Pizza Lot, Gourmet View

A ‘modified modern’ house is sited to command 180 undeveloped degrees
The front of the house faces the beach and reveals modern forms softened by angles, setbacks, and wood and stone walls. Durell Godfrey

“I’m a view person,” Susan Dusenberry said not long ago, and it’s true. She has four.

Views are dramatic components of the places she has in St. Thomas, Montana, and Manhattan, but the newest one unfolds from almost every room in her modified-modern house on North Haven. Some would say the view here is even better than an oceanfront vista, which, as she said recently, is “a straight line all day long.”

The 180-degree panorama, heightened in the foreground by an eastern red cedar and three native locust trees, sweeps out over a beach and across Shelter Island Sound to the Mashomack Preserve, commanding Northwest Harbor and ending at a salt marsh edged by trees that block the sight of even one rooftop — unless you count a speck of a house peeking out from trees a mile away. The houses of close neighbors are virtually invisible, and most of the land one sees is legally protected from future development. The summer parade of passing boats is far enough away to be picturesque.

All this is on a lot of barely an acre, shaped, as Ms. Dusenberry described it, “like a slice of pizza.” The 5,000-square-foot, two-year-old house, by the Sag Harbor architect Blaze Makoid, starts at the pointed end of the house lot and fans out from there. Facing the road, two, two-story rectangular wings set at a 120-degree angle to each other have mostly windowless walls on the sides facing neighbors. A two-story, glassed entry foyer connects them, with fieldstone siding on the first floor and cedar above softening their angles. Angela Inzerillo was the project manager.

Then comes what Ms. Dusenberry calls the “holy s--- moment.” That’s when someone steps into the modest living room for the first time and looks through the tall windows and doors, which spread across the entire front of the house facing the water.

For those who can take their eyes off the view, the interior space flows past a stone fireplace into a dining area and elongated kitchen, ending with a screened-in porch. “Dollar for dollar, a screened porch is the best thing you can do,” Ms. Dusenberry avers. “As soon as the weather lets us, we eat every meal we can out there.”

The wings create a “V” that embraces a deck and a rectangular pool. The facade is unified by horizontal bands of cedar across the first and second-floor rooflines. Slightly terraced, curving rows of low plants, including pasture rose, pennisetum, and blue star creepers, look almost like gentle waves lapping against the rise on which the house sits. Beyond them, three kinds of grasses make a gradual color transition from yard to beach. Planned by the Sagaponack landscape designer Jack deLashmet, the plants were required by government regulations to be primarily native.

The panorama continues upstairs, where lest it be interrupted a small, flat-screen TV set at the foot of the bed in the master bedroom pops up from a low cabinet and sinks back into it when not in use. The master bedroom and two of the three upstairs guestrooms have balconies with water views, and a bridge connecting the two wings leads through glass doors to a small deck on the roof of the first floor, complete with a wet bar. Beyond the deck, the roof is planted withsucculents, which Ms. Dusenberry said absorb both summer heat and runoff from rain. The second floor roof, which has studies for Ms. Dusenberry and her longtime companion, Tom Dakin, has solar panels on its roof.

The stone cladding of the house is carried inside in several places, its soft gray and quiet flecks of color having provided cues for the interior designer, Tim Button. Bathroom tiles pick up the stone tints in varied materials. The rest of the interior is painted in a quiet white that shows off Ms. Dusenberry’ s collection of paintings, sculptures, and a Steinway once supposedly  played by Irving Berlin. Extensive built-in furniture is walnut.

Ms. Dusenberry has been coming to Sag Harbor since 1969, and previously had a larger, shingle-style house designed by Peter Cook, also with a water view. But, she said, “I’d already done that.” Explaining why she decided to tear down a fairly recent house on the site, she said, “I’d always respected the modern concept, and I’d been looking at the work of Hugh Newell Jacobson, who makes modern houses with classical saltbox forms. That was the transition. Being a great clipping saver, I remembered a house by Blaze in a magazine that was airy and casual, yet with an elegant interior. I liked the simplicity, and we started talking.”

“I didn’t want a cold modern monolith,” she said, and Mr. Button helped with the graceful placement of sculptures and paintings, many by local artists. “Several people from the garden tour last year commented on how warm and inviting the place was for a decidedly modern structure,” she reported, “and how surprised they were when they came inside.”

Ms. Dusenberry is a former advertising copywriter and creative director. Her late husband, Philip Dusenberry, was a chairman of the Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn agency. Now, she said, “I take pictures all day long.” (Her shot of rainbow-like overlapping bushes and treetops was in The Star a few weeks ago.) “It’s silly for a person who doesn’t do it for a living,” she said, “but I can’t help it.” The inspiration must be the view.

Waves of contrasting plants lap right up to the first-floor deck.Durell Godfrey
Seen from a guestroom balcony, the first-floor roof, planted with succulents, is like a second front yard, albeit a small one. The roof of the second floor is fitted with solar panels. right: The glassed entry foyer, on the road side, is set back and connects the wings.Durell Godfrey
In the living room, the windows take in Shelter Island Sound, Northwest Harbor, and the slightest specks of distant houses. The painting is by David Paulson
Left, a Jane Ritchie painting and the view mirror one another in a guest bedroom. The dining area has the vista to the left and a painted allee on the wall.
The kitchen looks out at plantings on the road side that screen a neighbor’s house.Durell Godfrey