A new modernist house graces this coastal property and takes advantage of expansive views of Fishers Island Sound. The enlightened clients prioritized a low impact landscape approach and the establishment of pollinator habitat, native plantings and no mow areas in lieu of lawns.

An impressive and beautifully crafted native granite wall, visible from the street, raises the elevation of the garage and courtyard area and anchors the northwest corner of the property. The entry courtyard, defined by native granite curbing and flush granite banding, relates to the geometries of the pavilions that comprise the house. Limitations posed by underground utility infrastructure also informed the splayed angles of the courtyard. Locally sourced granite pavers define the footpaths. A grove of redcedar trees in the courtyard provides a coastal feeling among the grassland and wildflower planting.

Coordinating with both client and ecologist, we developed a restoration strategy to remove lawn areas adjacent to the sensitive tidal wetland and replace them with native forbs and grasses that have high wildlife value. A rain garden planted with native grasses receives stormwater from roof runoff. The distinctive boulder-strewn glacial moraine landscape is celebrated with a mowed lawn surrounding a magnificent specimen red oak. Stone and steel-edged drip strips surround the house, and a rustic fieldstone path leads to the dock.


Architect | Estes/Twombly

Ecologist| James Cowan

Island House
Residential