Through a series of subtle transformations, Selim Koder attempted to uncover few hidden qualities of what was originally a modest structure.
Built in the 19th century on a family compound in Bridgehampton, New York, this two-storey Victorian clapboard house was one of a twin intended for the two daughters of a gentleman farmer. The compound which included a large barn has gone through a torrent of change that has adversely affected the farming communities of Long Island. Subsequently, the land was sub-divided leaving the house orphaned from the rest of the structures on the original land.
In later years, the house endured further attempts to isolate it from the surrounding – thus favoring a quasi-suburban approach. The sense of entry and hierarchy were sacrificed. The landscape became a vast yard lacking in scale and in relationship to the house’s points of entry. By the time Koder was commissioned, there were five separate entry doors strewn all over the façade!
The owners and the architect agreed on the necessity to bring the house forward into the landscape. A twelve-foot deep covered porch was envisaged and was to act as an intermediate exterior room between the vast yard and the living room inside. The porch wrapped around the three sides of the house collecting few of the access doors and windows – thus allowing an easy flow of circulation between the exterior and the interior. The porch interior details evoke the subtle intricacies of what was originally built. The Victorian corbels were applied in the same clarity expressing the structural connections and support. The roof leaders remained exposed as in the original house. The upper bedrooms overlooked the vast roof of the new porch. In order to avoid an unpleasant sight of black asphalt, Koder convinced the client to invest in a standing seam copper roof. Eventually, the porch became a welcome element and not a mere functional burden; restoring the house back to the landscape. In return the landscape was structured to address the sense of entry. Koder used a winding path leading up from the pea pebble driveway to the gracious steps joining the kitchen and dining room entries.
Other renovations involved a new second floor deck serving the master bedroom. Koder embedded this deck within the mansard roof of the dining room below and can barely be seen from the garden. The owners now enjoyed the open space from their master bedroom tucked away under the large canopy of the elm tree.