I was introduced to Gary Kline in the summer of 2012. He had recently purchased a modern spec house in East Hampton, New York, which needed “a little help.” It’s not unusual for our clients (or prospective clients) to ask for our thoughts on a property they’re interested in. The house was on a long, narrow, wooded lot, bordered by scenic easements that guaranteed privacy and quiet.
The house itself, however—a one-story shoebox clad in grey metal and which, in a failed attempt to “bring the outside in,” utilized bluestone pavers for the floors throughout—was cold, cold, cold. Our mission was to renovate, expand, and personalize this anonymous box. We strongly believe that our work is enhanced when we’re engaged with, rather than separated from, talented designers and consultants.
Just before starting this project, I had met David Scott when we were both asked to speak at an event that same summer. He presented a beautiful oceanfront design, and we chatted in a relaxed way that made it feel as if we had known each other for years. I thought this would be a great job for us to collaborate on. For months, David would spend the better part of every Friday in my office, and we would act as sounding boards for each other, our egos checked at the door. To Gary’s credit, he not only recognized this spirit during design reviews, he also dictated to everyone who would subsequently become involved that both David and I were to be consulted on pretty much any and all decisions moving forward.
As we delved into the project, a handful of realizations surfaced. First, materials would play a major role in this transition, in order to push back on the bland metal skin of the existing structure. Second, due to the proportions of the lot, we would be forced to approach the house at its narrow end, so a larger understanding of any design would be all but impossible upon entering. Lastly, due to site restrictions (again), we could add only to both ends of the structure, increasing its length even more. David’s juxtaposition of energizing pieces inserted into soothing backdrops, as well as his ability to conceptualize solutions for managing what were initially unwieldy, out of scale spaces took the home to another level. The mandate from the client was to create interior spaces designed for living, above all else.