Sandwiched between a freshwater pond and the Atlantic Ocean, Sagaponak was designed by Bates Masi Architects to maximize the views while at the same time incorporating as much function as possible for a family with four sons while still leaving plenty of room for guests. The family’s brief also included a request for lawn, swimming pool, pool house, garage, and sports court which meant the architects needed to roll up their sleeves and get creative due to the small allowable building envelope that was guided by coastal and wetland zoning limitations not only on the footprint size but also on the structures height.
This was a case of thinking inside the box, meaning the architect first created a perimeter design that maximized the allowable boundaries and then formulated the inner zones accordingly. Once the inside zones where located, as much glazing as possible was placed within the exterior walls to allow for the double sided views. With passers-by being able to see directly through the house to the landscape beyond, privacy screens and louvers where added.
To create a base in accordance with the different grades required due to flood control regulations, the structures plinth was designed as a series of landscaped steps that morph into the entry stairs. By doing this the first floor is raised to the minimum level required.
To maximize the allowable height, width and length of the structure the architects creatively used a steel moment frame that is much thinner then a regular wood or concrete wall, floor or roof.
The materials chosen to clad the home are all based on their durability and long life within the windy, sandy and salty coastal climate. Heavy gauge Corten steel siding is zero maintenance and the 5/8″ plate that protects the base of the home is waterjet cut in a thin geometric pattern to reduce its mass while the Cedar siding and screens above are finished in a traditional Victorian technique that requires no further maintenance. The Cedar finish is an unusual mix of iron sulfate blended with white vinegar and iron filings which once applied react with the wood’s tannins to create a deep penetrating ebony finish. This natural protection helps reduce the homes ecological footprint as does the geothermal heating and cooling and vegetated roofs.
Both sides of the home are entered via a central hallway that is glazed on both ends and clad in cedar within its lengths.
On one side of the hall the social zone begins with the media room that can be opened up or closed off completely from the living room via a wall of operable partitions that stack neatly out of the way, much the same way the wall of glazings does.
The living room is flanked on either side by views of water while a beautiful fireplace creates a central viewpoint. A fun moment of whimsy within the room is the row of 4 ship light pendants suspended from the ceiling.
On the other side of the living room is the dining room with a double table set up large enough for 14 – wow. The cedar clad ceiling and louvered wall combined with the dark grey tabletops and chairs gives the room a beach yet intimate aesthetic befitting the amazing views.
The louvered cedar wall not only separates the dining room from the kitchen eating area but it also is a wine rack and light fixture.
The kitchen is divided into a work zone and an eating zone that just happens to also sit up to 14. A bar area over the island does double duty by offering a place to sit and converse with the cook while meals are being prepared, and by hiding the kitchen mess from those eating at the table.
The kitchen, like the rest of the house, features cedar planks on its ceilings but it also incorporates them on the island facade and tabletop. Corian is used on the countertops and the cabinetry is kept to a flat profile with inset handles.
All but one of the bedrooms are upstairs, including the master suite which opens to a terrace protected by clear tempered glass safety railings.
The ensuite to the master bedroom is a luxury spa setting that features more corian in its counters and towel bars.
Bates Masi Architects
Photography by Michael Moran