A new build with views of the Long Island Sound becomes a dressed-up casual beach house with classic period style.
By Andrea Barbalich | Photography by James Merrell
The highly rated school district drew a family of five to Rye. But they couldn’t find a house they loved, so they bought a home one lot away from the Long Island Sound, lived in it for a couple of years, tore it down, and replaced it with their ideal home.
One goal: to have the best possible water views from the master bedroom — achieved with the use of satellite imagery. Another: to have a strong connection between the inside of the house and the outdoor space.
The result, as described by architect Douglas VanderHorn: “a dressed-up casual beach house.” He spoke with Westchester Home about how he achieved this couple’s dream.
When designing the kitchen, VanderHorn received two special requests from the mom of three, who is an avid cook, along with her 14-year-old daughter: a Lacanche range and a pot filler. The blue-gray range, its custom hood, and the backsplash made of one piece of statuary marble make a striking centerpiece in the room. The poplar cabinets were painted on-site and feature brushed-nickel hardware; those with glass fronts are lit from within. “And the contrasting blue island is fun,” says VanderHorn.
Front of the House
The home is new but doesn’t look it. “We wanted the house to feel like an older home,” VanderHorn says. “From the front, it looks like a classic period home from the 1930s.” Shingle-style homes are often symmetrical, but the front of this home is symmetrical in the center. Highlights include the welcoming front porch and windows with a Queen Anne muntin pattern at the top. “It looks like a nice old house,” VanderHorn says.
Back of the House
Key to achieving the desired view from the master bedroom: two wings that come off the center of the house at 45-degree angles. The master bedroom is in one of those wings. The shape creates a more whimsical feel in the back of the home, in contrast to the formal feel of the front. “By bending the house around a terrace, we also created an outdoor space that all the primary rooms can access,” VanderHorn says. “This creates a nice indoor-outdoor connection.”
The Family Room
The sky blue grasscloth wallcovering sets a soothing tone in the family room. The flat-screen TV is set into the paneling above the fireplace, which is on the other side of the outdoor fireplace. “The chimney does double duty,” says VanderHorn. Overhead is a tray ceiling with V-groove board and patterned beams.
The Dining Room
In the dining room, the tall wainscot paneling has a recessed molding detail, and the wallpaper is custom from Gracie.
The passage from the entry hall to the living room features Colonial-style elliptical archways.
The Butler’s Pantry
The butler’s pantry combines function with beauty in the form of high-gloss lacquered paint, a walnut countertop, a beveled-glass mirrored backsplash, and a hammered-nickel sink.
Up the Stairs
The stairway from the entry hall to the second floor is a work of art, featuring a walnut handrail and urn finial. The balusters alternate in three patterns, and each step has a carved decorative bracket.
The Master Bath
A marble mosaic floor leading to a freestanding Waterworks tub set into a bay window lends a spa feeling to the master bath. The polished-nickel fixtures are by Horus, and the pendant lighting is from Circa.
The Rec Room
“The rec room in the basement is a place for the kids to hang out with their friends,” says VanderHorn. The room has a comfortable seating area, built-in bunk beds for sleepovers, and a TV and pingpong table. A doorway leads to the pool area. But the ultimate draw is the indoor sport court, accessed through rolling barn doors to the right of the flag artwork and situated under the three-car garage. “That’s a place to throw a lacrosse ball in the wintertime,” says VanderHorn.
The rec room, with its mahogany bar sporting brass fittings and glass shelves with a mirror behind them, is a place for grown-ups, too.
The study features cherry beams and cabinetry and a coffered ceiling. A nautical theme is carried through in the painting to the right of the fireplace and the mantelpiece detailing, which alludes to the hull of a ship.