Ditch Plains is more or less code for ‘surfing’. A collection of relatively small cottages, trailers and vans in Montauk, NY, centered on the search for the perfect wave. The half acre lot, located in a FEMA flood zone and encroached by wetlands dictated a compact cube. Elevated on piles and conceived as an ‘upside down’ house, the project locates public spaces such as the living room, dining room and kitchen on the top floor to make the most of the ocean views, while locating bedrooms on the lower floor to enhance privacy behind native plantings and a sculpted landscape.
The design strategy process was more subtractive than additive. By carving away at the cube, openings to outdoor spaces, circulation and areas sheltered from wind and sun were created. While the FEMA height constraints restricted large floor to ceiling heights, the placement of a glazed, double height entry space helps to decompress arrival and public rooms.
Outdoor terraces on both floors at the front of the house provide public and private gathering spaces with views to the water. An exterior stair from the rear of the top floor allows for easy access to the rear yard, outdoor kitchen, lounge, fire pit and shower.
Montauk is known for extremely windy, brutal winters so exterior detailing and materials were chosen with an eye toward longevity. Naturally aged cedar, mahogany decks and anodized aluminum windows were all chosen for these reasons.