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What's It Like to Live Inside a Work of Art?

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Architect Michael Haverland is in the news lately with the completion of Calvin Klein's house on Meadow Lane in Southampton. Tucked away in Springs is an earlier house of his, done for clients David Steward and M. Pierre Friedrichs, which overlooks Accabonac Harbor. (You wonder if Calvin, who is reportedly annoyed that curious folk are peering into his glass house—hey, who could have foreseen that?—shouldn't have taken inspiration from this house and asked for a solid façade to face the street.)

This house pays tribute to twentieth century architectural and design masters, names like Frank Lloyd Wright (a particular favorite of the owners), Mies van der Rohe, Robert Venturi (with whom Michael Haverland once interned), and Le Corbusier. One of the most striking features of the building is the textured concrete, a nod to Wright's "textile block" houses built in the 1920s in Los Angeles. Once you're inside, of course, most striking is the beautiful view of the outdoors.

So what is it like to live inside a work of art? We sat down with David Steward and found out.

What's your favorite feature of the house?
We love living in a glass house. We are really connected to nature and we love even the nastiest weather because it can be so beautiful to watch. And thankfully Ben Kuprinski, our contractor, built a house that is absolutely rock solid even in the worst weather. And when the weather is nice, we have lots of full height doors to open for the breeze.

Would you ever commission an architect and build another new house or is this it?
Yes, yes, yes. We really enjoyed the design collaboration with Michael Haverland and would love to build another home.

Did you consider other house styles?
No. And any future projects would also be resolutely modern and rigorous.

Why Springs?
We looked at vacant land from Water Mill to Amagansett and when we found this piece of property we just knew it was right. The plot was large and open with big sky and waterfront, yet very very private. It's great to be so close to all the hustle and bustle of East Hampton village, yet to be in total privacy surrounded by nature.

We have grown to really love Springs. It's a real community and a place with history, not just a bit of land like so many other areas in East Hampton. Pierre lives here full time and is on the board of the Springs Improvement Society, which manages Ashawagh Hall and supports the community in many ways. (Plus we would be hard-pressed to have 20 guinea fowl and chickens in the village!)

What were some of the hard parts, or features you wanted to include but had to get rid of for various reasons?
Well we rented a house in St Barth's for many years where the living room was totally open on two sides as the walls completely tucked inside other walls—and we just loved that open air feeling. So originally we envisioned the glass walls of the house folding up (like those accordion pleat partitions in banquet rooms) and completely melding the outdoors and indoors. A buddy of ours had an even better idea—have the walls drop down into the basement. Sadly, neither proved practical nor economical. But we do have 14 foot high operable French doors to open for the breeze. And that's pretty sweet!
· Michael Haverland [Official Site]