Dezeen Magazine

Charred-wood beach house sits among Amagansett's dunes

US studios Starling Architecture and Emily Lindberg Design have collaborated on a minimalist home clad in blackened wood in the Hamptons village of Amagansett that starkly contrasts the surrounding dunes.

The Amagansett Beach House was completed for a friend of Starling Architecture founder Ian Starling who grew up in California, but moved to the East Coast for school and then stayed for work.

Minimalist house clad in blackened wood arranged around swimming pool
The minimalist home replaces a 1960s bungalow close to the beach

Missing the beach, the client began a search for a property in Amagansett Dunes with Starling's help, and found a bungalow that was "frozen in the 1960s".

"It was amazingly well located - in a wooded area, minutes away from both the beach and town center on an unpaved sand road," said Starling, although he noted that the layout was less than ideal. "The second floor was tucked underneath the gable and the ceiling was so low, you had to duck to walk around."

Double-height living room facing swimming pool
The communal spaces, including a double-height living area, are arranged around a central swimming pool

In its place, Starling designed a crisp minimalist house clad in timber treated with Shou Sugi Ban, the Japanese blackening technique.

Intended as a "communal home" for gathering with friends, the building is organised around a central swimming pool built into a raised wooden deck.

Starling Amagansett
Douglas fir beams and white oak millwork contrast the home's exterior

All of the communal ground-level spaces face onto the pool-courtyard area through floor-to-ceiling windows and are connected to one another in a U-shaped layout.

To the west is a double-height living room with glass panels reaching to the roof, while the dining room to the north features a fully retractable glazed wall.

White oak kitchen viewed from the side
Custom pieces like the kitchen island are designed with exaggerated forms

A den with a library and workspace occupies the east volume, along with two bedrooms and a bathroom tucked at the back.

"All these spaces are physically or visually connected to the pool deck, creating a constant sense of connectivity with the outdoors," said Starling.

Work space with desk, chair and various artwork
Colourful artwork, and a mixture of vintage and contemporary furniture, help to create a lived-in feel

The primary bedroom and ensuite bath are lofted above the kitchen, and accessed via a staircase from the living room.

The building's dark exterior is juxtaposed inside by the warm tones of the exposed glue-laminated Douglas fir timber structure, and white oak floors, millwork and panelling.

View from bedroom into a blue-tiled bathroom
Seaside hues are incorporated throughout the home

Rhode Island and NYC-based interior designer Emily Lindberg, with whom Starling previously collaborated on the renovation of a townhouse in Brooklyn's Carroll Gardens area, was tasked with bringing colour and a casual atmosphere into the pared-back spaces.

Seating areas are oriented towards the views, while custom millwork pieces including the kitchen island and dining area feature exaggerated forms.

Wooden bunk bed with view through full-height window
Bedrooms are tucked away at the back of the building

Bright hues are introduced through artworks and fabrics, and a mix of vintage and contemporary furnishings helps create a lived-in feel.

"Overall the interior palette plays with colors of the seaside setting under the bright summer sun," Lindberg said.

The landscaping by Brooklyn studio Design Projects embraces the coastal setting, with meadow grasses loosely planted between pines and oaks at the front.

"Building on the natural beauty of Amangansett's dunes and beach plant communities, the front garden features predominantly native species," said the studio.

Steps and a wooden deck lead past an outdoor shower
The landscaping around the pool area and outdoor shower aids privacy

Pebble paths lead to the front door and around past an outdoor shower to the pool, around which evergreen hedges aid privacy and climbing roses add colour and scent through the summer.

Combined, the architecture, interiors and landscape offer a casual, coastal retreat that both stands out in and feels appropriate for its surroundings.

Spherical paper lantern glows through large windows
A spherical paper lantern glows through the huge windows at night

Located at the eastern end of Long Island, Amagansett forms part of East Hampton but has a more laid-back feel than its better-known and pricier neighbour.

For this reason, the village has grown in popularity as a vacation spot – as these six holiday havens prove.

The photography is by Eric Petschek.

Project credits:

Contractor: Hagerman Builders
Millwork: Armada NYC
Wood structure: Cascadian Wood Tech
Curtain wall fabricator: Blackcomb Facade Technology
Landscape contractor: Coastal Arbor Care
Styling: Eric Wink

More images and plans

Starling Amagansett
Starling Amagansett
Starling Amagansett
Starling Amagansett
Starling Amagansett