New Home In the Hamptons Bridges Farm and Pond
Overlooking acres of preserved agricultural land, a newly complete family residence on Sagaponack Pond represents a unique collaboration between client, architect, and interior designer. Integrated design studio Architecture Plus Information (A+I) served as architect of the project, with theUNIONWORKS acting as interior designer and client representative to Daryl Simon.
“We had a piece of land we knew was very special,” client Daryl Simon shared, “and we wanted to maintain that when creating our new home. In combining the design talents of A+I and theUNIONWORKS, I was confident we’d be able to create a place that was technologically sophisticated, modern, and beautiful while being sensitive to an ecosystem we cherished.”
At home in a pastoral landscape
Situated at the end of a long gravel driveway reminiscent of a country road, the 12,000 square foot residence is modestly scaled for the space it contains. Three volumes signify different functions within of the house. A lower entry volume contains shared spaces like a living room, kitchen, dining room, and sunken family room with views out to Sagaponack Pond. Up a sculptural staircase, one enters a private wing of bedrooms for the family perpendicular to the first volume. At the end of this bridge-like form, a descending staircase leads to the third series of rooms running parallel to the first volume, with guest, gaming, and utility space. The orientation of the three volumes ensures that each takes advantages of its natural surroundings.
“The last thing we wanted to do was block the beautiful visual relationship between farm and pond with a monumental structure,” Phil Ward, studio director at A+I and one of the lead designers of the project commented. “We made a decision with Daryl [Simon] to essentially pull the house apart into three linked volumes, opening up those vistas.”
An open-air walkway, covered by the underside of the elevated bedroom “bridge,” creates a frame that visually unites the agricultural preserve with the pond while also providing guests access to the shared living spaces without disturbing others.
The “bridge” also serves an ecological need rooted in proven resilience strategies. A bioswale with native grasses, shrubs, and wildflowers sits below it, allowing water during major storms and coastal flooding to pass underneath the structure without harm. The residence is elevated 12 feet above the ground plain, yet despite this, landscaping embeds the house within its site, as though perched in a dune. LaGuardia Design served as the landscape architect on the project.
Celebrating Indoor-Outdoor Living
“One of the things about this amazing site was it offered an opportunity to appreciate views in all directions, whether to the farm, the pond, or the surrounding countryside,” Eliane Maillot, studio director at A+I and one of the project’s lead designers commented. “In listening to the client, we realized this project was about letting the outside in and offering those inside the house views and opportunities to get outside.”
The architects solved for this by allowing visitors to see “through” the house, placing windows in each area on opposite ends of one another. For example, when one is in the corridor of the elevated bedroom floor, one can gaze south to Sagaponack Pond or look north through a window in the adjacent bedroom to see the farm. This level of visual transparency is carried through in both shared and private spaces of the house.
The house also offers a plethora of options to connect with the outdoors through a series of landscaped terraces and patios on both floors. An outdoor lounge off the guest wing sits just by the lower bridge. Upstairs, the roof of lower volumes is transformed into a lush landscape of terraces with public and private decks for family and guests alike.
Spaces for Fun, Separated
Aside from these passive recreation opportunities, the house affords plenty of ways for the residents and visitors to up their wellness game.
A sleek infinity pool surrounded in basalt sits just off the sunken family room, looking out to Sagaponack Pond. To the west, a tennis court is ready for a doubles match while, to the north, a half-size basketball court is primed to host games between the family’s growing children. Strategically, all these active sport options are placed in opposite ends of the house, allowing one to take a meditative dip in the pool without overhearing the machinations of an intense tie-breaker on the tennis court.
A New Take on Materials and Interiors
A+I and theUNIONWORKS collaborated on an indoor/outdoor material palette that was unabashedly modern but without the starkness often associated with the style. An organic, textural quality can be found in the materials inside and outside the residence. Dark-stained, quarter sawn wood wraps the façade, lending dimension and character. Burnished metal warms the window frames and reappears on interior fixtures. Sandy colored, hand-crafted brick also appears inside and outside the house. The interplay of dark exterior wood, lighter, flat sawn wood inside, brick, and metal offers a significant departure from the typical Hamptons shingle style while at the same time perfectly suiting the site and family’s aesthetic.
The interiors complement the larger architectural design. Attention was paid to adding a sense of discovery in the details, finishes, and fixtures and a sense of humor and fun with the furnishings. For example, the kitchen island cabinets are clad in a golden bronze metal that reflects light and will patina over time to read as graffiti. Behind the master bedroom headboard, the wall finish echoes the dark-stained wood cladding to produce the feeling of sleeping in a treehouse with open views in front of you. A hidden office space contains a tactile surprise: suede walls call out to be touched. Vibrantly colored furnishings placed throughout the house offer a counterbalance to the organic palette of the architecture.
“It felt a bit like dating,” Poonam Khanna, founder of theUNIONWORKS shared. “The work we did with this client on their New York City residence and previous home in the Hamptons were like really great first and second dates. We developed mutual trust that gave us a strong sense of how they wanted this new house to feel and flow.” She continued, “The opportunity to collaborate with A+I throughout the design process was especially rewarding because the client took a chance on an unconventional team and trusted that we could pull this off in a unique way. Together, we were able to create something deeply personal to Daryl and her family.”
The partnership also satisfied the client’s mandate to do something different and atypical for the Hamptons.
“Grey Gardens it ain’t,” A+I co-founder Brad Zizmor quipped, referring to the storied Hamptons mansion that was meticulously restored to its shingle style splendor following decades of neglect. “It goes to show that the ‘Hamptons style’ is much more about creating spaces for relaxation, enjoyment, and appreciation of natural splendor. The architecture and interior design are in the service of those elemental needs, and with theUNIONWORKS and a trusting client we were able to make something truly special.”