The New Zealand Native Who Can't Get Enough of the Garden State

A prefabricated lakeside New Jersey retreat is one woman's outdoorsy counterpoint to city life.
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Debbi Gibbs first encountered Lake Iosco more than a decade ago, when she started visiting the home of family friend Florent Morellet, proprietor of the legendary, now-departed diner Florent in New York City. The lake is part of a private neighborhood in New Jersey with an unconventional cooperative arrangement: Each person who purchases property actually buys into a group of shareholders and is granted a 100-year lease on the land. Gibbs loved the seeming wilderness of the area, especially considering its relative proximity to her New York apartment. She bought a ramshackle cabin with plans to tear it down and start fresh, then bided her time until she found just the right architects. Enter Joseph Tanney and Robert Luntz of Resolution: 4 Architecture, who granted her wish for an open prefabricated structure with custom design touches.

Gibbs: My friend Florent has a house you can see across the lake from ours. I used to come out and stay with him on the weekends, at least once a month. Then, when I got pregnant with Blake [now ten], I thought that the invitations might dry up, so I started looking around in this area for other houses. It’s so easy compared to four hours in traffic to get to the Hamptons. I can always get here door-to-door in about an hour, which means I can pop out for one night or just the day.

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