LAST YEAR, FORBES PROCLAIMED SAGAPONACK, N.Y., the country's most expensive zip code, with a median home price of $2.7 million. When architect Michael Lomont staked out a street address for his young family in this once agrarian community on the eastern tip of Long Island, he paid less than half that amount—$1.3 million including land, site work, and construction costs—and ended up with a brand-new home. The 3,000-square-foot abode he designed and built on a 1.25-acre lot, just a half mile from the beach, is a soulful place with a zen-like quality. And it's green, too.
Exemplifying what Lomont calls “regionally inspired modernism,” the simple dwelling reads as two basic forms. Bedrooms are housed in a two-story, gabled, wood-clad structure that evokes the aesthetic of nearby barns. Public spaces are alternately located in a perpendicular volume of concrete stucco, oriented for passive solar heating and cooling. In winter, solar gain is captured via heavy glazing along a south-facing wall and retained in the family room's cast-in-place concrete floors. Green roof pavers (planted with perennial sedum) on the flat portions of the roof absorb the sun and provide an extra layer of insulation.
Come summer, many of these same features serve alternate functions. The green roof pavers, offset from the roof by about 6 inches, buffer the house from the heat. On the gable, a standing seam, zinc-coated aluminum roof (which is fully recyclable at the end of its 70-year lifespan) deflects strong sunlight. A west-facing covered porch provides not only shade, but power: It's topped by a 4-kilowatt photovoltaic panel system that generates enough electricity to run the air conditioner during peak season. The house was built with blown-in insulation to achieve maximum insulation values.
A simple, natural palette carries through from outside to inside. Thermal bluestone used for pavers in the landscaping reappears in the family room's striking fireplace surround (fashioned from a 6-foot-long, 3-inch-thick slab). Not limited to windows and doors, glass forms an interior curtain wall that brings light to a central stair (opposite page, bottom, left). Regionally harvested, quarter-sawn white oak is the material of choice for built-in cabinetry throughout the home, as well as for wood flooring.
“The floors are finished with tung oil, which doesn't yellow like polyurethane,” notes Lomont, an architect with Bridgehampton, N.Y.–based Stelle Architects. “The oil is environmentally friendly and so safe that it's often used on cutting boards. This was important because my kids spend a lot of time on the floor. Also, repairs are easy because you don't have to strip the floors. All you do is prep the area with a little light sanding and then apply the oil. It's very low maintenance.”
Total square feet: 3,000
Lot price: $450,000
Construction cost: $750,000
Cost per square foot: $250
Site work and landscaping: $125,000
Total price tag: $1.3 million
Project: East End Retreat, Sagaponack, N.Y.; Size: 3,000 square feet; Contractor/Architect/Interior designer: Michael Lomont, Sagaponack