BRIGHT SUN AND A VERDANT LANDSCAPE DEFINE DESIGN FOR AN EAST HAMPTON RETREAT
On Labor Day 2005, Marnie McBryde's neighbors finally agreed to sell her the property she'd long coveted. "My original intention was to build the house of my dreams and sell the house I was living in. And then, midway through the project, I decided to be practical. I thought, 'What do I need with a house this big? It's just me and the dogs and I'll never find them in here.'"
Midstream she made the startling decision to revise her plan in order to make the house less customized for her specific needs and more suitable for an unknown future buyer. Fortunately, she and her architect, Blaze Makoid, had forged such an amicable bond that the change in plans was affected without a hitch.
McBryde, owner of the McBryde & Partners recruiting firm, had had an eye on the property next door to her "mini-estate" for years. Once it was finally hers, "I'd walk over there in the morning and just gasp. It had forever views of 30 acres of the oldest working farm in the Hamptons. The morning sun was glorious, and deer and wild turkeys were roaming around. You had a strong sense of a divine presence there. I thought, 'I have to do something extraordinary with this piece of property. I have to find a way to honor it.'"
She went on a quest to find an architect who would help her build a house that would take advantage of the glorious light and the views. "I wanted someone with a California sensibility. I was attracted to the midcentury modern style of Richard Neutra's Kaufmann Desert House and Stewart Williams' Frank Sinatra House." Having lived and worked for 10 years in Japan as an executive recruiter had also influenced McBryde's taste, "in terms of wanting clean lines, simplicity, walls of glass and a serene space," she says. "I'm very opinionated and very interested in design. And most important, I wanted someone who understood that and with whom I could work well. Blaze just got it."
"We hit it off pretty quickly," Makoid concurs. He agreed that the site was great, but that it posed a challenge. "It was surrounded on three sides by close, close neighbors. The solution was a U-shaped house that on three sides has tall, linear windows placed so high that you see only light and trees. Then, in the back, everything opens up to the view."