When my wife and I first stumbled across the A-Frame on the bay, on the south shore of Long Island, we weren’t really supposed to be buying a house yet, it was meant to be just ‘research’! But catching a glimpse of the distinctive peaked roof, backed by a glittering sea, we were intrigued, and as we got out of the car it was the smell that drew me in. The salty ocean air reminded me of my childhood summers, visiting my grandparents’ cabin on the Isle of Mull in Scotland. Like the A-Frame, the Scottish cabin also had a wall of windows that framed the ocean view in perfection, and that view would never be the same twice, from still, calm waters and blue skies to dramatic winds, big breakers and mysterious misty days where the sky merged into the sea.
Here, there was also an island off shore, to gaze longingly with thoughts of blissful escape and isolation.
The A-Frame itself wasn’t like any other building on that waterfront, or indeed like any other house in the neighborhood, but we loved that about it! We’d recently got into A-Frames and loved their personality and style, but I’d assumed they only existed in the mountains and woods, we didn’t expect to find one on Long Island, just an easy 1.5 hour drive from our permanent home in Brooklyn. That first day we saw it, I knew it would be the perfect place to give our two boys (5 and 4 at the time) the ‘Mull’ experience that I’d had as a kid: access to the sea, to a crab pot (one came free with the A-Frame!), to netting prawns and hermit crabs out of the shallows, to hours of playing in the sand and paddling on kayaks and inflatable boats. To feel the freedom of the ocean air in their nostrils! We loved raising the boys in New York, with its incredible diversity and culture, but we also wanted them to grow up with a love of nature and all it had to offer. Here was a place where they could do that, still close enough to the city we loved!
When I began to dive into the history of the A-Frame, it was cool to discover that one of the original A-frames to receive mass publicity in the US was built in 1955 in Sagaponack, Long Island by famed modernist architect Andrew Geller. If we were to buy this beachfront A-Frame, we’d be stepping into Long Island A- Frame history!
We were so grateful, when after it looked like the house wasn’t going to be ours, it then all worked out. Since then, we’ve had fun renovating it slowly, bit by bit. Right away we got rid of the fake shutters, the Swiss chalet trim and the rotting window boxes, and turned the exterior from beige to black. Inside, we added a hanging chair to watch the sunset from with a cocktail, and replaced a flaking, fake stained glass window with a real antique Art Nouveau one from England. It was only later we renovated the bathrooms and of course we have other renovations up our sleeve, but for now the Beach House A-Frame is in a great place, both for our family when we stay there, and also for guests when we rent it out on Airbnb, glad to have others get to enjoy this magical cabin on the bay.
Who we are:
Simon (TV producer from England, now based in Brooklyn), Amber (Fashion designer from Northern California), Teddy (6) and Louie (5)
To book the A-Frame Beach House: airbnb.com/h/aframebeachhouse