Bay Bay House _ 2022

(Fire) Island Getaway

Fire Island, NY _ 1,640 sqft
Architecture, Interior Design
Photo Credit _ Hufft

Just 50 miles lie between Manhattan and Fire Island, but these two places feel worlds apart. Without a skyscraper, paved road, or car in sight, Fire Island is a stark contrast to the booming metropolis.  

Designed as a getaway for a Brooklyn-based couple, Bay Bay House (known as ‘The Navel Observatory’ to those on the island) embraces simplicity and function. Positioned on stilts, the home appears to float on the tall grass reed landscape as you first take it in from the ferry. The same vegetation covers the southside landscape and greets you from the boardwalk.  

The home is situated on the bay of Cherry Grove on Fire Island and intentionally explores the bay window, aiming to enhance natural daylight and establish views of the bay. To maximize the impact of bay windows, we began with designing a footprint that completely builds out to all setbacks and height limitations. Bay windows are traditionally symmetrical, with views that are perpendicular to the house. The asymmetrical nature of the bay windows for Bay Bay House, however, offers a view parallel to the house and out to the bay. These windows are wrapped in Richlite, appearing as black boxes protruding from the cedar plank façade.  

We extended this bay window application to the top of the home, too, creating a unique loft experience. This vertical application provides a view out from the loft and streams daylight through the 2-story volume. And on both the north and south sides of the home, the façade extends with open ribbons framing the view out, operating with the same purpose as a bay window.  

The interior is straightforward in plan, offering just enough space for a few weekend guests. Natural, soft tones are a canvas for light and shadows to bounce around the home, creating moments of drama throughout the day. A wood-burning stove anchors the living space and allows the home to be used year-round.