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Weekend Retreat Uses Traditional Materials in Innovative Ways

Bates Masi + Architects, Mannix Custom Builders

Project Name

Weekend Retreat Uses Traditional Materials in Innovative Ways

Project Status



  • Paul Masi
  • Brian Mannix
  • Steven L. Maresca


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Project Description


Curate a unifying design that successfully blends the existing house with new elements
Craft a solution for acoustic and lighting features
Strategically use conventional materials in fresh ways  


The clients, an interior designer and a DJ, wanted their 1960’s kit house in the East Hampton village to serve as a weekend retreat from their urban home. Although Bates Masi + Architects was commissioned to do a complete renovation and addition, it was important to the clients that the initial structure and the patina of the home's wood be preserved. To accomplish a cohesive aesthetic, the clients wanted to use traditional materials in innovative ways. The key material they settled on was natural rope.

The contractors, led by Brian Mannix of Mannix Custom Builders, first stripped the house to its bare bones, giving the structural engineer, Steven Maresca, an opportunity to build anew using the existing structure as the starting point. With a blank canvas, the architects expanded the master bathroom to include both a shower and a tub, while extending the space into the backyard. Both the original kitchen and dining area were redefined and now serve as the media room and an open kitchen. To separate the living room from the dining room, the team incorporated a patinated wood partition made from reclaimed barn wood, a material aesthetic repeated throughout the home in the cabinetry. In the master bath, the reclaimed barn wood also lines the glass-enclosed shower.

To incorporate the rope into the beams and framework, the designers used a variety of woven rope patterns between the original ceiling joists to accommodate various ceiling conditions. Mimicking a canopy, the cross-woven rope allows just enough natural light to enter the home; while a straight weave scales the ceiling in order to hide mantled speakers and utilities. Doubling as an acoustic shield, the rope blocks background noise while allowing music emitted by the speakers to seep through—a major concern for the DJ. This same weave was also used for a sliding door located in the master bath to ensure privacy from neighbors while still providing a cozy oasis with a view of the yard for the homeowners. Both the dining room chandelier and the master bathroom mirror hang from the ceiling supported by several strands of rope.           

The exterior's dark-stained cedar siding seamlessly transitions into the matching frames of the new windows and doors. The deck reaches into the yard and around the side of the house to allow access to the deck from the master bedroom. While both the client and the architect were conscious of preserving the original intent of the home, they managed to simultaneously create plenty of drama by integrating fresh design concepts—without succumbing to the kitsch common in many vacation homes.

Judges' Comments

The judges appreciated the innovative use of different materials, such as the refurbished wood and the rope ceiling, which they called “brilliant.” They also applauded how the finished product was true to the original house yet presented a fresh feel—it's a remodel, not a restoration. The architects’ restraint in keeping the fireplace brick is the perfect example of this. 

Products Used

Bathroom plumbing fixtures: Toto
Entry doors: Gerkin
Kitchen plumbing fittings: Kohler
Lighting fixtures: RabSchoolhouse Electric
Paints/stains: Benjamin Moore
Roofing: EPDM 
Siding: wood
Windows: Gerkin, metal frame

Click to see the 17 other winners in the 2014 Remodeling Design Awards.

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