When Josh Manes and his wife, Jaclyn "Jack" Manes, set out to rebuild a weathered family home on Long Island, the couple wanted the new structure to be both sustainably designed and better adapted to the surrounding wetlands. The final result—which merges Josh’s talents as an architect and Jack’s as a designer—achieves a warm, modern look with materials that also lowered the carbon footprint of construction.
"The property sits on preserved wetlands that are beautiful in their own natural state," says Josh. "For that reason, we wanted to respect the surroundings and build within generally the same footprint as the old house." The duo began drafting their ideas in 2015, not beginning construction until several years later and altering plans as their priorities began to change.
"The original structure was one-and-a-half stories, with the majority of common spaces and bedrooms on the lower level," adds Josh. "We wanted to create a true two-story home that would not only accommodate our growing family, but also take advantage of the views."
A key design priority was the structure’s solar orientation in order to make it as energy independent as possible. "The house sits at a 45-degree angle from the street and there’s not a traditional front or back," Josh explains. Instead, the design is a 360-degree experience enhanced by the wrap-around terrace, numerous windows, and spatial arrangements that recess and protrude along the structure.
"The bedrooms are all oriented on different sides of the house, and the expansive windows capture different moments of light or shadow throughout the day while helping with solar heat gain in the wintertime," he continues. "On the south side, each bedroom is also cantilevered to shade the space below and block out the harsh solar gain in the summertime."
Additional connections between the indoors and out are reflected in the material selection. "On the exterior of the home, we complemented the cedar with porcelain tiles that act as a rain screen for parts of the facade," Josh explains. "We chose cedar because it’s commonly used in the Hamptons, but usually on the outside of a home," Jack adds. "We thought it would be interesting to integrate cedar throughout the home and bring some warmth inside as well."
"Overall, we also placed emphasis on selecting materials that were certified non-toxic, low VOC, and contribute to a low-carbon footprint." says Jack. "It’s something we practice in our everyday life, from the food that we eat to the clothes that we buy. So, of course, it was very important to us when selecting our furnishings, including the Avocado Green Mattresses in each bedroom."
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"As both the designers and clients, we didn’t have the constraints that might come with traditional projects, which was both good and bad," comments Josh. "We simply had to figure out what’s important to our family in order to have a successful home that will last for generations and won't feel dated a few years from now."
"Here, we see the congregation of deer and wild turkeys, as well as cranes, swans, and various other types of birds," says Josh. "After five years of designing this home together, it felt surreal to wake up that first morning and look out to the landscape," adds Jack.
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