Montauk Beach House - By Rebekah Caudwell Design
The property is a contemporary house in Montauk, Long Island, by architect Steven Harris, built in 2007, now interior designed by Rebekah Caudwell Design.
The main entrance of the house is accessed from the driveway at lower ground level. On this level, after the entrance hall and mudroom, the space opens into a large games room with a concealed wet bar. There is also a cinema room and a children’s bedroom with a bathroom. The cinema and children’s bedroom both have windows looking onto the swimming pool. A set of stairs in the entrance hall leads up to a guest wing with three further en-suite guest rooms. Through the games room another set of stairs leads up to the ground floor where there is an open-plan living room, kitchen and dining area, plus a w/c. A final set of stairs from this floor leads up to the master suite, which is its own private unit. There is a courtyard between the guest wing and the kitchen / dining / lounge area. To the other side of this area is the swimming pool and hot tub leading onto the lawn, and beyond that the bluff that descends to the sea.
“Okay, I confess I am totally hooked on blues and greens. I start a project determined to veer from them but they always find me sooner or later. But here with a swimming pool running along one entire length of the house casting an aqua glow, the rolling green lawn, and the sea stretching endlessly beyond, the choice was easy” says Rebekah.
The back of this Hamptons home that Rebekah and husband Nick rescued from bland obscurity is hugged by an L-shape of swimming pool blue, with the azure sea beyond. Rebekah and Nick fell for the house’s spare and simple architecture, which conceals interesting shifts of level and sightlines. The front of the house isn’t at all ostentatious – quite unusual for the Hamptons which can tend towards overblown faux pillars and porticoes, but Rebekah and Nick liked its discreet character and location. Once you walk in you realise its not short on beauty, its just all at the back of the house. And the architect also had the grace to allow the views and landscape their say.
The property’s varying levels create an open flow, yet quieter, more private nooks and interesting turns are interspersed throughout. “The juxtaposition of cubes and cantilevering is quite striking, so we wanted to let the architecture still hold sway but we could see ways to create so much more interest and life inside its spaces” says Rebekah.
She had been eyeing this house for over a year but was biding her time, watching the market and aware they did not really have the funds for a new purchase. The seaside house is in Montauk, at the very eastern tip of the Hamptons, also known as The End. Formerly excluded from the Hamptons proper, it’s now the hip place to hang out, with some great waterside restaurants, juice bars and of course, Soul Cycle.
The house had been presented for sale in a way that was plain and devoid of personality. Expanses of unbroken cream travertine, white walls and white surfaces, and Rebekah felt the pull to wave a magic wand. “It felt more like walking into a very expensive hospital rather than a home. I think when the architecture is fairly severe, spare ascetic interiors simply feel too cold. A house should never feel like a mausoleum. It needs to feel like a living entity, with its own pulse. I am a maximalist at heart but I did try to reign myself in a little with this house as I didn’t want to drown its subtlety with too much ‘stuff’” Rebekah adds.
With Rebekah’s love of color she was itching to put some soul into the place. Once purchased, she swept through the interlocking series of white spaces spreading color, pattern and warmth. Go-to shades of turquoises and teals, zingy greens and luminous aqua woke things up. The curvaceous mid-century designs, Jonathan Adler numbers and thought provoking art breathed life into the house. The sculpture by Beth Carter in the living room Rebekah says, “muses on our preconceptions of storytelling and our obsessions with ‘goodies’ and ‘baddies’; how if you tilt the angle of the story these distinctions are less clear or even totally subverted. The Patricia Traub oil painting in the master bedroom is similarly challenging. Patricia works in the style of an old master, but poses very contemporary questions about humanity and our relationship with the animal world”.
“Nick and I love working with different styles of architecture. I wouldn’t say that we have a favorite though I am extremely drawn to history and perhaps Nick is more taken with contemporary design. We tend to represent the yin and the yang both in business and our personal lives. My interior design is always partially informed and inspired by the architecture and its setting, but color is always the main springboard.” adds Rebekah.
This weekend getaway home came with a few layout quirks but Rebekah turned them to her advantage. The lower ground entry floor which links guest wing and main wing had initially felt bare unfriendly and distant, a no-man’s land, but she reimagined this transitional space as a games zone – complete with a pool table, topped in vivid turquoise, bold geometrics and ikats. It now evokes a joyful, holiday spirit that continues in the guest rooms.
When it came to the games room, the space was previously an undefined corridor that seemed devoid of purpose, other than as a link between living areas and guest bedrooms. “I wanted to inject fun and create a family hub on this lower floor”. There is an interesting nook at the end of this space with odd juxtapositions of items Rebekah says they have found on their travels throughout the years. “The painting is by an amazingly talented young LA based artist called Rachid Bouhamidi. It’s a joy to help support young artists”.