From the mid-1700s up to the mid-1800s, Sag Harbor, NY was a prosperous whaling port. Today, the quaint village on the eastern side of Long Island is known more for its boutique shops, beaches, water sports, and compelling architecture. This home, designed by The UP Studio, features a smart, people-first layout and amazing attention to detail. The vision at conception was to create a home with an emphasis on privacy, an abundance of light, building strong connections with the outdoors, and accessing views of the water. It was an ambitious strategy for a home that’s on a corner lot and not located on the waterfront.
While working within constraints like budget, site limitations, and local building requirements, the aspirations of every project The UP Studio undertakes is to create a balance between aesthetics, environment, and performance. John Patrick Winberry, one of the partners at the architectural firm, explains the origins of this project, “We have worked with these particular clients on several other projects before they came to us with this Sag Harbor request. They trusted us and gave us plenty of design freedom, which of course is every architect’s dream job.”
People in the United States now spend almost 90% of their time indoors. Research has shown that increased exposure to light makes people more productive and improves their sense of well-being. It’s not surprising that we often look to designers and architects to help create positive home environments in the places where we spend the most time.
Winberry talks about how his studio thinks about light, “There is this big blazing ball of fire in the sky that effects everything, so our site strategy always starts with the path of the sun. Once we know how the sun will affect the build site, we design the placement of the home and the fenestration around that. It’s why all four of our facades are almost always different. On the south side of this home, a soffit projects beyond the facade to naturally shade the home from the high summer sun without blocking the warm, direct sunlight in winter months.”
In addition to making the best use of natural light and creating the desired aesthetic, managing privacy is a key ingredient in any successful fenestration plan. This particular build site posed some unique challenges.
Winberry explains, “The traditional instinct would be to design the new home to face the street, but since the property is located on a wide street corner, the orientation was flipped to face the rear corner of the yard and the first-floor facade was designed to act as a subtle privacy screen from the street. On the rear of the house, we have floor-to-ceiling glazing featuring Marvin Signature® Modern windows and doors.”
The team at The UP Studio understands the importance of nature and how it can have a positive effect on our moods. Whether a home is located on a small, in-town lot or situated on an expansive country estate, the team tries to leverage a site’s natural landscape.
“It’s important that we bring nature into our architecture," Winberry says. "The abundance of windows and scenic Multi-Slide doors creates wellness for the family by strengthening connections with the outdoors. We also pushed the plunge pool right up against the home where the water seems to flow right indoors.”
When planning a compact home like this one, every square inch counts. One way to get the most square-footage bang for the buck is to take advantage of the flat roof design by adding a patio space on the roof. The relatively low cost for the additional usable space made sense but the real payoff came from the stunning views that the rooftop provided access to.
“The home is located on a land-locked site in a small harbor town without direct water views from the lower levels," Winberry says. "However, by creating habitable space on the roof, we were able to reclaim the spectacular views of Sag Harbor Cove and Noyack Bay that were hidden by the neighboring homes, views that none of the other nearby houses have taken advantage of.”
“We chose the Marvin Modern windows and doors product line on this project specifically because of the clean and narrow sightlines and Modern’s ability to create huge expanses of glass," Winberry says. "We have been using Marvin windows and doors for many years. The huge Modern Casement and Awning windows in this house are noticeably easy to operate. The quality is there. It’s like when you shut the door on a luxury car—It just feels right.”
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