The Shingle Life

The Benson House

Good Morning Lacquered Lifers! Happy to be back in South Carolina this morning after a very busy and productive time in Connecticut. Part of that productive time was meeting with a favorite client, a client whose 1903 Shingle Style home I am so privileged to be helping restore. So today we’re going to talk about some of my favorite Shingle Style houses, the Montauk Point Association Houses. Built between 1882-1883 in Montauk, and designed by renowned architectural firm Mckim, Mead & White, these homes exemplify the Shingle Style.

Scan 1The land for the association was purchased by shipping magnate Arthur Benson from a local farmer for $150,000 – how many more zeros do you think that would include today? Benson envisioned a summer colony of like-minded people who would appreciate a relatively casual social life and enjoy time out of doors. Frederick Law Olmsted planned the community, siting the homes and common buildings over looking the Atlantic Ocean and following a contours of the land – connecting buildings via an informal network of unpaved paths.

Scan 2
The de Forest House
Scan 4
The Sanger House
Scan 3
The Sanger House

All the homes are different, but feature common architectural elements that embody the shingle style. As in the de Forest house above, all the houses feature shingled roofs and upper stories, sitting on a painted clapboard base. Gables, and accents such as moulding around the windows, and porches all connect the houses casual atmosphere as well as their distribution along the cliffside. Scan 5The clubhouse burned down in 1933, and the Orr House in 1997 (it was fully reconstructed), however, the majority of the other houses are still intact and privately owned. While lifestyles and needs have changed – kitchens and bathrooms enlarged, heating systems installed – the houses still retain the hallmarks of the Shingle Style and would be easily recognized by their original owners and designers. And how about that view?

Photos via The Houses of Mckim, Mead & White available here.

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