Blaze Makoid, a Hamptons-based architect, recently renovated an East Hampton home. The project, affectionately referred to as “Old Orchard,” caught the eye of many, so Curbed reached out to the architect to gain a better understanding of his ideas, inspirations, and design concepts.
The home is 10,000-square-feet in size, and the main concern of the new owners was to gain an understanding for the needs of their family as they spend more time in their second home on the East End.
Read more about the project on Blaze Makoid’s online description of the project.
What was the main inspiration for the renovations you made in this home?
Our inspiration really came from the constraints of the existing site and home. The site is quite narrow and lot clearing was already maxed out. The house was a one story box with grade dropping away at the far end. We developed a strategy that allowed for expansion primarily along the long axis, thus taking advantage of the grade change, while maintaining the appearance of a one story structure.
We knew that the house was going to become quite long, so from the beginning we were interested in how best to manipulate that reality in a way that would mitigate this concern. Our client also requested that we warm up the appearance of the existing house, which was clad in a light gray metal skin with white sheetrock walls and bluestone pavers for the floors throughout the house.
Can you tell me about the design concept? What were you trying to do with the space?
Our diagram was quite simple. We decided to insert a wood ‘tube’ approximately midway into and perpendicular to the existing metal box. This tube would act as a signal from the parking area as to where the front door was (since the lot was so narrow, you were forced to approach along the side of the house), create a covered entry that passes through the house, and become a covered outdoor dining area on the rear of the house.
Next, we located two wood-clad additions at either end of the metal box. Each of these (home office in the front and two story master suite at the far end) were separated from the existing form by small glass bridges. We used the bridges and level changes to help break up the perception of what, in reality, is a very long house.
Can you tell me more about the wooden tunnel leading to the backyard?
We conceived the wood “tube” to serve as the crossroads of the house. We wanted the form to be strong and readable, so we not only clad it in afromosia, but we lifted the floor level in this area up about 18”.
This creates a feeling of it floating and allows the floor of the tube to be coplanar to both the entry and the covered outdoor dining room. Lastly, we created a massive skylight that spans the intersection of the wood form with that of the existing house.
What's the outdoor space like in this home, and how does it blend with the interior?
The house now has a series of outdoor spaces that accommodate a number of activities. The outdoor dining room, located in the tube provides a covered, open air space where you can have breakfast, lunch or dinner, is convenient to the kitchen through a secret door, and you don’t have to worry about you or your food baking in the midday summer sun.
The pool is located to encompass the foreground view from the living room and to visually connect to the new stand-alone pool cabana. The cabana is designed to echo the language and strategy of the main house. We created a larger, trellised area framed in gray aluminum that has an outdoor fireplace, lounge area on one side and an open air, outdoor shower on the other. Located within this frame is a small afromosia box that contains a bath and changing room.
How do you think the design fits the Hamptons? What would you have done differently had this home been located somewhere else?
There’s an incredibly rich history of modern residential design in the Hamptons. Many of the early classics are still around, but unfortunately, many are also no longer. I think this had as much to do with scale as anything else. These early projects were very small (by today’s standards) weekend homes, built on extremely modest budgets. They were truly seen as summer cottages more than second homes, as they are today. I opened the business with the understanding that we would only practice modern architecture and I feel that this is the perfect environment for that. That said, I feel that way pretty much anywhere.
As to what we would have done differently had this home been located elsewhere, that is hard to say. Our projects are so much a response to the particular site. Our design efforts really start there, so it would be almost impossible to unwind the decision after decision that get us the the final solution. I think our work reflects that way of working and it’s one of the reasons clients come to us.
- Old Orchard [Blaze Makoid Architecture]