Tour a Striking Modern Located in the Heart of the Northwest Woods



Striking Bar House Northwest Woods

Contrary to popular belief, not everyone in the Hamptons lives grandly on the oceanfront or sequestered behind walls of privet. Increasingly, people are choosing to put down roots far from the congestion and crowds that have come to define the East End’s villages and hamlets, particularly in the summer. One such area of migration is the Northwest Harbor section of East Hampton, also known as the Northwest Woods. Free of suburban sprawl, the area offers miles of hiking trails through groves of oak and pine trees, wetlands, ponds, and creeks, giving residents a sense of deep seclusion—far enough from the seasonal mayhem, but still close to the action. Beaches, fishing, and boating are also a draw at the 600-acre Cedar Point County Park and the big water of Three Mile Harbor and Gardiners Bay.

Not long ago, these alluring natural features attracted the attention of a New York family that desired a weekend escape from the urban jungle. After purchasing a 13-acre parcel of undeveloped land abutting a 500-acre forest preserve, they asked New York–based architect Audrey Matlock, who had designed their penthouse in Williamsburg, to create a sleek modernist getaway.

Bar House Overlay

A minimalist with an obsessive attention to detail and an aesthetic driven by the spirit of place, Matlock jumped at the challenge to maximize the site’s potential. Freed from the strain of shoehorning an oversize mass into a small lot, she chose to spread her wings—literally—in the most inventive way.

The structure she dreamed up is nicknamed the Bar House because of its form—two long volumes fulfilling separate functions and intersecting at a right angle. The ground-floor volume extends east from the entrance, containing an enfilade of public spaces for family activities and entertaining. A spacious kitchen opens onto a dining area, which flanks a floor-to-ceiling basalt fireplace that’s shared by a living room on the opposite side. Two guest bedrooms with views of a double row of pear trees and a tennis court terminate the bar. Zinc panels, alternating with floor-to-ceiling glazing on the north elevation, display large paintings from the clients’ contemporary art collection, vivid works that provide an arresting gallery-like backdrop. An airy rhythm enlivens the experience as one ambles through this wing.

An open staircase where the two bars intersect leads to the upper level, which stretches to the south and houses the family’s private quarters, including bedrooms, a gym, and an office, all accessible from a corridor running the length of the bar. This linear progression repeats the zinc panels and glass walls from the ground-level bar, extending the art-gallery motif. The master bedroom anchors the terminus of the bar, while a den at the north end provides access to a terrace and a green roof, offering a different perspective of the surrounding terrain and vistas. This raised bar also shelters an open-air entertaining space and outdoor kitchen below.

Matlock employed several strategies to ensure that the 8,500-square-foot house rests lightly on the site, giving equal importance to the structure and the landscape. “We built models for three schemes,” the architect recounts, “and it became clear that this approach was best for a family that loves to embrace the outdoors.” The extensive glazing creates a transparent envelope allowing light in and views out in every direction. The elevated family wing and the overhang on the courtyard side of the public wing are supported by white-painted V-shaped steel columns, their shape an abstract interpretation of the trees surrounding the site. Their slenderness suggests a lightness to the structure they support.

All rooms intentionally feature ample vistas of the property’s verdant acreage. “Landscaping is integral to the architecture in our projects,” says Matlock, “which is why we take responsibility for the design of the grounds as well. It needs to be consistent with our ideas about the land, and not merely decorative.” On the north side of the east wing, Matlock has designed a meadow of rolling hillocks covered with native grasses and strategically placed river birches, creating a natural transition to the existing forest beyond. Tufts of fountain grass flank pavers alongside the pool, which is graced by a row of crape myrtles on the south side and a hedge of Japanese holly to the east. The end goal: Blur the boundaries between interior and exterior. In creating a home that features volumes without mass and a seamless spatial flow, Matlock has ultimately devised a place to spread out, rather than hunker down. 

A version of this article appeared in the August 15 issue of HC&G (Hamptons Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: Raising the Bar.

Subscribe to HC&G to have issues sent right to your door. 

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

Architect Spotlight

Edit Module
Haver & Skolnick Architects
Haver & Skolnick Architects creates award-winning homes of timeless design, providing personal service & impeccable attention to detail. For 22 years, Charles Haver, AIA and Stewart Skolnick, AIA have offered a single source for architecture, interior design and landscape architecture, creating seamless environments which are a reflection of their clients’ personalities. The firm has been nationally recognized for comfortable, classic country homes and elegant apartments which reflect history while responding to a contemporary lifestyle.


Edit ModuleShow Tags

Builder Spotlight

Consiglio Builders
Consiglio Builders is a luxury residential construction company located on the East End of Long Island. We have developed a unique method of residential construction in the Hamptons—we call it "The Considered Approach." It stems from our experience which demonstrates that meticulous planning and transparency throughout the process, combined with our expertise and emphasis on perfection, enable us to deliver consistently the best-constructed homes on time and within budget to our discerning clientele.


 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Architect Spotlight

James Merrell Architects 
From our perspective in the 21st century, all styles are historical. Even Modernism is now a century old. So, we are free to interpret, and interweave the minimal with the decorative to find new expressions for our own era. Our house celebrates this new design freedom. It brings a contemporary sensibility to the architectural covenants of this otherwise traditional neighborhood. Floor to ceiling glass on the ground floor, for instance, yields modern interior spaces. While above, divided windows sit comfortably in second floor dormers. And the style that results is both unique and timeless.


Edit ModuleShow Tags

Architect Spotlight

Bates Masi + Architects
Bates Masi + Architects LLC, a full-service architectural firm with roots in New York City and the East End of Long Island for over 50 years, responds to each project with extensive research in related architectural fields, material, craft and environment for unique solutions as varied as the individuals for whom they are designed. The focus is neither the size nor the type of project but the opportunity to enrich lives and enhance the environment.

Bates+Masi Architects
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module

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