ISSUE 18  |  Exotic Patterns

Architect & Designer Visit: Cary Tamarkin and Suzanne Shaker in Shelter Island

May 02, 2011 10:15 AM

BY Christine Chang Hanway

When NYC-based architect Cary Tamarkin and his family bought an unheated 1960s shack on Shelter Island as a weekend retreat, they lived in the existing structure for three years before rebuilding. According to interior designer and Suzanne Shaker, a neighbor and frequent collaborator of Tamarkin's, "the family learned to understand the rhythms of the light, water, and sand intimately; more importantly, they discovered how they wanted to live within those rhythms."

The house they eventually built is an intimate response to the site; it's built primarily of giant reclaimed old-growth cypress logs (the favored material of many classic masters, Frank Lloyd Wright included). A Japanese influence is evident in the honesty of the detailing, which dominates but is never overbearing. There is no need for air-conditioning; the steady breeze from the water can be channeled and directed throughout the interiors via the many transom windows, each operated individually with tactile, stainless-steel sailboat cranks. "I love the action of cranking them open," Tamarkin says.

To see more of Cary Tamarkin's work, go to Tamarkin Co. To see more of Suzanne Shaker's projects, go to Suzanne Shaker.

Above: The living spaces and the family bedrooms are separated by a covered breezeway.

Above: Shaker outfitted the relaxed living spaces with casual midcentury pieces such as the Butterfly Chair from Circa 50 and Noguchi Akari Pendants from the Noguchi Museum.

Above: The dominant wooden beams extend from interior to exterior, establishing the rhythm of the house.

Above: Practical hooks make for easy and decorative storage. The Eero Saarinen midcentury dining table and chairs are from Wyeth in New York. Photo by William Abranowicz for House Beautiful.

Above: A custom platform sofa is positioned to capture the expansive sea views.

Above: The kitchen features utilitarian plywood cabinetry.

Above: A horizontal row of windows captures views of the sky, the water, and the sand. The striped fabric is from CC Milano, available through Holland Sherry.

Above: The movement of sunlight marks the progression of time; turning the house into a sundial on a summer's day.

Above: Custom teak dining tables and benches by George Smith Woodworking in Tivoli, New York (845-757-5921).

Above: The teak Outdoor Lounge Furniture is from Henry Hall in San Francisco.

Above: The master bath shower is covered with Black 3/4-Inch Unglazed Porcelain Tiles by Nemo Tiles.

Above: The simple master bedroom features white-painted wood-paneled walls. The metal and wood shelving is from Bloom in Sag Harbor, NY (631-725-5940).

Above: Tamarkin's favorite spot is the open-air shower just outside his bedroom.

Above: In the evenings, the house emits a warm, lantern like glow. Photos by Bart Michiels (except photo 6 by William Abranowicz for House Beautiful).

Techler Design Group was the associated architect on the this project