Wooden wonder: Piersons Way draws on Long Island’s local vernacular
Located within an idyllic private oceanfront community in the Long Island town of East Hampton, Piersons Way was designed by the nearby Sag Harbor-based architecture firm Bates Masi for a young couple and their growing family. Located within a context of more traditional buildings, this modern holiday home adopts an unmistakably contemporary design approach, simultaneously incorporating key elements of the local vernacular.
The request for a balance between old and new was a central part of the client’s brief and the architects responded accordingly. The property’s overall forms are clean and simple, and its volume is broken down into several low, unobtrusive and interconnected pitched roof structures. The house’s gable roofs are typical of the area’s potato barns. Inside, the ceiling’s 7-ft-thick glue-laminated wood beams, supported by steel girders and columns, are left exposed on the ground floor, referencing similar local structures.
The linear property has a clear internal arrangement. The ground level’s extensive, L-shaped common areas are complemented by a smaller bedroom volume on the same level. The family’s main private areas are located upstairs and include three further bedrooms and a master bedroom suite. Outdoor spaces include a pool, a fire pit and a spa offering spectacular views of the ocean.
A slope was built on one end of the plot, starting from ground level and reaching up to the second floor. This helps the house appear smaller and more discreet from the street, while also ensuring an element of privacy for the owners, protecting the garden.
Timber is the main material, cladding the house both inside and out. The seamless ground floor wooden ceiling becomes a 12in by 90in long cantilever that creates shade for the outdoor areas; inside, round recesses are carved into it in order to house bespoke lighting elements. The same method of carving is used to form custom furniture around the house, while the staircases feature thick timber treads that reference the natural surroundings.
The house’s external skin is constructed in cedar wood, weathering steel and Alaskan yellow shakes, the former chosen for its durability and low maintenance. It is set to age beautifully over time, matching nearby structures and making this weekend retreat feel comfortably at home in its locale.