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A Low-Key but Subtly Luxe Beach House on Shelter Island, Courtesy of Workstead

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A Low-Key but Subtly Luxe Beach House on Shelter Island, Courtesy of Workstead

July 7, 2023

This week we’re combing through the Remodelista archives for some of our all-time favorite summer stories. Here’s one:

Nick Gavin is a child of the once-gritty neighborhood of SoHo: “I grew up in the 1980s/90s in a loft at the corner of West Broadway and Houston; my mother ran a nonprofit, and my father was an art dealer. We frequented Fanelli Cafe and Jerry’s Cafe. My first date with my now-wife Katrin Thormann was a visit to the Judd Foundation, literally the first weekend it opened.”

So, a few years ago, when Nick came across a house with an interesting pedigree on Shelter Island, he leapt at the chance to own a sliver of history. Built in the 1940s, the modest shingled home was at one time owned by Giorgio DeLuca, the cofounder of legendary NYC food emporium Dean & DeLuca. After a time, DeLuca sold the house to Melvin Dwork, a celebrated Parsons-trained New York designer and LGBT activist.

“The original structure had pine-paneled cathedral ceilings and a floor of lagoon-green ceramic tile,” Gavin says. “I loved it, but I knew we were going to need to update (and add on to) the house, so I cold-called Workstead, a firm I have long admired.”

“Our mandate was: let’s not mess with the integrity of the house, and the Workstead team got it.”

Here’s a tour:

Photography by Matthew Williams.

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Above: “We hired East Hampton-based  Geoffrey Nimmer to create the layered landscape,” Nick says.
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Above: Workstead designed a glass-door-encased breezeway to connect the addition to the older structure.
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Above: The team installed a new cedar-shingle roof and siding and reproduced an existing cedar-shingle sconce for exterior lighting.
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Above: The couple retained the original ceramic tiles in the main living spaces; they’re cool underfoot during the hot summer months.
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Above: The team retained the original pine-paneled cathedral ceilings in the main spaces. In the kitchen, the Sub Zero refrigerator is concealed behind a wood paneled front.
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Above: A custom steel-framed daybed with a linen French-rolled mattress from Ruby Beets anchors a corner off the kitchen/dining area.
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Above: In the kitchen (and throughout the house), the team spec’ed a brass Vola faucet.
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Above: The Dining Table T21 Sfax is by Pierre Chapo, and is circled by a suite of Pierre Chapo S28 Dining Chairs.
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Above: In the guest bath, an Elm Mini basin sink from Kast Concrete is paired with a midcentury Danish mirror.
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Above: Throughout the house Workstead installed wood shutters to regulate light.
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Above: The main bedroom has four exposures, plus the original paneled ceiling and wood shutters.
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Above: The primary bathroom features a rough-hewn limestone sink and brass Vola taps.
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Above: The couple’s daughter, Greta, now has her own bedroom post-remodel.
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Above: “We were inspired by a Donald Judd bathroom in the design for the main bathroom,” Nick says. “The Agape Ottocento tub is a modern interpretation of the classic clawfoot tub.”
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Above: A view of the newly constructed pool.

For more Workstead:

N.B.: This story is an update; the original post ran on June 7, 2021, and is reappearing here as part of our Summer from the Archive issue.

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Frequently asked questions

Where is the beach house located?

The beach house is located on Shelter Island.

Who designed the beach house?

The beach house was designed by Workstead, a design studio.

What is the style of the beach house?

The beach house has a low-key but subtly luxe style.

What are some notable features of the beach house?

Some notable features of the beach house include its design elements like a custom built-in daybed, a floating fireplace, and a cedar-clad sauna.

Is the beach house available for vacation rentals?

No information is provided about whether the beach house is available for vacation rentals. It is suggested to contact the owners or rental agencies for more information.

Are pets allowed in the beach house?

No information is given about the pet policy of the beach house. It is recommended to inquire with the owner or rental agency for any specific pet restrictions.

Can visitors access the beach directly from the house?

Yes, visitors can access the beach directly from the beach house.

What amenities are available at the beach house?

The beach house offers amenities such as a pool, outdoor shower, hammock, and a private garden.

Is parking available at the beach house?

No information is provided about parking availability. It is advisable to inquire about parking facilities when contacting the owner or rental agency.

Can events or parties be hosted at the beach house?

No information is given about hosting events or parties at the beach house. It is recommended to contact the owner or rental agency for any specific event restrictions.

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