Amagansett’s Stony Hill: A Contemporary Homage to History and Nature

01.22.24 | By
Amagansett’s Stony Hill: A Contemporary Homage to History and Nature

Stony Hill, a project completed by Bates Masi, stands as a testament to the rich history of Amagansett, an early English and Dutch settlement on Long Island’s East End. Nestled between meadow and woodland, this home for a young family pays homage to its roots, drawing inspiration from the site’s agrarian history and connection to the early settlers. The site, once cleared by Native Americans for hunting purposes, evolved into the location of the first settler’s house in 1680. It later served as communal grazing pasture, separated into individual plots with low stone walls. For generations, the land, livestock, and human intervention worked together to help stabilize the landscape. However, as farming declined and property values went up, the meadow is transitioning to woodland, losing its connection to a significant piece of history.

angled exterior view of weathered wood beach house with lights on with gloomy skies and pool in front

Bates Masi’s project aims to revive and reference the agrarian history of the site through thoughtful architecture and landscape design. The land is divided into zones mirroring the original pasture parcels, each designed to meet modern needs. High grasses and shrubs provide a visual separation from the road, while medium-height grasses screen the house from those approaching. Low grass and ground cover offer views when needed. Elevated planting zones along the approach emphasize historic connections to the land, offering a unique experience for those in passing.

angled exterior view of modern wood house

angled exterior view of modern wood house

Stony Hill is separated into smaller volumes that relate to specific zones – public, private, guest, and service spaces. The connected gabled volumes give nod to barn-like structures, yet they’re designed with a modern spin. The gabled roofs feature splits in the ridges which allows natural light to flood the top floors.

partial exterior view of modern wood house with two structures

Materials play a crucial role in connecting the contemporary design with historical references. The home is clad in oversized shingles found throughout the are. Thatch siding, reminiscent of the pasture’s grasses, is packed between exposed exterior framing resulting in a modern look.

exterior view of steeply pitched section of modern house with wood exterior

angled closeup view of modern house

partial exterior view of modern wood beach house with long roof

partial view of L-shaped modern house

partial view of modern house with expanse of green lawn

interior view of modern house looking through to multiple rooms

partial interior room with installed banquette seating

Built-in seating spans the length of one wall flanking the kitchen and dining room, ensuring plenty of places to sit when company is over.

sunken living room with built-in seating and fireplace

A sunken living room wraps in front of a fireplace, one of many situated in the public spaces to encourage family gatherings.

interior shot of modern dining room with floating fireplace

Natural materials, such as oak, clay tiles, and plaster further integrate the house with the surrounding landscape, creating a warm and cozy ambiance.

view of modern kitchen under pitched wood ceiling

closeup view of modern kitchen

closeup partial view of two floating wood wall-mounted shelves with books

interior view of open bedroom with built-in bunk beds under steeply sloped ceiling looking out to pool and poolhouse

The warm woods used throughout evoke a sense of comfort without leaning towards rustic.

angled view of modern bedroom with sliding glass doors looking out to rest of the house

angled view of modern wood switchback staircase

modern interior shot looking down wood staircase

angled interior view of large modern bedroom under steep pitched wood ceiling with ball chandelier

A second story bedroom located under the steeply sloped ceiling has a modern A-frame feel.

angled interior view of large modern bedroom under steep pitched wood ceiling with ball chandelier

angled view of modern bathroom with wood walls, ceiling, and floating counter

modern bathroom with floating white tub under sloped wood ceiling

angled view of modern vanity in bathroom with wood details

Photography by Bates Masi + Architects.

Caroline Williamson is Editor-in-Chief of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.