Outdoor Oases

From a boathouse or a Greek Temple to pool houses and tennis hideouts, designers and architects create luxurious places to escape… in your own backyard



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JIM FIORA

BEAUTIFUL BOATHOUSE
PETRA CONSTRUCTION, BUILDER

What role did your firm play in the design of this boathouse?
We served as construction manager and builder on this project, creating
all of the millwork for this new boathouse. The project included a new
boat dock that extends more than 100 feet into Long Island Sound.

How does the boathouse relate to other structures on the site?
It sits on 14.5 acres of waterfront property facing south-southwest. The boathouse shares the site with the main house, pool and recreation area, all of which are connected by stone paths.

Were there any problems or difficulties in terms of siting?
The location was predetermined by an existing boathouse. The challenge was to design within the same footprint and zoning constraints allowed by the pre-existing property rights. As a result, this new structure offers a unique location that would be difficult to get approved. The lower part is at sea level and allows for dry storage for boats. In addition, our challenge on this project was to build a structure that could withstand high winds and waves.

How do the owners use this structure?
The boathouse was originally built by the owners for use as a weekend residence during construction of the main house. Now, it is used by guests, since it has a kitchenette and sliding doors to separate the bedroom and main sitting room.

What are three important elements to consider when building a boathouse?
The siting is critical: An analysis of storm paths, tides and winds needs to be conducted. The second element is the use of the structure, which influences the design. Third, you have to consider the building materials.

Do you have any favorite materials to use in this type of structure?
We like to use natural materials such as stone recovered from the site, wood materials that are inherently weather-resistant, stainless steel and copper flashings and fasteners to withstand the elements, as well as hurricane-rated doors and windows.

 

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