“The location chose us.”

The permitting process takes several years, there’s water just 6 feet below grade, and the location is accessible only by boat, but architect Cary Tamarkin still saw Shelter Island, New York as the perfect spot to build a house for his family. “The lengthy process gave me time to study the site,” he says, “and figure out how to maximize the views, breezes and sunsets. I also wanted to touch the ground as lightly as possible so as to minimize the impact on the beautiful indigenous dunescape.”

Another key goal for Cary was creating an escape from the frenetic pace of New York City, where he, his wife and two children spend most of the year. “I designed the house to feel simple, inevitable and unpretentious,” he says. “It’s really just a framework for gathering friends and family to enjoy long summer days and cool summer evenings.”

Aligning with that simplicity, the structure is built with steel windows, concrete floors and old-growth cypress throughout to foster a seamless connection between inside and out. “The house blends the casual feeling of a cabin with the intangible qualities of a holiday home,” says Cary. “It’s the perfect backdrop for summer living.”