In 2007 I was asked to work on a large Norman Jaffe oceanfront home in Southampton, NY. The residence was built in 1986, and was the last of three Jaffe structures built in a row along the ocean on Meadow Lane.
The new owner, Janna Bullock, asked that I bring the home's numerous baths and kitchen up to her aesthetic standards and to add three guest rooms and a new Master Suite on the second floor.
Working on a Jaffe residence of such breadth and scale was a challenge as the normal tenets of geometry did not apply. His initial concept for his projects was typically to create a large "tent" and then fit everything underneath. It's a neat trick but very hard to add onto.
However, working carefully with the existing residence I began to feel the way forward and was able to extend the building in two directions for a seamless and sizable addition. Here, exterior photos of the Meadow Lane Entrance, Oceanside Facade, and Master Balcony with sweeping views of The Atlantic.
In 1992, I received a call to interview for a project in Southampton, NY, that would alter my career forever. Elena Ford was interviewing local Architects to design a new home in The Murray-McDonnell Compound on Squabble Lane, directly across from her mother's residence. In fact, while Elena was conducting the interviews and would be the client, it was her mother Charlotte, who would be hiring the Architect.
Thus began a relationship between Architect and Client, now dear friend, for whom I have worked continuously, sometimes on multiple projects at once, that has spanned 26 years. This is where it all began, and set in motion 14 separate and distinctive projects around the country.
When Elena sold the residence in 2000 to move to Michigan to work for the company founded by her Great- Great Grandfather, Trish McEvoy and Dr. Ron Sherman purchased it. I have worked for them on various parts of the residence on an ongoing basis ever since, including most recently, the installation of poured white Fusion Floors which gives the home a seamless unbroken floor plane throughout the first floor.
Here, recent photographs of the home which has remained largely unchanged since inception.
I am often asked to name my favorite project. This is an impossible task, and one to which I always respond "it would be like choosing a favorite child". A better question might be which un-built project do I wish had been realized.
There have been a few over the decades, The Grubich Residence in 1981, The Metropolitan Community Church of Los Angeles in 1988, and even the more recent East Hampton Beach House from 2000 would all make the list.
None however came as close to reality as the East 62 Street Townhouse shown here. It was a rare opportunity to build a ground up Townhouse in Manhattan, and not just any Townhouse, but the first LEED Certified Townhouse to be newly constructed in New York City.
Permits, including the coveted Landmarks Preservation Commission approval, were all in place, materials selected and vetted for their "Green" components, Construction Team retained, and the well drillers for the geothermal well were en route from Vermont when the plug was pulled.
The year was 2009, the month was November, and the Global financial crisis was unfolding like a tsunami. The developer of the project, Janna Bullock, who had envisioned the project 3 years earlier, and brought me on board to design and shepherd the project, decided the risk was too great. Few could disagree as we watched world markets teetering on financial collapse.
Needless to say, but I will, this would top the list of my greatest disappointments, one of a handful over a career of many, many triumphs. Shown here my initial concept sketch of The East 62 Street Elevation, the concept model of same, and computer generated 3D rendering.
In 2006 my longtime client Sandie Schifter called one day to report that she had bought a piece of land in Naples, Florida, on Naples Bay and asked how quickly could I come down to see it. Needless to say I was there the next week.
Sandie and I had forged not only a wonderful friendship but also a synergy of design interests while working on her Southampton, NY, compound on Pond Lane years earlier. The prospect of designing a new ground up project together was appealing in the extreme.
The property was long and narrow but commanded a great view of Naples Bay and The Naples Yacht Club. The design program called for a view of the water upon entering and from each of the first floor public rooms, plus the Master Suite on the Second Floor, copious outdoor terraces and a lap pool.
My design took on the personality of Olde St Augustine combined with Art Moderne. Stucco covered concrete walls, mahogany windows and doors and a white metal roof comprised the exterior materials. Sandie entrusted me to design the interiors as well which focused on comfort and sumptuously tactile fabrics and carpets.
Here, photographs of both the Entrance and Bayside Elevations, The Entrance Hall and Living Room as well as a Terrace view.
At the end of 2007 I was working on 4 residential projects in excess of 12,000 square feet each. By mid 2008 there were no residential projects in the office. All were abandoned due to the Global Financial Crisis.
Here, the last one to be discontinued, on the last building lot along the Atlantic Ocean on Meadow Lane in Southampton Village. The 6 bedroom concrete and glass structure was code named Kandinsky in honor of the owners' collection of Modern Art, including pictures by the Master himself.
After the success of my design for his Butter Lane Residence in Bridgehampton, NY, Chad Leat asked that I assist with a new commission in Manhattan, a floor through apartment in one of Richard Meier's pristine glass towers on Perry Street. It was a rare opportunity not realized since my loft days in the 1980s.
The apartment comprised 3600 sq. ft. of raw space wrapped in floor to ceiling glass with panoramic views of the Hudson River and Midtown. It was also an opportunity to collaborate again with Ingrao with whom I had worked on two previous projects for the owner.
For Chad's ever increasing art collection I created an Entrance Gallery which divided the apartment in half and terminated in the west facing Living and Dining Room overlooking the Hudson River. Luxe materials of walnut and white glass were selected for the flooring, and a motorized perimeter veil of stainless steel chains created a shimmering envelope. Lighting took center stage throughout the apartment with lighting tucked into coves and behind and surrounding diverse architectural elements. Trim-less recessed lighting was installed into ceilings and specific lighting was provided for the owner's collection of art and sculpture.
The apartment has been extensively published Internationally and included here is the reprint from the Architectural Digest "Opening Ceremony" article from September 2012.
As the Halogen lamps of the Maserati Spider GT illuminate the void before us, a faint glow appears on the horizon. It cannot be the setting moon as it can be seen in crescent, with Venus tugging at its bow. The glow intensifies as we approach as if a beacon at twilight is beckoning us. Suddenly the form is clear, a linear white cocoon hovers over the ground. We down shift to make our final approach, Vivaldi echoing through the open air. Sensors alert our arrival and the trident emblazoned red lacquer gate disappears into the waiting recess below. We enter into a translucent world of light and form.
As our journey ends, our destination is marked by another trident, back lit, on a sixteen foot circle of red floating in a sea of white. We exit to refresh ourselves at the lounge, and to watch through the towering wall of glass as Venus carries the majestic arc of light out of sight. Vivaldi continues his rhapsodic strains as the Maserati rotates into its final position for an eventual exit, but not too soon, as we have only begun to consider the opportunities before us.
Day break brings an altogether new experience as the translucent roof, now illuminated from above brings a soft white light cascading into the volume. The ribs of the vault cast shadows across the white lacquer floor. All eyes are on the object at hand however, the Spider, waiting and wanting another go at the road. As the gate once again recedes into the floor the time is right for another excursion, but we shall return again and again to this sanctuary of light and space and Vivaldi.
I collaborated with Sag Harbor Architect, Craig Lee on a fascinating project in North Haven, NY overlooking Sag Harbor Bay. The multi building project which was connected below grade by sky lit passages include a 3,000 sq. ft. Main House, a detached 2 Bedroom Guest House, as well as a stand alone 1,200 sq. ft. Guest Cottage.
Having seen my work at various projects around the Hamptons the owner, Rob Wiesenthal, brought me into the project to oversee the interior build-out through the selection of all materials, lighting and furnishings. The entire interior envelope was sheathed in wire brushed clear cedar boards and the flooring was a combination of honed limestone and teak flooring.
The exterior envelope includes large expanses of telescoping doors which pocket into recesses out of sight, as well as a large glass wall panel that pivots to a horizontal position beyond the Carlo Scarpa dining table resulting in a seamless indoor outdoor relationship.
Furnishings, lighting, area rugs and accessories were all selected to create a unified, flowing and open interior.
The original owners of my first home in Bridgehampton on Sandpiper Lane (See Chapter 1) built in 1977 asked that I design a substantial addition to their residence.
Having lived in the home for 39 years they decided it was time for more comfort and privacy given the ever expanding number of grandchildren visiting during the summer months.
The additions included an elevator, a first floor playroom and laundry, and an expansive master bedroom suite on the second floor.
My minimalist approach was to build on the original design from 1977, and continue the well-established modular theme for a seamless finished project inside and out.