Interior design duo Robert and Cortney Novogratz craft a breezy, charming Montauk surf shack.
Art throughout the home comes from Tony Caramanico, LeRoy Grannis, Jeff Divine and Clark Little. Pictured here is “The Surf Journals: Crazy on Rum, April 14-15, 1982” by Tony Caramanico.
THE CLIENT: New York City Realtor Louise Phillips Forbes and her family were looking for a refined and homey surfing paradise on the beach. The surf-loving family desired a personable and charming home fit for entertaining, dining and simply spending time with one another. For this prefab project, Robert and Cortney Novogratz were confronted with the task to make a 1,600-square-foot Montauk surf shack feel breezy and unrestricted, with both the indoor and outdoor spaces being utterly soothing and entirely inhabitable.
A neutral palette and somewhat minimalist look were used to make the space feel spacious and uncluttered, as in this bathroom.
THE PRIORITY: “This assignment was to turn a generic white-box build into a cozy, artsy, relaxed surfer paradise for a family of four,” Cortney Novogratz explains. Because of the client’s request, the Novogratz team asked that the home be built with high ceilings and tall doors, and intentionally designed the space to achieve an open and airy layout. “They wanted the outdoor space to be as livable as the indoor space, and create a seamless transition from the outdoors to the indoors,” she further discloses. “This is a house for a surfing family, so the theme of surfing was obviously very important to the project.”
Flos pendant lights by Marcel Wanders hang above Absolute Black granite countertops installed upside down in the kitchen.
THE CHALLENGE: With only 1,600 square feet to work with, this project indicated various firsts for the Novogratz team. Not only had they never designed a prefab home, but they also solely depended on renderings and blueprints to complete the surf shack, a method they were not accustomed to. Along with the mission to craft an exquisite space without physically being in it, prefab homes often pose various obstacles, like time-consumingly and carefully preparing the land on which it will be installed and dealing with upfront costs and transportation payments.
The side table in the primary bedroom was purchased from a local craftsperson.
THE STRATEGY: While difficult to ascertain the nature of the home through mere renderings, the couple followed their hearts and design virtuosity to achieve a truly special surf shack abode. Since they had previously designed a few homes for surfers, the Novogratzes employed what they knew of the lifestyle and sport in their process. “‘Montauk surf’ was the obvious theme, but a neutral palette and a somewhat minimalist look were used to make the home feel spacious and uncluttered,” Cortney shares. “Pops of color and texture were used for focal points, and there were a lot of surf- and ocean-inspired touches.” To make the space feel larger and enlivened, the couple requested oversized windows and sliding doors.
Paddles used as decor achieve the ‘Montauk surf’ theme.
THE DETAIL: The Novogratzes utilized this project to experiment with different upholsteries, use furniture and art from local artisans and design an outdoor deck that could function as an additional living area. “There is a bright orange surfboard above the kids’ beds,” Cortney explains of how they achieved the nautical aesthetic of the space. “There are paddles used as decor and a vintage whale sculpture that hangs in the dining room that is a family travel treasure.” To give the space an exclusive, opulent feel, the couple used a dreamy blue Jonathan Adler fabric in the boys’ bedroom to contrast the orange, and alternated between gray and striped baby blue upholstery for the two portions of the sectional sofa in the living room. To truly make the space feel specialized and singular to the family while remaining cost-efficient, the Novogratzes featured a surfboard coffee table on the deck, handmade by the client’s son.
The outdoor bench covered in Maharam fabric
THE OUTCOME: The Novogratzes managed to invent the quintessential surf getaway while integrating family mementos to make the space sincerely unparalleled. Imbued with charm and character, the prefab home proved to be an exceeding delight for the homeowners, who share that the space is everything they dreamed of and a place their family could enjoy for years to come.
Many surf- and ocean-inspired touches were added throughout the home, as seen in the artwork.
DESIGN AND ARCHITECTURE
The home is located just steps away from the beach. PHOTOGRAPHED BY MATTHEW WILLIAMS
Benjamin Moore Paint throughout
Jonathan Adler Boys’ bedroom fabric
Maharam Outdoor bench fabric
Marcel Wanders Lighting
West Elm Living room sectional sofa