Shelter Island House
This house, designed for a physically active man, is situated on a sloping bluff overlooking Gardiners Bay in Shelter Island. The owner wanted a home that could withstand the region’s often severe weather conditions and engender a sense of permanence.
Sited to define and create an experience in the landscape, the house consists of two building masses: the main house and the garage. Both structures are formed by cast-in-place concrete and clad in large slabs of Brazilian granite. While the volumes function as separate entities above grade, the house can be traversed internally on the lower level.
At the top of the steep driveway sits the garage, where an acid-etched light box provides natural light to the recreational room below. A narrow opening between the garage and a ten-foot-tall retaining wall leads to a courtyard. This outdoor “room,” created between the wall and the house, unifies the building and frames a dramatic view of the bay.
The larger of the two volumes holds the living spaces. Large panes of glass cover the western facade, prioritizing views of the water. A small terrace off the living room looks out like the prow of a ship; stairs lead to the bedrooms below. Inside, exposed concrete contrasts with warm, American cherry wood panels and large redwood-framed windows.
Set into the ground like a large outcropping that overlooks sky and sea, the house is deeply influenced by the site and reflects the unique personality of its owner.