Take a Tour of a Waterfront Retreat on the Long Island Sound



Take a Tour of a Long Island Waterfront Retreat The question was always: ‘Is it going to be perfect?’” Lesley Lowe recalls. The New York–based interior designer, whose umpteenth project with the same clients was this Compo Cove house that she collaborated on with architect McKee Patterson of Southport-based Austin Patterson Disston Architects and landscape architect Diane Devore, is conjuring up the amount of pressure—good pressure!—the clients put on her. Their vision for a Connecticut summer house with room for their family was something “dreamy, warm, neutral,” which seems straightforward until you realize that the beiges couldn’t have any yellows; the taupes couldn’t have any green; and every single finish needed to be…perfect.

Patterson was the design architect for the project and faced significant issues given that the house is accessible only by foot traffic and that the local association exerted a lot of aesthetic input. “It’s extremely restricted, so space is always the issue,” he says. The design challenge was to figure out how to maximize the space, how to work with a fairly straightforward program, how to ensure that the clients had a yoga room (the husband is “very adamant about his yoga”), and how to keep prioritizing the view and access to the fresh saltwater air.

Lowe and Patterson worked closely together—Lowe bringing her experience working with the clients on projects in Montecito and New York City’s Time Warner Center, and Patterson bringing his decades of architectural experience and history of working with the clients on an earlier project. Structural challenges—like where exactly the stairs would go, and a central fireplace that in initial plans bisected the space—were worked through in collaboration between the two and their clients.Take a Tour of a Long Island Waterfront Retreat

“In many ways, it laid itself out,” Patterson says. The main bedroom went on the second floor facing the water, kids’ bedrooms went into the back, and the living room, dining room and kitchen all connected on the first floor. Reorganizing the layout led to less space on the second floor for bedrooms, which everyone ended up agreeing on.

Lowe points out that the owners wanted to prioritize spaces for gathering over private spaces, which led to their accepting smaller bedrooms in favor of a more expansive lower level, in exchange for moving the staircase to the side. Despite a general feeling of openness, size was an issue. “There’s a very tight limit on how big you can build, and a very tight limit on how tall you can build,” Patterson explains. A workaround was to do two-and-a-half stories, that half-story being a usable space whose exterior shape fits into the classical aesthetic nature of the neighborhood and whose interior houses a movie room.

That sense of airy interior modernism and classical exterior is threaded together in the landscape architecture by Diane Devore of Devore Associates. Her team brought in plants that “were indigenous to the salty environment and that would withstand if the waves came in, or if it flooded.” That hardiness is found in the American holly hedge, some native grasses, a few perennials for summer color, and a limestone terrace because, Devore says, “they wanted something cool underfoot.”

Again working within size limits, Devore created a sense of spaciousness by working with different grade levels, raising the pool and adding grass steppes to create an area where the couple’s children (and their friends) could run around. “The hedge provides privacy, but you don’t even realize that it’s enclosed,” she says.

And that’s where the real success of the project lies. At first, it might seem like a fairly straightforward New England shingle house, with a kicky second-and-a-half story and an extraordinarily gracious interior. But the trick is in how the house ends up looking both like it belongs on its thin strip of site, and also remains utterly contemporary. “It was really a lot of work to do something that looks so simple in the pictures,” Lowe notes. And the client’s response? “I walked in with a punchlist,” Lowe recalls. “She turned around, and said, ‘it’s perfect.’” 

A version of this article appeared in the June 2019 issue of CTC&G (Connecticut Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: Picture Perfect. 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags

Designer Spotlight

Edit Module
Karen Wells Design
Karen Wells Design creates professionally finished, uniquely beautiful interiors. Interior design, furniture design, interior architecture, project management, space planning, and curating collections are our specialty. Each project brings a fresh aesthetic based on the clients tastes, idiosyncrasies, and how they want to live. Interpreting each space for its functionality, refining it through the use of color, texture ,light, art, and furniture proportions allows KWD to create environments called home.

Karen Wells Design

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Builder Spotlight

M&M Custom Homes
M&M Custom Homes is recognized as one of the premier home builders in the Hamptons and throughout Nassau County. With an unwavering commitment to excellence, we provide a superior client experience—creating exceptional value with state-of-the-art construction and unsurpassed design.


Edit ModuleShow Tags

Garden Spotlight

Gardeneering
For thirty three years, every design we create stems from our holistic approach to landscape gardening. Beginning with developing the best possible soil, our attention branches out to address all facets of a project with similar focus. Whether it's hardscape or quality of plant material, the installations are of the highest order -- as is the quality of our estate maintenance services. Every effort is made to blend the client's vision with the aesthetic aspects of the house and property -- ultimately, to create an organic realization.


Edit ModuleShow Tags

Garden Spotlight

Kathryn’s Flower Gardens
Kathryn’s Flower Gardens is committed to providing exquisite cutting gardens, container plantings and unique and heirloom varieties of vegetables, fruits and herbs, all grown right outside your door. Inspired by the agricultural heritage of the east end, Kathryn’s was created as a sentimental tribute to the owner’s young daughter. Led by a team of experienced horticulturalists, the firm’s sole focus is on providing boutique and personalized containers, flower and vegetable gardens. Located in Sag Harbor, Kathryn’s Flower Gardens is a subsidiary of Summerhill Landscapes.


Edit ModuleShow Tags

Garden Spotlight

HARMONIA INC Creative Landscapes and Fine Stonework
HARMONIA INC was founded out of a profound passion for creating complete landscapes and gardens that co-exist in harmony, with the natural settings that grace each property. Harmonia will design and install a customized landscape complimentary to your visual desires, and your personal lifestyle. “ Our work is a reflection of how you will want to enjoy your property for years to come.” Harmonia Inc is a full service design, installation and maintenance company, beautifying the Hamptons every day. 631-537-9672

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
 
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module