After 25 years of owning a charming saltbox house in the woods of Wainscott, a hamlet in the town of East Hampton, N.Y., Joe Tringali was ready for a change — a dramatic one.
“He wanted to live in a glass box,” said his architect, Reid Balthaser.
Mr. Tringali, now 66, bought the three-bedroom, two-bathroom saltbox in 1992 for $620,000, and had been using it primarily on weekends and during the summer. But six years ago, when he retired from his work as a lawyer (he now teaches at New York University and the University of Miami), he began spending more time there. And little things he once found vaguely irritating became major annoyances.
His loft-style bedroom, for instance, was on the second floor and didn’t have a door, so he could hear everything going on downstairs. And the living room faced south, but didn’t get much light, so he rarely used it.
Robert Kaner, his friend and interior designer. Now it looked dated, Mr. Tringali decided, and needed a clean, modern aesthetic.
Mr. Balthaser offered him three options: Sell the house and build a new one somewhere else. Tear it down and build a new one on the same lot. Or do what Mr. Balthaser described as a “curated intervention” — a fancy way of suggesting a gut renovation.
Mr. Tringali chose the third option and began a two-year process of transforming the saltbox into the modernist home of his dreams (and adding another bedroom and bathroom along the way).
Mr. Balthaser’s strategy was to maintain the form of the original house while expanding it to create more space and light, using specific materials to delineate old from new.
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