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The Simple Life: A Montauk Beach House for a Creative Couple

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The Simple Life: A Montauk Beach House for a Creative Couple

July 31, 2017

When Elisa Restrepo, cofounder of the shoe line Dieppa Restrepo, and her husband, Dylan Dodd, who owns NYC restaurants Karasu, Walter’s, Walter Foods, and Barrio Chino, went looking for a place to escape the city, they chose a three-story split-level house in the “sleepy surfing town” of Montauk and hired Brooklyn architects Space Exploration to overhaul it.

They’d worked together before: Space Exploration had renovated the couple’s Brooklyn apartment (whose kitchen, incidentally, won Remodelista’s 2014 Best Professional Kitchen Design award). The firm also designed two of Dodd’s restaurants—Walter’s and Karasu, both in Brooklyn.

Although the house was standing, it required a full gut remodel that included replacing windows, moving skylights, modifying the deck and driveway, and extensive landscaping, in a neighborhood “that still feels untamed by development.” The remodel took a year’s work, from first meeting to the last item on the punch list. Firm principal Kevin Greenberg walked us through the changes.

Photography by Kevin Greenberg, courtesy of Space Exploration.

 The dining table in the back is made of a repurposed marble slab from the owners&#8
Above: The dining table in the back is made of a repurposed marble slab from the owners’ Brooklyn home, with legs found on Etsy.

To meet their clients’ desire for a house with a “light, unpretentious, and casual feel,” Space Exploration used light neutrals and pale woods to frame Dodd and Restrepo’s eclectic furniture collection from travels in Morocco, Europe, and Central America.

The kitchen and main living space are on the top floor—&#8
Above: The kitchen and main living space are on the top floor—”the flexible social center for the house,” said Greenberg—from which the family can enjoy views of nearby Fort Pond Bay over the tree canopy. They anchored the living space here because the top floor “enjoys the best views, an abundance of natural light, and accommodates an open-plan layout perfect for hosting and socializing,” said Greenberg.

Colombian-born Restrepo was closely involved in the process. She and Greenberg had long conversations about the tiniest details, including “the finish of the plumbing trims and the placement of the kitchen cabinet hardware. She has a keen eye for materials, color, texture, and proportion,” he says.

The kitchen cabinets are high-gloss Ringhult from Ikea, and the cabinet pulls are Japanese Futagami Brass Towel Bars. The Miele vent hood is concealed behind a cabinet, and its exhaust duct is hidden behind a custom cabinet detail on top.
Above: The kitchen cabinets are high-gloss Ringhult from Ikea, and the cabinet pulls are Japanese Futagami Brass Towel Bars. The Miele vent hood is concealed behind a cabinet, and its exhaust duct is hidden behind a custom cabinet detail on top.
 The kitchen countertops are marine-grade Baltic birch plywood, which were intended as a placeholder but eventually won over the owners. The brass kitchen faucet and apron sink are both from Rohl. A single kitchen window frames a view of the surrounding spruce and sumac trees.
Above: The kitchen countertops are marine-grade Baltic birch plywood, which were intended as a placeholder but eventually won over the owners. The brass kitchen faucet and apron sink are both from Rohl. A single kitchen window frames a view of the surrounding spruce and sumac trees.

The house&#8
Above: The house’s main entryway is on the middle floor, off the winding deck. Greta Grossman’s Cobra Sconce for Gubi illuminates the foot of the stairs.
&#8
Above: “To preserve an honest, informal feeling in the architecture,” says Greenberg, “we chose to expose and express the house’s structure wherever possible.” They revealed the house’s original wood flooring framing, painted it white, and left it visible on the ceilings. The entire house is painted in Benjamin Moore’s Super White, with a flat finish on the walls and satin on the ceilings.

The stair railing is meant to echo the exposed timber &#8
Above: The stair railing is meant to echo the exposed timber “ceiling-scape” of the entry level, and it went through several revisions. “We wanted the architectural details to err on the quiet side, and several other initial ideas for the stair railing felt too intricate or luxe,” said Greenberg. In the end, they staggered the size of the lumber for visual appeal and to keep the stairwells safe for young kids.
In the corner of the entryway sits a primitive driftwood chair left behind by the previous owners. The master bedroom entry is to the right. The floors in the middle and top levels are wide-planked red oak, first bleached, then whitewashed.
Above: In the corner of the entryway sits a primitive driftwood chair left behind by the previous owners. The master bedroom entry is to the right. The floors in the middle and top levels are wide-planked red oak, first bleached, then whitewashed.
 The master bedroom makes use of textiles sourced by the owners from all over the world. The Sony television and sound bar are so cleanly mounted that they manage to fit with the surroundings.
Above: The master bedroom makes use of textiles sourced by the owners from all over the world. The Sony television and sound bar are so cleanly mounted that they manage to fit with the surroundings.
Space Exploration moved and enlarged windows throughout the house to better frame views and take in more light. They chose frames with minimal detailing &#8
Above: Space Exploration moved and enlarged windows throughout the house to better frame views and take in more light. They chose frames with minimal detailing “to emphasize the connection between indoors and out.”
The brass fixtures in the master bathroom are from Rohl.
Above: The brass fixtures in the master bathroom are from Rohl.
The master bath sports shower tiles from Mosaic House.
Above: The master bath sports shower tiles from Mosaic House.
The bottom floor contains an office, kids&#8
Above: The bottom floor contains an office, kids’ bedroom, and the sunken lounge space, or “solarium,” shown here. It opens directly onto the grounds via the glass doors at the far end of the room. The walnut shelving system at left is by Atlas Industries.
Family surfboards are stashed in the corners of the sunroom. Floors are high-­quality plywood with a glossy white epoxy finish—the idea of client Dylan Dodd, who Greenberg says &#8
Above: Family surfboards are stashed in the corners of the sunroom. Floors are high-­quality plywood with a glossy white epoxy finish—the idea of client Dylan Dodd, who Greenberg says “has great taste and isn’t afraid to make bold and sometimes openly playful design suggestions.”
Leather handles by Mockett on the doors to the kids&#8
Above: Leather handles by Mockett on the doors to the kids’ room. The couple has two young children, Felix and Lucia.
The existing cedar siding and outdoor lighting was original to the house, which sits atop a densely wooded bluff at the end of a rugged dirt road in Montauk.
Above: The existing cedar siding and outdoor lighting was original to the house, which sits atop a densely wooded bluff at the end of a rugged dirt road in Montauk.

Montauk Beach House by Space Exploration | Remodelista

Above: The floor plan of the bottom level, with office, kids’ bedroom, and sunroom.

 The middle floor with entryway and master bedroom is shown at left, and the top floor with kitchen and living space at right.
Above: The middle floor with entryway and master bedroom is shown at left, and the top floor with kitchen and living space at right.

For more in Montauk, see Ruschmeyer’s in MontaukMontauk Surf Lodge, and House Call: Roman & Williams in Montauk.

N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on September 18, 2016.

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