Growing up close to Buffalo, N.Y., Jonathan Yellen cherished his household’s annual pilgrimage to the seashore. “We’d throw everybody into the station wagon, drive out to Cape Cod, stay in a little two- or three-bedroom cottage a block from the beach, have a phenomenal time and come back sunburned a couple weeks later,” he mentioned. “That’s a really resonant memory for me.”
It was a convention that Mr. Yellen — who’s now 51 and lives in Dallas along with his spouse, Marianna, 42, and daughters Olivia, 13, and Natalie, 11 — was intent on persevering with.
“When Marianna and I got together, one of our early conversations about hopes and dreams was about being able to have something like that for our kids,” he mentioned. “It’s important to me, and she totally got it.”
As a profitable lawyer, he had the assets to go one step additional and construct his personal seashore home. The query was the place.
So each summer season for a number of years, the household went on what Mr. Yellen known as “an annual shopping spree” — renting in numerous locations to audition completely different seashores. “We did Cape Cod, Kiawah, Nantucket, La Jolla and East Hampton,” he mentioned.
It was Montauk that gained them over. “I don’t think there’s a nicer beach in the United States,” he mentioned, including that they have been additionally taken with the easygoing vibe. “Montauk is very real.”
During a go to in 2015, they purchased a termite-ravaged 1960s cottage a block from the seashore for $975,000, with plans to tear it down and construct anew. Then Mr. Yellen contacted Katherine Chia, a schoolmate from Amherst College who had change into an architect and co-based the New York agency Desai Chia Architecture. Although he and Ms. Chia hadn’t spoken in many years, Mr. Yellen had seen her work on-line and was impressed.
The Yellens drew up an extended listing of issues they wished of their home: low-upkeep supplies, privateness from the road, separate research, an outsized kitchen the place they may entertain with out bumping into friends, a shading technique to scale back sudden adjustments in gentle (Ms. Yellen has a sensitivity that may trigger complications), an area the kids may name their very own, and an total sense of peace.
The architects got here again with a proposal that glad these requests partially by taking inspiration from the artists James Turrell, Ellsworth Kelly and Louise Nevelson. “The James Turrell references were really about Marianna’s sensitivity to light, and thinking about how to modulate the light,” Ms. Chia mentioned. “With Ellsworth Kelly and Louise Nevelson, it was about chiaroscuro, and this back and forth in the facade, with dense areas versus airy moments.”
Mr. Yellen was delighted by the conceptual strategy. “They kept us from getting overly suburban or conventional,” he mentioned.
The ultimate design was for a 4-bed room, two-and-a-half-rest room home constructed to the utmost dimension allowed on the lot — 2,950 sq. ft — with out of doors residing house on patios and decks that may make it really feel bigger.
The decrease stage of the home, which is forged-concrete, has three bedrooms and a household room which might be largely the area of the kids. The higher stage is clad in shou-sugi-ban boards, in and out, for the look of wooden that has weathered with age. Tough, finish-grain wood flooring and Caesarstone counters within the kitchen are meant to be fear-free, irrespective of how a lot sand is dragged inside or tomato sauce is spilled.
Upstairs, the master bedroom and research are behind the home, with the lounge, eating space and kitchen on the entrance, searching over wetlands via flooring-to-ceiling, sliding glass doorways that open onto a lined deck. “It’s almost like a treehouse experience, where you’re up in the branches,” Ms. Chia mentioned.
To save power, home windows and a central stairwell have been designed to make the most of pure air flow, and the roof is provided with a photo voltaic array giant sufficient to energy the home. Aran Construction started constructing the home in January 2017 and completed final October, at a value of about $2.5 million.
The Yellens spent all of this previous summer season there — strolling the seashore, training yoga and watching Olivia change into an avid surfer — they usually plan to proceed utilizing the home all year long.
“This is a long-term family house,” Mr. Yellen mentioned. “We can grow older in it, and be in other places as well, but for those critical times of the year” — like Thanksgiving, which they’re wanting ahead to — “it will draw our family together. That’s part of the cleverness of the design.”