An indoor-outdoor house, defined, in part, by Adirondack style and, in part, by what its owners call Thai Art Deco, is hidden a few hundred feet off Montauk Highway in Amagansett.
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Behind the Bayberry Nursery on a pond surrounded by woodland, the house expresses the creative imaginations of David Seeler, who has owned the nursery since 1970, and his wife, Ngaere Macray, an artist and garden expert.
Two years after Mr. Seeler bought the nursery, he bought a small flat-roofed house behind it to the south and made it his home. The following year, he acquired eight acres to the west, which provided a deep buffer for it.
Today, the house, which totals 3,500 square feet, has three overlapping roofs, or bonnets, as Mr. Seeler sometimes calls them. They flare out at the base, giving rise to the Thai Art Deco description. The major renovation of the house started in 2000 and its new wing was completed in 2008. Mr. Seeler planned the architectural “bones,” while Ms. Macray concentrated on the fine points. Ken Pascual, who runs the design department at the nursery, put in the pond.
The flared roofs allow the windows to be open when it rains. “I always hated houses where you have to close the windows when it rains,” Mr. Seeler said, as he showed two visitors around last week. Their curved shape also works to shade the house from the sun in summer, while in winter, Mr. Seeler said, “it works in reverse. The sun is lower and comes in under the eaves and warms the house,” The interior space is “arranged to be centered under the shapes created by the roofs,” he said.
Mr. Seeler grew up on Long Island. He reinforced his inclination to work in the field of design by earning a master’s degree in landscape architecture at the University of Georgia. Ms. Macray, who was born in Nigeria and grew up in England and Switzerland, founded Sagapress, which has published some 40 books on classic gardens and master gardeners. She edited and published “The Complete Flower Paintings and Drawings of Graham Stuart Thomas.” Her own artwork, paintings and sculpture, is throughout the house.
Between the house and garden designs the couple did for clients over the years and Ms. Macray’s house in Sagaponack, where they live for six months of the year, the couple had lots of practice when they undertook the renovation.
A remarkable feature of the house is that every room has garden and water views. From the ground floor living room, or great room, for example, you can look north through glass doors toward a walled-in pool and garden. The predominant color on some of the walls and the trim around the windows and French doors is a warm, pale green, intended to invite the garden in.
The new west wing contains only 900 square feet but its ground-floor sitting room stretches to a deck over the pond, making it seem larger than it is. It is possible here to be inside and yet outside on the pond.
“I wanted it to look like a converted boathouse,” Mr. Seeler said, referring to boathouses on Saranac Lake in the Adirondacks.
A huge window fills most of the wall facing the pond. It can be lowered electronically into the basement and a screen raised in its place, or not. A large horizontal painting by the late Newton Haydn Stubbing of Sagaponack is on the wall above it.
Stairs lead to a balcony, which serves as a library, a bedroom, and a large bathroom with ample closet space and a clawfoot tub. To accomplish this under the Continued from C1
eaves, they broke into what was the attic of the adjacent wing.
The couple’s interest in the visual arts and man-made objects is evident everywhere. The weathervane on one of the roofs is topped by a delicate dragonfly. A crow made of wire sits on the apex of another roof.
Artwork enhances every room. In addition to Ms. Macray’s pieces and the Stubbing, Jane Wilson, Sheridan Lord, James Britton, Elwood Howell, Ralph Carpentier, Denise Regan, and Scott Kelley are represented.
“We try to buy paintings from local artists, ones that we really like. Because they’re local; that’s the fun part,” Mr. Seeler said. He also has a collection of parts of stained-glass windows in spots throughout the house, many of which come from France.
The ground floor living room combines with a dining area and kitchen to form a great room. A double fireplace heats it as well as the master bedroom quarters behind a wall. The master suite, including bathroom and closets, measures 24 by 20.
There are two other bedrooms upstairs, under a roof of their own. They measure only 20 square feet. “It’s nice to have space when there are guests,” Mr. Seeler said, noting that each wing has a separate entrance and that the bedrooms were kept small on purpose. “How much time do people really spend in their bedrooms?” Old shutters serve as headboards.
Simple painted furniture throughout the house was collected by Ms. Macray at antiques stores on the East End. The bedroom floors are covered with beige wall-to-wall carpeting,with Turkish area rugs in certain spots; the floors in the dining and living areas are wood and also have Turkish area rugs.
Mr. Seeler is proud of four outstanding pieces of furniture. One is a seed cabinet with tin-lined drawers; another an oak cabinet. He coveted them at Sterling’s Seed Company in Cutchogue and, when the business closed shop, was able to buy them.
Although some of the spaces in the house are small, the ambience of the house, along with the flower gardens and pool, is spacious and open. The couple even have their own tiny island in the pond. A small boat tucked under the deck of the west wing takes them there.