East Hampton Ranch Reflects Modern Architecture
by mike olson
Where most people saw a dated ranch house, designer and real estate developer Marnie McBryde saw an opportunity. Sure, this one-story home didn’t exactly radiate East End glamour, but the location on her favorite tree-lined street in East Hampton—not to mention the room to expand the structure thanks to the spacious one-acre lot—convinced McBryde that this property had potential. Then came the hard part: turning the nondescript 26 Fieldview Lane into the shining example of her unique architectural vision.
McBryde, the president and creative director of Hamptons Modern, is inspired by the clean lines and simple design of midcentury California architecture, and her goal is to bring those aesthetics to Long Island. That movement started at home (literally) when she began remodeling 26 Fieldview Lane 10 years ago. For help, she turned to East Hampton-based architect Maziar Behrooz. “It was a well-made house, but it had limitations spatially,” Behrooz remembers. “We wanted to add spaces to it that would be in contrast to the existing structure, not an extension of it. I wanted it to visibly be an addition like the old-fashioned rambling houses in the area that were added on to over many decades.”
Tasked with creating a light-filled modern home, Behrooz incorporated more glass than the area had ever seen. “There are walls and walls of glass,” says Bonny Aarons, senior vice president of Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate. “Marnie had to apply to the town to get the largest amount of glass allowed because it was so different than most of the architecture in the area.” Behrooz also had a seemingly contradictory instruction: create enough wall space for McBryde to display her impressive collection of Japanese art. The modern home at 26 Fieldview Lane in East Hampton was built with midcentury California architectural inspiration.
His solution helps explain what makes 26 Fieldview Lane so unique. “I moved the windows to the corner of the room,” Behrooz explains. “With one exception, every window in the addition wraps around the corner so that the midsection of the wall is solid. It’s a simple thing that became the thematic gesture of the house.”
Combined with McBryde’s use of Feng Shui, the result is a home that is nothing like the sterile modern stereotype. “It has a warmth to it,” says Prudential Douglas Elliman’s Janette Goodstein. “Some modern homes feel like a castle, but this doesn’t have that coldness.” Another reason is Behrooz’s decision to frame the home’s many large windows in mahogany rather than stainless steel or aluminum. “They’re nice, thick pieces that are set into very solid stucco walls,” he says, “not some paper-thin modernistic material.”
Like the abundance of windows with views of the property, this use of mahogany is a unifying theme throughout the home. It’s there as you approach the home’s wooden front door, which opens into a double-height living room (with fireplace) and glass rear wall that overlooks the backyard. And it’s also present in another of 26 Fieldview Lane’s most striking features—a giant mahogany deck.
When McBryde bought the home, there was only a tiny back deck and staircase. Behrooz remedied that by constructing a deck along the entire length of the home. “What I tried to do was let the house settle into the landscape by extending the deck and creating this big, podium-like staircase,” he explains. “It feels like the whole living room just continues out and gently flows down to the pool.”
That extra-wide staircase, which Behrooz likens to bleachers where guests can sit and chat, is just one of the reasons—along with the 40-foot heated gunite pool and an indoor/outdoor sound system—that 26 Fieldview Lane is the ultimate entertaining house, having served as the setting of countless prestigious social events over the past decade.
Of course, it’s not too hard to convince guests to stop by when you’re in such a prime spot in East Hampton. “It’s just about the most perfect location,” says Aarons. “It’s very private and quiet, but it’s also about a mile to the center of the village.” Toss in proximity to the beach and a reasonable $2.65-million price tag, and it seems that this four-bedroom, 3,300-square-foot home isn’t long for this competitive market.
As McBryde looks to expand Hamptons Modern (she plans to build 50 homes), the buyer at 26 Fieldview Lane gets to be at the forefront of a movement. “This house will attract a very sophisticated buyer who appreciates the design sensibility,” says Aarons. “It’s really like a piece of artwork.” And while Behrooz is too humble to describe his work in those terms, this home does hold a special place among his numerous Hamptons projects. “I can’t even tell you how many I’ve done,” he laughs, although there is one thing this modern architect is happy to brag about it: “I’ve hardly used any shingles along the way.” Bonny Aarons and Janette Goodstein, Prudential Douglas Elliman, 20 Main St., East Hampton, 516-383- 0333, 516-380-7341
photography by chris foster