The Sea Project, located in Long Beach, NY, USA, is a 5500sqft beach home designed by West Chin Architects and it is the first house in the USA to use the environmentally conscious BBS wood structural panels from Austria. The BBS panels allow for a minimal floor slab thickness and greater spans for openings. The architects took advantage of these larger expanses by designing the home with large open interior volumes as well as large uninterrupted wall glazings overlooking the panoramic Long Beach views of the Atlantic Ocean.
The social volume of the home is on the second level but the architects made sure it does not loose its connection to the outdoors by installing a large 26’W bifold garage door that spans the width of the living zone and when open, the wrap around deck extends the living space while also providing an overhang for shade to the main level below.
The 2nd storey deck as well as the roof overhang is constructed with the BBS structural panels. BBS is a cross-laminated timber sheet in 3, 5, or 7 plys. Made from wood, it provides insulative qualities while at the same time carrying structural loads. It is also fireproof and has excellent sound-insulating qualities.
The Sea Project is on a corner lot 60’Wx100’D with beach access right next to it. Aside from using BBS panels, the home also features reinforced thermal concrete walls as well as large sections of glazings. There is also a solar panel on the south-facing roof that collects energy during the week when the home is empty. The energy is stored and made available to the homeowners when they are there on the weekends. This natural energy source is a smart and welcome supplement for the family’s electrical needs. Access to the home is either through the lower beach-side level or via the second floor after ascending an outdoor stairwell on the side of the building.
The entry is barely visible from the street but is easily noticed upon ascending the stairs. Located at the top of the staircase, the entry leads to a hall kept bright with natural lighting that enters through the long, narrow window on the side of the home.
The foyer is a clad in horizontal wood siding for a natural aesthetic that is balanced by the ocean views beyond.
The foyer backs up to the kitchen and leads to the social zone by first passing the stairwell leading back down to the family room below. This interior stairwell follows the same line as the staircase on the outside.
The living room features a fireplace and entertainment strip that creates a long, linear black void its the white wall on ones side, but it also features a dynamic cement wall on the other with a flurry of blue butterflies mounted in a 3D sculptural installation over the stairwell. While these two features might be enough visual excitement in most homes, in The Sea Project they are simply framing that incredible panoramic beach-side view – wow.
The view is so incredible that no art is needed over the fireplace and with the garage door open; the living space extends outside for an intimate connection to the landscape. Next to the fireplace a glass door leads to an extension of the deck that leads to the Master Suite.
Creating a buffer to the Master Suite bedroom is the ensuite, located behind the fireplace wall.
The ensuite is large and spacious, with each zone carefully located to take advantage of the views. Set back from the social zone it maintains its privacy while at the same time offering the sense of complete connection.
The tub in the ensuite is a stunning rectangular composition with angled sides for comfort. The floor standing faucet is over scale to match the tub.
The floating vanity repeats the element of long and linear that is so well represented throughout the home, as do the stacked tiles used on the wall.
Above the ensuite is the bedroom and here, too, the view is the dominant feature.
Opposite the window wall is the bedroom’s closets and across from the bed is both a fireplace and a wall mounted TV.
The bedroom deck is above the ensuite deck, which leads back to the social zone.
Using a deep deck to create privacy for the Master Suite also presents a more panoramic view for those residing within the living room.
The dining area is positioned between the two flights of stairs that lead up to the kitchen. Designed to be pushed up against the wall unless entertaining large parties, the table seats 5 on one side.
There is also a dining area within the kitchen, also between the two flights of stairs. Just past the bar is the home’s entry.
On the other side of the kitchen a door leads to a private zone, complete with a small office area.
Next to the kitchen bar is the island and this is where the cooking takes place, however the island also has seating on both sides.
The kitchen is a study in white with pops of fun colours introduced via the enamel cooking pots and by that stunning yellow wall art. Layering into the scheme of white is the glass backsplash exposing the colours of the buildings beyond – and then there is the view.
The view from the kitchen is as expansive as the view from living area. The lines of sand, grass, ocean and sky bring in so much texture and colour, that the stark white of the interior is alive with colourful reflections.
The blue butterfly composition on the cement wall feels alive with movement, it is as though the butterflies have flown in for a visit, and that’s a good thing since blue butterflies bring good luck.
The butterfly wall is flanked on both sides by glazings and this adds to the artistic element of the composition by visually suggesting the cement wall is a large artist canvas. What’s also really exciting about this wall is the way the butterflies continue their visual as one descends the stairs.
It is as though the butterflies are traveling downstairs with you.
Downstairs the scheme of white is replaced with saturated shades of purple and red. This is a room for fun.
Across from the stairwell is a floating wall of dark stained wood slates. This divider creates a boundary for the passageway that leads to a door to the pool terrace and the wall of this passageway continues the fun with its vibrant abstract art.
The divider wall creates a division but does not close off the space, and while a door leads to the terrace from the passageway, the family room has a wall of glazings that can be opened wide for the perfect indoor / outdoor lifestyle.
When the window glazings are wide open, the division between indoor and outdoor areas is blurred, especially since the deck above provides an outdoor ceiling to terrace below.
With such a large outdoor terrace surrounding the pool and the beach beyond, the choice to be outside on a sunny day is an easy one.
There is even a large outdoor kitchen next to the pool, leaving almost no reason to come back inside.
The pool and spa are wrapped in seating.
There is even a fire bowl for those slightly colder days or evenings and the outdoor fuchsia seating looks oh so comfy.
You can even have a private outdoor shower before or after a dip in the pool. And how fun is the exposed plumbing visual with the red handles – and that stacked pebble wall – stunning.
West Chin Architects
Photography by Eric Laignel