Southampton, New York
LDG was involved with this project from the beginning, collaborating with Blaze Makoid Architecture on the siting and placement of the house.
Because of the sensitive nature of the site—a low-lying expanse of a former farm field bordering on a freshwater pond—FEMA regulations required that the house be elevated twelve feet above grade. In this setting of a vacant field, the structure could seem to be perched uncomfortably atop the landscape. The challenge was to resculpt and revegetate the land so that the house would fit in and seem to have always been present. At the same time, the clients were eager to preserve the views of the pond and the ocean beyond.
To root the 10,000-square-foot house into the landscape, the adjacent grade was raised by twelve feet. This enhanced the view. The swimming pool was placed to the side of the house to leave the vista uninterrupted. Similarly, the railing system along the elevated decks was custom built of vertical steel pickets with no cross-rail, to preserve the view.
Managing the transition from the parking area to the house was also challenging because the house was, on the front side, set twelve feet above the grade of the abutting land. Combining utility with aesthetics, the design team located the septic field between the house and parking area, using soil from the house excavation to overlay the septic field and create a gentle mound with shallow linear steps to negotiate the rise in grade comfortably. The design of the steps, varying widths of treads inset into turf, echoed a “bar-code” like system of fins used by the architect on the exterior of the house, helping to integrate architecture and landscape.
In the general treatment of the landscape, the goal became one of restoring and nurturing the natural habitat. A broad buffer of native shrubs and grasses was planted between the house and the pond to act as a filter for stormwater running off the site and protect the integrity of the pond’s sensitive ecosystem. Turf was limited to the immediate area next to the house on the pond side, giving open access to the pool, pool-side arbor, spa, outdoor kitchen, and dining area. Elsewhere the site was seeded with native grasses to create rolling meadows accented with bayberry and other appropriate indigenous plants.
The design team inset a sunken terrace and fireplace adjacent to the front door of the house. Sheltered from off-the-ocean winds, it is the perfect spot to enjoy the spectacle of the sunset.