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.
Above: The living spaces and the family bedrooms are separated by a covered breezeway.
Above: The dominant wooden beams extend from interior to exterior, establishing the rhythm of the house.
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.
Techler Design Group was the associated architect on the this project