September 13, 2017
Bryan Young Builds a Ground-Up Westhampton Beach House That Connects With Nature
Bryan Young, of Young Projects, builds a modern jewelbox for his family's retreat in Westhampton.
by Deborah L. Martin photographer Costas Picadas
IN 2011, ARCHITECT BRYAN YOUNG purchased a 1960s ranch-style home in Westhampton, with the intention of doing a somewhat modest interior renovation. He was about two weeks away from completion when the unthinkable happened. The home burned to the ground, leaving only the foundation. "About 80 percent of the house is built on the existing foundation, which makes an interesting start for a project," says Young. "Your footprint is locked in, but everything vertical is completely open."
After a year of trying to figure out what to do next, and sorting through various insurance and administrative
issues, Young acquired a construction loan and decided on a timeline. Ultimately he completed the project in a staggering nine months, with the help of Sag Harbor contractor, Vital Habitats. "I approached Vital with design development-level drawings, and it was enough to get us going. We resolved a lot of details in the field." Young continues, "When an architect and a contractor can work together harmoniously you can really save a lot of time and money. That's not the way building projects often go; we found a way to work fluidly throughout the project."
The 2100-square-foot, four-bedroom home has a low-slung front façade—eight feet four inches high and 100 feet long—that belies the open drama of the interior. With its cantilevered roof and clean lines, it evokes a classic midcentury feel, mixed with a California, indoor-outdoor vibe. Young says, "We resolved the geometry that exists from the front of the house to the back in a series of facets that lead you through the space and out into the deck and pool area." The approximately 500-square-foot living area is more intimate, and as the ceiling unfolds, the space becomes more expansive and leads to the dining area and then outside. "The ceiling gets higher and the glass doors expand the space, and you can really feel the flow through the house. Outdoor space is really what it's all about, and the deck is an extension of the living room and the dining room."
Young says that even in cooler weather the family and their guests move between the indoor and outdoor spaces. And although they also have an apartment in the city, this home has become their primary residence. "It's not just a beach bungalow. It's beautiful in the winter too, and there is a real connection to the outdoors. The property has some beautiful specimen trees and it suits our lifestyle. We are three houses back from the bay so you can smell the salt air.
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