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Elizabeth Roberts at Home: The Architect’s Own Beach House in Bellport, NY

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Elizabeth Roberts at Home: The Architect’s Own Beach House in Bellport, NY

April 23, 2018

We’ve been fans of architect Elizabeth Roberts for a while now—we included her Brooklyn brownstone in our first Remodelista book—so we were curious when we spotted her Bellport, Long Island, weekend house on Instagram. We immediately emailed Elizabeth to get the story.

The house originally belonged to a Brooklyn-based client of Elizabeth’s, who sold it to her on the condition that she respect the spirit of the 1850s cedar-shingle cottage. “The biggest challenge for me was making the house my own while retaining the thoughtfulness of the previous owner’s decisions,” Elizabeth says. That meant finding a way to brighten the house while implementing only minor changes—no tearing down walls or discarding original materials—both to honor what was there and to stick to her $60,000 budget.

“A big part of my work was making the house feel as open and casual as possible,” Elizabeth says. She removed antique chandeliers and ornate fireplace mantels, swapped out the light fixtures, and lightened the interiors. “I made a conscious decision to lean toward the feel of a beach house—with white floors and walls and simple, summery details,” she says. “The house is definitely more eclectic than I’m used to, but in the end, it’s really fun to be surrounded by good decisions that were not my own.”

Photography by Dustin Aksland and Eric Striffler, courtesy of Elizabeth Roberts.

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Above: Elizabeth removed built-in shelving in the living room and added French doors to access the screened porch and the pool and yard beyond. Walls (and some floors) are painted in Cloud White from Benjamin Moore. The sofa is Muuto’s Rest from ABC Carpet & Home, and the yellow folding chairs are vintage 1979 Masayuki Matsukaze for Kartell. The jute rug is from Target.
Elizabeth met the former owners when they hired her to work on their Brooklyn Heights brownstone. When they later engaged her to remodel a new summerhouse for them in Bellport, they invited the architect and her family to stay in their “old” Bellport house while she was drawing up plans for the new one. Elizabeth, her husband, and her son all fell in love with the place, and when her clients put it up for sale, they jumped at the chance to buy it.

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Above: In the dining room, the architect added a wall-to-wall built-in bench with denim cushions and storage cubbies for board games. The chandelier above the dining table is the three-armed Industrial Chandelier from Workstead.
The house is a 10-minute walk to the Bellport Marina, where locals can board a ferry or hire a boat to access a private community beach. “We just bought a canoe and look forward to rowing ourselves to the beach and elsewhere in the Bellport Bay—there’s so much to explore,” Elizabeth says.

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Above: The view of the dining room from the sun porch. The Salt Chairs in gray are from DWR.
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Above: The kitchen cabinets are oak, salvaged from a defunct pharmacy. The counter stools are Dalfred from Ikea.

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Above: The countertops are walnut and white marble.
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Above: Elizabeth had a sink skirt sewn from a vintage Guatemalan textile.
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Above: The kitchen pendant lights are Hektar from Ikea.
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Above: An original interior window looks into the living room from the kitchen.
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Above: The entryway is lined in the same salvaged oak as the kitchen.
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Above: Elizabeth used a Gjöra bed from Ikea in the master bedroom.
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Above: Elizabeth added a row of Shaker peg rails on the far wall of the bedroom (for more, see Christine’s post Remodeling 101: How Shaker Peg Rails Saved My Summer Sanity).
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Above: The twin beds in her son’s room were left by the previous owners. The Bolivian striped blankets are from L’Aviva Home.
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Above: Elizabeth painted the lower half of the master bathroom paneling white.

Though the house was designed for summer, says Elizabeth, “It feels great in the winter too—the furnishings and white floors and walls feel a bit like a sunroom during the snowy, cold months.”

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Above: A dark blue glass-fronted cabinet was part of an Ikea limited run. The bath rug echoes the colors in Elizabeth’s son’s room, and the floors are painted in Benjamin Moore’s Stormy Monday.
The upstairs bathroom came with a 100-year-old, seven-foot-long porcelain bathtub with original fittings, which meant there was no room for a separate shower or even a closet, according to Elizabeth. “But I didn’t even consider replacing it,” she says (the previous owners had installed a steel beam in the center of the living room to support its weight). “So it remains, and we love it. During the winter months, our guests all soak in that incredible tub, and it’s a highlight.”

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Above: Elizabeth bought the sun porch sofa at auction and had it painted blue and reupholstered. The macramé plant holder is from CB2.
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Above: A Knotty Bubbles  chandelier by Lindsey Adelman hangs above the round dining table in the screened porch.
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Above: The sun porch opens onto the pool and back yard.
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Above: The cedar shingle-clad house dates from 1850; the screened dining porch at left was added later.
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Above: The red barn at the front of the house has extra beds for guests.
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Above: Architect Elizabeth Roberts, her husband, Michael McKnight, and their son, Dean.

For more beach house style from across our sites, see:

Product summary  

Design Within Reach

Salt Chair

$175.00 USD from Design Within Reach

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