cottage house

Gray Organschi Architecture, a studio based in Connecticut, designed the addition of a small guest cottage in Long Island.

This serene getaway built with strong geometric forms overlooks the Long Island Sound and the Thimble Islands.

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Cottage by  Gray Organschi Architecture:

This small guest house stands in an upland meadow dotted with large oaks and granite outcroppings, a new addition to an enclave of house, garage, and barn overlooking Long Island Sound and the Thimble Islands.   Our clients sought a tranquil retreat for guests and, as they aged, future accessible living quarters for themselves.  As longtime residents of the property, our clients’ lives were intimately intertwined with the history of their land and they were especially sensitive to any changes to its character.  But they were as committed to architectural exploration and the principles of ecological building practice as they were to the protection of the site.  They requested that the building optimize the visual and environmental qualities of the place, that it incorporate renewable materials and energy sources, and that it provide an experience of solitude and privacy while reinforcing the connections to other buildings on the site.

The project brief was modest: a combined living and dining room with a small kitchen, a single accessible bedroom and bath and an upper story room that would double as additional sleeping or recreational space.   Due to its proximity to the primary residence, the building was considered by the local zoning codes as an “accessory building,” strictly limited in both ground plan and height, allowing barely enough headroom for legal occupation of an upper story.  Our simple plan incorporates a bedroom, bathroom and kitchenette within an enclosed volume with communal living and dining spaces surrounding it.  The sedum-covered shed roof, a steeply pitched plane lifted by the “pressure” of the spaces beneath it, is another planted surface in the garden that spills excess water into the landscape.  Our glazing details are intended to dematerialize the building’s seams: eaves come apart from the walls, corners detach, the roof tears open to connect the light bamboo-lined interior to the expanse and beauty of the site; long views, the canopies of oaks, and the ever-changing coastal sky encompass the small building.


Photos | Text by Gray Organschi Architecture


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