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A Hamptons House Built to Withstand the Grandchildren

A few years after their daughters moved from the mountainous western fringe of Austria to the concrete canyons of New York, Konrad and Doris Wuehrer determined to begin a brand new custom.

Instead of anticipating their youngsters to return residence to Austria each summer time — as the girls, Barbara Wuehrer-Engelking and Monika Wuhrer (who makes use of a variant spelling of the surname), have been starting to begin households of their very own — the dad and mom would set up a household trip in the United States, renting a seaside home with room for everybody.

At first, it was Cape Cod. But after a couple of years, when the drive proved too lengthy for the growing variety of grandchildren (the New York-based sisters now have 5 sons between them), they switched to the Hamptons, and located a home in the Springs hamlet of East Hampton.

“We thought it was really good: nature, living, recreation,” mentioned Mr. Wuehrer, 80, a retired mechanical engineer.

It was so good, actually, that as the years and recollections piled up, he mentioned, “we decided to buy a house.”

Finding the proper one, nevertheless, proved difficult. Every home they noticed was too small, too shut to neighbors or in dismal situation.

But the youngsters had some concepts of their very own. Ms. Wuehrer-Engelking, 49, an architect who works on low-income housing and restoration initiatives, had married one other architect, Jerome Engelking, 45, who had expertise designing upscale residential and business buildings at Richard Meier & Partners Architects.

Why not search for land, Mr. Engelking instructed, the place he may design a household residence from the floor up?

The Wuehrers preferred the concept and finally discovered a forested lot of a bit of greater than three acres, bounded on two sides by a nature protect the place Springs meets Amagansett. As Mr. Wuehrer put it, “It’s a really nice property in the middle of the woods, almost like a park.”

“It’s just trees, deer and birds,” Mr. Engelking mentioned, which meant they wouldn’t want to fear about the youngsters disturbing the neighbors. “That sealed the deal.”

The Wuehrers purchased the property for $575,000 in 2014, and Mr. Engelking set to work, with Ms. Wuehrer-Engelking facilitating communications between her father and husband.

“I do architecture, but it’s completely different,” she mentioned of her work, so she let her husband take the lead. “You cannot have two architects with two different opinions.”

Impressed with the secluded, unspoiled web site, Mr. Engelking envisioned a home that may be visually vast open. “I suggested a glass house, to maximize the generous opportunities of the surroundings,” he mentioned.

Mr. Wuehrer was intrigued, however felt home made from wooden can be cozier.

“He wanted something that felt homey, not a machine for living,” Mr. Engelking mentioned. “These two things didn’t necessarily jibe.”

Or not less than they didn’t till Mr. Engelking found IC2 Technologies, an organization in Quebec that makes a glass curtain-wall system with a glue-laminated wooden construction that may ship the openness Mr. Engelking envisioned with the visible heat Mr. Wuehrer needed.

Using this method, Mr. Engelking designed an extended, single-story, 2,500-square-foot home with three bedrooms and a media room at one finish — every with its personal door to the garden exterior — and an open residing, eating and kitchen wing at the different. He used a restricted materials palette, leaving the pine construction uncovered and putting in a radiant heating system in the concrete-slab ground.

“Instead of doing any bold, formal move or loud, ostentatious design, I’d rather be very simple and quiet,” Mr. Engelking mentioned, decreasing the home “to the bare structural minimum.”

On the japanese aspect, the place the three and a half bogs face the driveway, he had vertical cedar slats put in on the exterior, for further privateness. On the western aspect, going through the garden, there are massive, retractable exterior wooden blinds that may fully cowl the floor-to-ceiling glass on sizzling summer time days.

Construction started in May 2016 and took a few 12 months to full, at a value of $500 a sq. foot. But “that included a lot of sweat equity,” mentioned Mr. Engelking, who managed the many contractors and oversaw the work.

The clear home will not be what Mr. Wuehrer initially imagined, however he’s pleased with the outcome. “The conception is very clear, and I like that,” he mentioned. “One side for sleeping, one side for living and dining, and every room has a door to the garden. It provides privacy for everybody staying in the house.”

But extra essential, he added, “We now have a place where the big family comes together. We have five grandsons in New York, and we have a son here in Austria who comes with another three.”

The New York-based members of the family use the home all through the 12 months, however it’s when everybody comes collectively — and eight boys, between the ages of 1 and 17, tear via the rooms — that Mr. Engelking judges his work.

“The house was designed to withstand hurricane-force winds,” he mentioned. “But the real storm is in the summer, when all the grandchildren are in the house. That’s the stress test.”

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About Scott Morgan

Scott B. Morgan writes for Debt Management and Real Estate sections in AmericaRichest.

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