Tour a Montauk Home that Takes Cues from Nature

A chic, streamlined retreat settles in nicely against a verdant backdrop in Montauk.
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In the living room, a mid-20th-century Danish teak credenza scored on 1stDibs faces off against a rug and coffee table from RH and a sofa from Homenature. Photograph by Tria Giovan.

As residents of the Hamptons, interior designer Farrin Cary and architect Nick Martin are both intrinsically familiar with the landscape and well versed in restraint, preferring to take their cues from nature. But the property featured in this story threw them a curve ball: The one-acre spread funnels 45 degrees to a low point in the center, forming what looks like a kettle hole. “We were dealing with several constraints, including drainage issues and tight setbacks,” Martin recalls of the project. “However, the site is also wonderfully unique, since its forested view is so uncommon in the Hamptons. The goal was to retain the indigenous woodland and animal life and disturb as little as possible, to feel really connected to the earth.”

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Whimsical rattan pendants from Serena & Lily hang above a Compaq Arabescato slab counter from Bridgehampton Stone & Mosaic. Photograph by Tria Giovan.

Indeed, Martin’s 4,000-square-foot flat-roofed minimalist structure is so seamlessly embedded into the property, it seems as if it were always meant to be there. Hemmed in by walls of concrete and stone, a long drive curves gracefully down the hill to the entry façade, where the home appears to be a single story, although four bedrooms are deftly tucked into a lower level beneath the front elevation. These offer both privacy and direct access to the yard, outdoor entertaining area, pool, and pool house. The architect deeply considered how the clients would experience the outdoors in relation to both the home and the surrounding forest. “I looked at the geometry of the structure in terms of positive and negative space,” says Martin, who devised an outdoor sitting area beneath a pergola that “offers a connection to the house.” Accessed via the main living area, it beckons with a dining table, ample sofas, and an outdoor fireplace.

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A surfboard adds a Montauk vibe to the downstairs den. Photograph by Tria Giovan.

Interior and exterior materials are intentionally commingled to achieve a comprehensive whole—particularly dark beams that have been charred and oiled in the style of shou sugi ban, the Japanese weatherproofing technique. Along with oak, stone, and cement, the overall palette is soothing, texturally interesting, and awash with light, thanks to five large skylights punctuating the flat roof.

In deference to this subtle framework, the decor sings in a low-key way. “Farrin has a certain sophistication about her,” Martin says of Cary. “We share a similar ideology about creating natural, yet elegant spaces.” A California native, Cary is adept at bringing the outdoors in. “I wanted to preserve the most beautiful aspects of the architecture and light,” she says, “so I didn’t overcrowd the rooms with furnishings.” Woven light fixtures, vintage accessories, and streamlined seating pieces covered in family-friendly, durable fabrics add character without compromising “the lines of the house, which are lovely and very plumb. The rounded fixtures stand out and cast a beautiful glow at night.” The designer and her clients let loose a bit in the pool house, which doubles as a second office space. “We went with a playful blue fern wallpaper and 1950s-style furniture,” says Cary. “Even though the house is minimalist and has a lot of clean lines, it’s also inviting and warm. During the entire project, integrating the furnishings with the architecture was the end goal.

The print version of this article appears with the headline: Hidden Gem.