25.10.2021

Fire Island House

Nestled into a wooded site on a sandy barrier island is a modern masterpiece: a 1965 house designed by architect Horace Gifford, who was responsible for some 60 glass and cedar houses on the island.

Andrew Franz Architect, along with interior designer Peter Dunham, designer Jamie Bush, and landscape architect Tania Compton, renovated the house as part of a master plan that included a new guest house, pool, exterior stair, new decking and circulation paths, and relocated entry pavilion.

As a team, our greatest goal was to ensure that the additions were honestly and clearly distinguished from the original, while not distracting from it. The new guest house was carefully sited to create an internal courtyard that acts both as a connector between the old and new as well as an extension of the indoor-outdoor living space. The addition references the original building in geometry, cedar siding and jalousie windows, but without mimicking Gifford’s details. A new cantilevered stair seemingly floating away from the house connects the new ground-floor outdoor living areas with the elevated decks. Throughout, a simple palette of materials was used to remain consistent with the original.

The exterior of the original house was fully restored with new cedar sheathing, copper flashing, and roofing. The project also restored all interior wood surfaces, jalousie windows and discretely integrated a new HVAC system. Minor plan gestures were incorporated to improve circulation and function such as enlarged bathrooms, a restored kitchen, and a vintage fireplace. The wild character of the small parcel was preserved, cleaning out scrub and reintroducing native plants, grasses and pines to foster local flora, fauna and pollination.

The result is a modernist house that exhibits great restraint. From Franz’s perspective, the team emulated Gifford best by “trying to do more with less.”

[indo]Fire Island House
Architecture: by Andrew Franz Architect
Location: Fire Island Pines, NY; USA
Interior Design: by Peter Dunham
Size: 1,500 SF; Site: 9,370 SF
Completion: May 1, 2019
Project team: Architecture by Andrew Franz Architect; Interior Design by Peter Dunham; Design Consultancy by Jamie Bush; Landscape Architecture by Tania Compton; Garden Design by CF Gardens
Design Consultancy: by Jamie Bush
Landscape Architecture: by Tania Compton
Garden Design: CF Gardens
Photography: Albert Vecerka/Esto; Tria Giovan for Summer to Summer by Vendome Press[/info]

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