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Architect: HARRY BATES, c. 1968. Renovation: RAWLINS DESIGN, 2020.


In 2014, Christopher Rawlins conducted an oral history with architect Harry Bates, which revealed Bates’ extant projects in Fire Island Pines. This late Sixties example was worse for wear: exposed wiring, scattered mechanical equipment, overgrown plantings, and a constipated infilling of a lower-level patio room, all of it slathered with Eighties mauve-and-seafoam. Fortunately, a 1971 article in House Beautiful revealed the virtues of a home created for textile designer James Patterson. Our restoration does not strive for historic purity, but it does recapture the transparency, simplicity, and love of color that marked the original home.


From the public walkway, the home’s deep roof overhang looms large. We clad this in vivid, up-lit tiles, a cheerful foil to the neutral cedar siding that sheathes most Fire Island homes. A grand entry stair leads to the upper level, pausing at an intermediate perch to admire the garden. The upstairs floor plan was only modestly altered. New finishes and fixtures do the heavy lifting here. The downstairs level was completely redesigned, and contains a primary bedroom, guest room, bathrooms, and a laundry room. Full-height glass doors reveal gardens to the south and the pool deck to the north, its cross-ventilated design minimizing the need for air conditioning.


A new pergola frames an outdoor dining room, and the fence that once tightly surrounded the deck is pushed to the perimeter, with textured detailing allowing both privacy and breezes. Scott Ahlborn’s landscape design preserves key flowering plants, mixing these with sustainable and low-maintenance companions. This marriage of architecture and landscape is fully appreciated from a new roof deck that is an irresistible place to strike a pose.


Photos: Tom Sibley. Plans: Rawlins Design.





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