Text description provided by the architects. In many ways, a small house can be more luxurious than a large one because of the casual simplicity it affords. The owners of this little retreat in the dunes appreciated the lifestyle their quirky but comfortable weekend house provided for many years but its flaws needed correcting: space was tight for their growing family, areas of the structure were sagging, and large expanses of glass admitted too much direct sunlight. Also, the form of the house, a series of boxes and turrets, was somewhat awkward looking. The challenge in this major renovation and addition on a restricted site was to add space and amenities while simplifying the form and function of the house into a balanced whole that fit within the owners’ busy lives.
The added spaces tie the house together visually and structurally. The new bedroom and bath on the second floor fills a void in the original composition and takes advantage of the spectacular views of the surrounding dunes. The south wall of this bedroom is a sliding glass door that opens onto a new deck and views of the ocean beyond. The roof cantilevers past the door to form a sunshade that stretches, ribbon-like, past the existing master bedroom windows and down to a new storage closet on the first floor. This ribbon visually knits the addition and the existing house together creating a simpler whole.
The roof of the bedroom also extends to the west, forming part of the frame for a new screen that addresses the house’s structural and sun lighting problems while giving the house its appealing new public face. Steel is hidden within the screen’s frame to stiffen the existing wall that had been bowing out. The screen within is comprised of 16’ long vertical boards heated and twisted 180 degrees. The twisting boards shade the existing living room windows from the harsh sun above and give privacy from the street below to the bedroom. During the day, the interiors are filled with soft reflected light and the views are preserved. At night, when backlit and viewed from the road that descends in front of the house, the twisting boards create visual effects that seem to move as the viewer does.
On the first floor, the addition of a sleek new kitchen allows the space of the former eat-in kitchen to become a proper dining room. The new dining room is ideal for entertaining friends while the kitchen, opening onto a terrace in the private back yard, is a great setting for casual meals with the family. The simple white-on-white theme of the kitchen is carried throughout the renovated interior with bleached floors and white walls that create a bright, clean, relaxed atmosphere that is perfect for a beach getaway.