Monday, December 29, 2008

Calvin's New House

Here is the lovely (albeit black and white) rendering of the proposed house for Calvin Klein. I love it, love it, love it. I decided to take advantage of the Freedom of Information act (as I have recently learned a bit more about privacy laws) and show it to you all rather than to wait for the architect to get back to me.
The location for this house is just west of Halsey Neck Lane, on the beach. It is intended to replace the castle-like house that exists there now, which is no real loss in my opinion. The new design is classic and modern and clean and totally akin to Calvin Klein's style. It will blend in beautifully within its dune context and be a gem in our midst for a long while.
Update: The architect is Michael Haverland (

Monday, November 17, 2008

209 Lewis Street

Here is another example of a house that has contemporary characteristics but is still harmonious with its context. The contemporary elements are the color of the trim, the direction of the cedar siding on the front gable, the awning windows spanning across the front of the first story of that gable and the vines between them, and the cupola vent on the roof of that gable with the canine weathervane.

The dominant trim color in the village is white. There are plenty of variations though and this is one of them (sorry, not so visible in this photo). A spring green, not to acidic, not sage, and not dark. It works nicely on this house because the rest of it is cedar that has weathered to a beautiful warm grey color and the two colors coordinate very well.

The simple turning of the cedar siding in a vertical direction on the front of the house is the most contemporary detail of all here. A bold but sensitive decision. Vertical siding is not often done well but here it looks great. If the owner's had elected to continue the cedar shingles onto this front wing the result would have been predictable and boring.

The awning windows across the front allow light into the house but also let us know that this elevation and the spaces behind these windows are secondary. The way the vines have been sculpted into rectangular shapes rather than allowed to grow freely and organically also contributes to the contemporary character and they act kind of like a beard on the facade. The litte cupola roof vent with the personalized weather vane on top (sorry, not so visible in the photo) is a common element throughout the village, but here again is done with a little more success. It's not whimsical, an adjective I have come to detest since 70 Moses Lane was built, but entertaining somehow; each time I notice the dog I have a slight chuckle. Something would be lost if it were to disappear, whereas most others actually appear to have been plopped there after a frivolous trip to Home Depot.

This house has been built/renovated for awhile now......I don't even know when it was constructed. But each time I pass by, I notice it, and for good design reasons, not bad. And just like 141 Harvest Lane, the contemporary character seems to allow the owners to express some of their personality via the exterior aesthetic of their house. But instead of feeling confronted and insulted, one comes away thinking, "Huh. That's clever!"

Friday, November 14, 2008

Get Involved

I'm a little frustrated, to say the least. I am a lone soldier, and yet there are many residents within the village that get upset when they believe an inappropriate house is approved in their neighborhood. They form groups, such as the people in the Rosko Drive community and the people in the Toylsome Lane, or Post Crossing areas, and they come together and voice their outrage and try to make change...........but only when it effects their streets. What about the Village as a whole? Isn't this a broader issue? The character of the whole village depends on the preservation of the character of each street and each neighborhood. I applaud these groups and their efforts, but they, and all owners - whether second home owners or year-rounders - are needed to help form and monitor the ARB's decisions. Resident participation seems at an all time low and it needs to change to an all time high. That doesn't mean people need to make themselves present at each ARB public hearing every other Monday night as we all know that would be too inconvenient for most people. But thankfully, the ARB agendas are posted on the Village's website (, click on "Latest Agenda"). I am going to be checking the agenda regularly, looking at drawings, and posting about applications that I think residents need to voice concern over. Consider me your eyes and ears, but I urge you to also participate. I cannot do this alone. You don't need to come to meetings (although that is usually more effective), instead you can simply fax a letter voicing your concerns but make sure your letters state clearly and largely, at the top of the page, "Please Read This Letter Into the Minutes," because otherwise it could get completely ignored.

Address your letters to:
The Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review
c/o Village of Southampton, Building Department
71 Hill Street
Southampton, NY. 11968
fax: 631.283.0649

If the character of one or two streets stay great, but the character of the rest of the village is slowly but consistently diminished, that effects us all. Please, please, please help me by following upcoming decisions by the ARB.