The Surf Lodge's Jayma Cardoso finds respite from growing the popular resort-turned-lifestyle brand at her own "beach shack" in Montauk.
Western red cedar siding and expansive glass doors and windows capture the beachy aesthetic of Montauk.
“I wanted to connect the outdoors to the interior space as much as possible. For me, that is what Montauk is all about—the air, the space, the natural beauty of everything,” says Jayma Cardoso, the owner of Montauk hot spot The Surf Lodge, where she oversees the chic boutique hotel, which includes a popular restaurant, shop, art gallery, and a rotating series of music and wellness events. The spirit of Montauk also informs Cardoso’s modest 1,300-square-foot retreat, which she bought two years ago a block and a half away from Ditch Plains Beach. When renovating she worked with Plot-1, a Montauk-based design firm owned by Michael Foley and Cassandra Perez, to connect the home’s main room to the kitchen so that guests can gather and hang out. “It’s hard to turn the ‘hostess’ part of me off,” she says. “I love having everyone come together and cooking for friends.”
“For her new home, I wanted to start with a blank canvas and that is what we did—we painted the whole house white,” says Foley, who also worked with Cardoso to renovate The Surf Lodge, most recently by transforming two storage rooms into an art gallery space with a large rear deck. “We also made sure to preserve the footprint and the aesthetically clean lines of the house. It just needed a makeover.”
The home’s original brick fireplaces and wooden rafters were maintained; however, the original windows were replaced with expansive panes of glass to ensure clear, unobstructed views of the waves. Plastic shingles were exchanged for Western red cedar siding, perfectly capturing the feel of the outdoors. Foley and Perez carved the interior to create a large, custom master bedroom and en suite bathroom that features a rare freestanding tub positioned to ensure a clear view of the yard and garden as well as four guest rooms to accommodate frequent visitors.
Foley also custom-built a poplar coffee table and a large outside dining table for the home, while eight-inch oak-plank flooring, designed to weather with age and sandy feet, was installed throughout. “I am in beach attire all the time here,” says Cardoso. “I go from heels to flip-flops.”
Jayma Cardoso with her son, John Alexander. top: Original accents, like wood beams and a central fireplace, were preserved and enhanced during the home’s makeover.
Another new addition to the abode is the 14-footwide folding door that connects the indoor space to a wraparound custom deck. “At night, I love sliding open the glass doors and spending time on the deck with [my boyfriend] John [Zidziunas, an attorney] and holding my son, John Alexander,” says Cardoso. “You can hear the waves in the distance, and we just look up at the stars. John loves to surf out here, and we love taking walks together in the morning. I really find so much peace here.”
Born in Brazil, Cardoso moved to New York City when she was 17, taught herself English, and graduated from Fordham University. She supported herself by bartending but quickly moved up in the world of nightlife, eventually owning such popular New York City destinations as Cain in Tribeca and GoldBar in Nolita.
At The Surf Lodge, Cardoso is expanding the resort’s programming to offer a stellar lineup of music, a series of fitness classes, and events with wellness experts, who are booked for weekends throughout the summer. “We wanted to create interactive experiences for our guests to learn new things and think differently about life,” says Cardoso, who is planning to expand The Surf Lodge brand to Miami, Malibu, and Vermont. “Montauk is amazing and will always be the core of our brand, but we finally have the right team on board and are taking the brand further.”
In her expansion plans, Cardoso is determined to maintain the core vibe of The Surf Lodge in every new location while catering to the specific essence of each community. “The ethos of the brand will be the same,” she says. “I turn down offers to just ‘take the key’ to another venue and just throw The Surf Lodge name on the door. I want each new location to be a ref lection of the city we’re in, which means taking baby steps and moving carefully.”