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Architect:  HORACE GIFFORD, 1965.


Horace Gifford’s early homes were modestly situated in the landscape, their rooflines arcing just above the trees. But soon the gables, hips, and arcs of Gifford’s early confections gave way to a more abstract vocabulary that relied exclusively upon flat and shed roofs. Scale became intentionally ambiguous, as his influences veered toward monumental sources. In the midst of a tumultuous year which found Horace Gifford arrested in the Meat Rack, he produced some of his strongest work to date with a series of towering houses that “reach out and grab for light.” The most iconic of these was created for Robert Evans and Dr. Scott DePass. The house is delicately tethered to the landscape on its slender tower bases, a “space ship,” as Gifford described it, hovering over its earthbound neighbors. Three spacious decks facing due west, east, and south chase the sun. From a seated postion, the solid deck rail creates a filtered horizon line where ocean meets sky. The central living space is left open, for dancing. Two living areas, a dining room, and a kitchen claim the four tower niches. It acquired the nickname “Kodak House” due to its resemblance to the ubiquitous instant cameras from the 1970’s.


Insensitive additions exacted their toll, particularly a cumbersome deck and railing at its base which robs the house of its hovering quality. Fortunately, its current owner is chipping away at this wear and tear in a phased renovation. Working from the top down, Garry Korr’s home already boasts a new roof, shingles, and difficult-to-replace jalousie windows. Once again, the Kodak House is almost ready for its close up.


This home is featured in Fire Island Modernist: Horace Gifford and the Architecture of Seduction.


Black and White Photos: Bill Maris © ESTO. Color Photo: Horace Gifford courtesy Christopher Rawlins.

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