Home Improvement

All he needed was a surf hut. He has much more.

When Mark Berryman arrived at the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank in New York in 2011 after years in Mali and Turkey, he became homesick.

“I grew up in Laguna Beach, California, a very special beach town with an artistic surf feeling,” said 45-year-old Berryman. “I went to the beach every day after school when I was a kid there.”

Now he spent his days in the middle of asphalt and concrete and said, “I missed surfing. I missed the beach. I always thought I’d end up in Laguna Beach again. “

When Mr. Berryman settled in New York and focused on his career in impact investing, which involves investing for social and environmental goals, he found that Long Island’s East End could offer much of what he was missing. It wasn’t long before he started looking for his own surf shack in the surf-centric hamlet of Montauk. But in the end it was a small neighborhood on the east side of Amagansett, which lies between the Montauk Highway and the sea, and won his heart.

“The Amagansett dunes had the most relaxed feeling for me. Many of the streets aren’t even paved, so you’ll have to walk down a dirt path to the beach, ”said Berryman, who was also impressed by the presence of a nearby boutique coffee shop and record shop.

When in 2014 he found a half-acre cottage – a converted and expanded garage from the 1940s that was once part of a larger property designed and owned by Alfred A. Scheffer, a well-known Hamptons architect – , he moved quickly, buy it for $ 1.5 million and plan a modest renovation.

“I probably invested $ 200,000 alone, which was stupid, just to make it really cute and cool and livable,” he said. He eventually regretted the cost because he found the house was in trouble as it was low on a dark, damp part of the property.

“The house was literally built on earth,” he said. “There was no real foundation and the walls were very thin. It got musty and damp because there was no proper insulation. “

By 2016, he decided he needed to take action and briefly listed the property for sale before realizing he wasn’t ready to give it up. A better course of action, he decided, was to demolish the existing cottage and start over. For help creating a new home and landscape, he reached out to Paul Masi, a co-surfer and director of Bates Masi + Architects, an East Hampton-based company known for its clean, modernist connections.

As Mr. Masi was studying the area bordering the noisy freeway and Long Island Rail Road to the north, he noticed that the cottage appeared to have been pushed into a dark corner of the property to keep it out of traffic as much as possible. For better light and better air and to expand the usable part of the yard outside, he suggested moving the new house closer to the center of the property. Since it was in a floodplain, the land also had to be about two meters higher than it had to be. To cope with the noise, Mr. Masi wanted to design a house with a thick front wall that would create an “acoustic shadow” to shield the interior spaces and the new back yard behind it.

“The easiest way to control the sound is with just the mass, whether it’s stone or masonry,” Masi said. “We looked at stone, concrete and brick, but it was really just out of our budget.” Then he found a soundproofing material called bulk vinyl, which is commonly used for indoor floors and walls, and devised a method of incorporating it into the facade by sandwiching panels of material between vertical weathered steel brackets and covering them with cedar siding.

The resulting 1,762-square-foot home is opaque at the front with no openings except for the front door, which is protected by its own wall of cedar wood and bulk-laden vinyl. As you step inside, the outside sounds vanish and the house opens with a glimpse through a 28-foot expanse of floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors that connect to a new deck and fire pit. A combined kitchen, dining and living area is in the middle of the house; The primary suite is on one side and a guest room and den on the other.

Together, Mr. Berryman and Mr. Masi developed a minimalist range of materials. The inner walls are made of the same white cedar as the outer walls. Floors, walls and cabinets are made of white oak; and the stone in the kitchen and bathroom is sandblasted Gaja Venus quartzite. Mr. Berryman, a design lover who chose all the furniture, didn’t want to see many lights, so Mr. Masi recessed light boxes in the ceilings and vertical light slots in the walls.

After almost two years of construction, the house was completed last August at a cost of around 1.6 million US dollars. Now, said Mr. Berryman, he sometimes goes surfing twice a day. But he considers the house more than just a short vacation. “It’s not just a summer house or a weekend house,” he said, adding that he wants to spend as much time there in all four seasons as in the city.

“I love this community and I love this crowd,” he said. “Building a modern home that blends in with the environment has always been a dream.”

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