion house Louis Vuitton constructed the unrealized plan for Design Miami in 2013; Sarah saw it in Paris in 2019.
Sarah cites Perriand’s clean, minimalist aesthetic as influential (Perriand oversaw interiors at Le Corbusier’s studio from 1927 to 1937), as well as its camp-like vibe. "I’m interested in the feeling you get when you’re inside a house," she says.
To achieve that feeling, Sarah lined the entire interior with cedar planks. "I was going to adhere more closely to the Louis Vuitton house—plywood interiors, stainless-steel bathrooms—but it evolved," she says. "A cedar-clad interior felt richer, and a stainless-steel bathroom is not the coziest situation." She echoed the stainless steel kitchen counters, but admits that the material isn’t the best from a functional standpoint.
While Louis Vuitton’s interpretation of Perriand’s design features wood plank flooring, Sarah envisioned poured-in-place concrete floors for her beach house. However, even after she shored up the sagging foundation, the engineer advised her not to chance it. Instead, Sarah opted for a micro-topping finish: a three-millimeter-thick, very hard resin in dark gray. "It reads as concrete, but it’s not as hard on the feet," she says.
The micro-topping runs throughout the house on the floor, and up the walls of the primary bath. There, the surface has a bit more variation and offers lively interplay with the reeded glass shower enclosure. "It’s troweled on, sanded, and polished," Sarah says. The effect, it turns out, is not that far from the stainless steel used in Vuitton’s Perriand bath.
The cantilevered vanity and the minimalist cabinetry in the kitchen are crafted from white oak, which Sarah chose for its clean, straightforward appeal as well as its durability. "I used the same whitewash finish on the cedar and the oak millwork to tie it all together," she says. "That was very important to me.
Such inclination is no surprise; Sarah’s father is a woodworker, and she grew up in his woodshop. She based the reclaimed oak kitchen island design on workshop mainstays. "It’s an amalgamation of my favorite parts of various workbenches," she says. She also made the bench in the entry with a Japanese woodworker as an interior architecture student at Rhode Island School of Design.
Sarah incorporated the home’s other furnishings with equal intention. For the living room, she commissioned a custom Donald Judd daybed, painted black to disappear. She specified higher arms, plus casters so she could move it around. "It’s so iconic; as an object I totally love it," she says. The low-slung Afra and Tobias Scarpa chairs, now reupholstered in black leather, hail from a friend’s grandmother’s basement.
Lighting is also a cornerstone of the design. The Japanese-influenced Santa & Cole pendant over the kitchen island, and the Charlotte Perriand blue linear sconces in the primary bedroom were must-haves from the start. "It’s good to be certain about a few things to set the tone—then you can play around with other stuff," she says. "Every element you bring in affects the feeling."
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A Southern California Beach House Gets a Sea Ranch–Inspired Makeover
General Contractor/Interior Design: Studio Rozu / @studiorozu
Structural Engineer: Llewellyn Engineering
Landscape Design: Whitmores / @whitmoresinc
Lighting Design: STAR Lighting Design
Cabinetmaker: Shepard Co
TopicsBeach HousesHome Tours
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