Penelope Moore Announces First Offering to Rent Modern Waterfront on Shelter Island, NY

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The Bluff-top Home was Designed by an Architect with Deep Roots to the History of Shelter Island, Who Incorporated a 900 Square Foot Wall of Seamless Glass with Unobstructed Views to the Ocean

You are affected by what goes on outside, wave heights, the sunrise, the sunset, the trees moving in the breeze, and you naturally become a keen observer.

Penelope Moore, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker of Saunders & Associates, announced that a distinctive Shelter Island modern, located at 179 North Ram Island Drive, with a connection to the history of Shelter Island has been listed for rent for the first time. It has seven bedrooms, a pool and pool house, over 6400 square feet with steps to a wide sandy beach, and is available for the 2018 summer season: Memorial Day to Labor Day for $150k, June for $30,000; July $60,000; and August to Labor Day $70,000.

"The home was built in 2009 by owners with modernist leanings who have an affinity for Shelter Island and wanted to build a fun, easy-to-live-in second home that optimizes the Ram Island bluff top site with unobstructed saltwater views on Gardiners Bay," Moore said. Ram Island is connected to Shelter Island by two causeways across Gardiners Bay and Coecles Harbor.

To learn more about the creative process and the logistics of the construction, Moore spoke with Los Angeles based architect Roger Bennett, who designed the one of a kind home. Although based on the west coast, Bennett was a natural choice; His great-great-grandfather, the Honorable Frederick A. Schroeder, played a key role in the development of Shelter Island Heights in the late 1800's. He had also been NY State Senator, New York City Comptroller and strung "the first wire for the Brooklyn Bridge" according to the "History of Long Island" published in 1905 by Peter Ross. Schroeder founded the Shelter Island Heights Association, which, the book continues, "largely under his direction, built up and beautified that very desirable section, for many years past, so favorite a residential place and summer resort, [which] involved large expenditures and close attention, but the ends accomplished fully justified his effort and expectation...He was greatly attached to his country home on Shelter Island."

After the initial meeting with the owners, Bennett said "it was the conclusion that we not only take advantage of the ocean views, but also have a peek at the woods, to acknowledge the animals and the trees, and this meant a lot of glass." The most compelling aspect of the home is the full wall of glass looking out onto the water without the views being interrupted by steel support beams. "We hired glass vendors who work on commercial projects for this, the first residential application in the US to have 900 square feet of vertical glass, utilizing fins, strengthened glass from the UK."

According to Enclos, a New York City company that provides design, fabrication and custom facade systems, "Glass fins represent the earliest form of structural glass facade, dating back to the 1950's when two-story glass plates were suspended and laterally stiffened by the use of glass fins, set perpendicular to the plates at the vertical joints between them. It was popularized in 1972 when multiple plates of reflective glass were suspended, resulting in one of the first examples of an entire building facade in frame-less glass...Glass fin-supported facades still represent one of the most transparent forms of structural glass facades."

The curved, nearly triangular shape of the structure was not planned. "Many creative people start out with one idea and let the creative process lead them organically," Bennett said. "Because of lot coverage and setback regulations, we carved out some of the square footage by making curves, and that is essentially how the long lines of the triangles became curves." In the triangular corners, glass was cut to replicate "the cheerfulness of lanterns" with light reflected in three directions.

"For the cladding, we went abroad to Switzerland, using cementicous board with rain screen air space behind it for double wall building" continued Bennett. The rich red panels are cement composite, coated with a mineral substance and natural raw materials for durability and vibrancy. Colorful homes along the water in Newport, RI and New England red barns were the inspiration for the color, which "I have always had a fondness for," Bennett said, "because it sits so well against the natural backdrop that includes blue water, snow, autumn leaves and spring and summer foliage."

The owners wanted as much natural light as possible. "We chose the second whitest hard wood in the world, English Sycamore, for the floors," Bennett said. "For the rails, steel is commonly used, but the owners wanted a sense of privacy too, so we chose clear resin for the rails and balconies that draw light in but are opaque. Traditional wood floors used on outdoor balconies tend to show dirt, but resin not only reflects light but also has a cleaner look." Being inside the house, "you are affected by what what goes on outside: wave heights, the sunrise, the sunset, the trees moving in the breeze, and you naturally become a keen observer."

A lighting designer from Chicago designed the the interior lighting. The goal was for it to be as unobtrusive as possible, to complement natural light, not distract from it. "The roof itself had to be designed so that lighting would fit into it," Bennett said. The curved ceiling replicates sand that has had waves washed up against it, with lighting insets. At night, the light is subtle enough to illuminate the house without overshadowing moonlight on the water.

For the approach to the house from the road, Bennett described how many vintage shingle style homes in Newport were built with a bridge that one passes under to get to the front entrance. "A bridge almost makes a home feel more private, more than just a house with lawn on the street, so we designed one from the front door that leads to an observation point with a built-in bench looking into the trees."

To support the observation point, the end of the bridge closest to the trees, a massive 16 ton boulder was brought over on the South Ferry from a quarry in Bridgehampton, NY. "A boulder might seem an odd thing to bring here," Bennett said, "but throughout Shelter Island there are boulders sitting on land, deposited thousands of years ago by glaciers, so it seemed natural to put it there." Originally, it was going to be sourced from the grounds of The Perlman Music Program, Itzak Perlman's music camp for gifted young students located on the north side of Shelter Island, "but when it was realized that a tree would have to be taken down, Itzak Perlman's people decided against it." Transporting and positioning the boulder began at 5:30 am and was not completed until nearly midnight, using riggers from Queens, NY whose specialty was working with high rise buildings in the city. "Getting it to the precise spot took thirty people, all of them tough, strong guys who turned into kids working with a big toy, with smiles all around," Bennett described, laughing. "When it was finally done, there was a great hurrah, clapping, cheering and high fives."

As the construction came to completion, there were "a couple of nice surprises," Bennett said. "When we were standing on the roof, we could see how the roof matches the curve of distant shores. And when you close the front door by the entry bridge and speak in a quiet voice, you can be heard across the room near the water view side of the home. You don't have to yell."

What would great-great grandfather Schroeder think of Bennett's modernist house? "In the 1870's he built seven or eight houses in Shelter Island Heights," Bennett said, "direct construction, dressed in black, with a top hat, atop a black horse! In a way, if people rely upon previous generations ideas they don't fully come into their own, and yet here, there are references to the past in a place that has remained remarkably constant. In designing this home, the owners were always very encouraging. Everything in the house has some meaning. There is nothing pretentious, or placed there for the sake of the 'wow' factor."

About Us:
Penelope Moore is a Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker who heads up the Shelter Island office of real estate brokerage Saunders & Associates, which has offices in Bridgehampton and Southampton, NY. Moore has been the leading real estate broker in this Hamptons’ enclave since 1997.

Link to listing at 179 Ram Island Drive

Saunders & Asssociates Website:
Penelope Moore Profile:
Shelter Island Historical Society:
Shelter Island Historic Information:
Contact: Steve Glick, Director of Marketing (631) 458-4923 SGlick(at)Saunders(dot)com

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