What’s black and white and red all over? It could be a newspaper, or it could be the house in Sagaponack where Alec and Leslie Sokolow live. Instead of being crammed with antiques and collectibles, it is filled with space, and more space, and crimson surprises.
The minimalist approach to the Craftsman-style, three-story house was a conscious choice for the 40-something Sokolows, who divide their time between the South Fork and Santa Monica, Calif.
“White space breeds creativity,” said Mr. Sokolow, who was nominated with Joel Cohen for an Oscar for the “Toy Story” screenplay.
Mr. Sokolow spent summers in Bridgehampton when he was growing up, and the couple knew the nearby north-of-the-highway house in the woods, which was built in 2001, was for them as soon as they saw it.
There is no front door. Or back door. Instead, there are two sets of French doors on the porch, which is framed in a way that would make it easy to expand. And, it is built around a tree.
“When I saw the porch, I knew we would be spending most of our time living on it,” Mrs. Sokolow, a photographer, said.
Hidden behind the Poxabogue golf course and adjacent to the Long Island train tracks, the house has soaring ceilings and open stairways. Its rooms are connected in an open way, and muted shades of white and tan help create a feeling of breathing room, an illusion of both beach house and SoHo loft.
Mrs. Sokolow’s photographs of beaches and moody ocean waves decorate some of the walls, as do large, black-and-white cloth posters of old Manhattan subway stops.
“I bought a long roll of them,” Mrs. Sokolow said. “Then I cut them out and framed them.”
The main level of the house has a large kitchen, dining room, sitting room, and an office around the main staircase, which is in the middle of the square house. There are no doors between them. But its character is defined by the porch, which wraps around three sides and has a crimson red floor. Other red objects — a pool umbrella, an armchair, a rug — add kicky color to the otherwise tranquil environment.
“We like the little eye-catching boldness of red, and especially more modern items counterbalanced with shabby genteel,” Mr. Sokolow explained.
Many of those “shabby genteel” pieces were brought here from Los Angeles when they bought the house three years ago, including a Pennsylvania Dutch armoire. There are a lot of armoires chez Sokolow, and for good reason.
“You can tell a bachelor built this place,” Mrs. Sokolow said with a smile. “There are no closets.”
Because the rooms are open, every one seems to be a corner, and every corner seems to be a room. “We value the myriad of contemplative nooks,” Mr. Sokolow said.
The bedrooms, on the second floor, are not large and they surround the central staircase. They do have doors, but every door has a large transom, and the transoms create an illusion of one open room. The bedroom furnishings and covers are white. This would seem a surprising choice in a house with children, but the Sokolow kids have a place of their own.
Maya, 14, is a painter and budding fashion designer, and Eli, who is 12, is a guitarist. The Sokolows have given the children free rein of their double-height garage, which has a cement floor and barn doors.
“We took them to see ‘Exit Through The Gift Shop,’ ” Mr. Sokolow said, referring to an acclaimed film about street art. “We basically told them they could tag this whole space.”
As a result, spray-paint artwork covers the garage’s walls, although there is a wall of movie posters from some of Mr. Sokolow’s projects: “Evan Almighty,” two “Garfield” movies, and a remake of “Cheaper by the Dozen,” in addition to “Toy Story.”
“I call that wall ‘Tuition Don’t Pay for Itself,’ ” Mr. Sokolow said.
A loft in the garage, with slanted ceilings, a crimson floor, and more subway posters, is a guest room.
Noting that some of the modern furnishings in the house came from boutique hotels that were either upgrading or going out of business, Mrs. Sokolow pointed to a marble-top table and said it was from the Mondrian, an ultra-hip hotel in Los Angeles, which has clones in SoHo and Miami.
Back in the house, the smaller third floor has its own wraparound porch. It houses a few pieces of gym equipment, which are rarely used.
“We love how open, yet private, the house is,” Mr. Sokolow said. It’s a good thing, too, as there is an enormous amount of construction taking place on East Woods Path.
“We feel connected to the nature that surrounds us, yet it always seems framed in a portrait,” Mr. Sokolow said. “We’re living amongst the trees.” The Sokolows have named their trees, too: Ulysses, Paradiso, Oberon, and other characters from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
They may be romantics, but both Sokolows find time to work when they are here. “The house inspires us to create,” Mr. Sokolow said. “It is both playful and serene.”