235-36 BEACH HILL WALK

AUDIO

Architecture and Interiors: VALERIAN RYBAR, c.1983.

 

At 3,700 interior square feet and over ninety feet in length, 235-36 Beach Hill Walk is a relative mansion among cottages. Indeed, it was designed by The Yugoslavian man that The New York Times called “the world’s most expensive decorator.” Yet Valerian Rybar (1919-90) exercised admirable restraint in the exterior design of this home. Trees were carefully preserved and setbacks reduced its apparent bulk. Its most original detail was a continuous strip of mirror that allowed roofs and railings to “float” among the boughs. Rybar named his home Solstice, for the two times in the year when the Sun’s declination appears to pause at its northern or southern limit before reversing directions. Its absolute symmetry certainly contributed to its “stillness” in the landscape. All that changed inside: “On entering, you quickly realize that the center of the house is actually on three levels, and what goes on in the transition of the eye from one level to another has less to do with order and symmetry than with surrealism, hedonism, and just plain fun,” Rybar remarked to Architectural Digest in 1985. “Viewed from the stairs, the upper living room is like heaven—all clouds, sky, and light—while the dining room downstairs has rather hellish overtones with that red lacquer furniture.”

 

House photos: Peter Vitale. Portrait: Getty Images.

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