It was a charming charming salt in the Hamptons. Now it is something else.

It was a charming charming salt in the Hamptons.  Now it is something else.


After 25 years of owning a charming salt house in the Wainscott woods, a village in East Hampton, NY, Joe Tringali was ready for a change – a dramatic one.

“He wanted to live in a glass box,” said his architect. Reid Balthaser.

Mr Tringali, now 66, bought the three-bedroom, two-bathroom salt in 1992 for $ 620,000 and had used it mostly on weekends and during the summer. But six years ago, when he retired from his job as a lawyer (he now teaches at New York University and the University of Miami), he began spending more time there. And the little things he once considered vaguely irritating became great annoyances.

Credit …Eric Striffler for The New York Times

His loft-style bedroom, for example, was on the second floor and had no door, so he could hear everything that was going on downstairs. And the living room looked south but did not get much light, so he rarely used it.

His tastes, too, had changed over time. The decor once had a “heavy Santa Fe layer layered with folk art,” he said Robert Kaner, his friend and interior designer. Now looking dated, Mr. Tringali decided and needed a clean, modern aesthetic.

Mr. Balthaser offered him three options: Sell the house and build a new one elsewhere. Break it down and build a new one on the same piece. Or do what Mr. Balthaser described as a “cured intervention” – a fancy way to suggest a bowel rejuvenation.

Mr. Tringali chose the third option and began a two-year process of turning salt into the modernist home of his dreams (and adding a bedroom and bathroom along the way).

Mr. Balthaser’s strategy was to preserve the shape of the original house while expanding it to create more space and light, using specific materials to define the old from the new.

“Everything that was new to the existing trail” – including the extended living room, larger guest bathrooms, new guest room and deck outside the primary bedroom – “we were dressed in thin cedar and close, “he said. “Everything that existed, we refinished in mortar.”

At the entrance, the vertical cedar tiles create a dramatic display that rises along the stairs instead of a solid wall – an element that Mr. Tringali calls “a work of art in itself.”

Bringing cedar inside the house was “a bold thing to do for a colonial salt,” Mr Balthaser said, but “it blurs the boundaries between inside and out and helps it feel contemporary and fresh.”

At the top of the stairs is Mr. Tringali’s new bedroom suite, with a re-imagined bathroom and, yes, a proper door.

At the beginning of the trial, Mr. Tringali introduced Mr. Balthaser to Mr. Kaner, a former attorney who had been a partner in Mr. Tringali’s law firm and who had designed his Miami home a decade ago. Together they well arranged some conclusions, and mr. Kaner then used the neutral range of architectural elements to support the interior design, creating each room around variations in a single color: blue in the living room, red in the pit, and greens in the master bedrooms.

Mr Tringali, his interior designer noted, is a fan of colors that are “beautiful and sophisticated but sharp – they are not in the Crayola box”.

Mr Kaner was given “a lot of leeway” to choose furniture, he said, a task he undertook with the aim of creating a home that was not “just for the summer – I envisioned it as a great place to go anytime of the year. ”

Those who saw the house before the renovation, which costs approximately $ 1.5 million, will know little of it now. The floor plan is similar, but almost everything else is new, including most furniture and accessories. The pool has also been reconfigured.

One thing that survived: the non-functioning windmill in the backyard that came with the house when Mr. Tringali bought it.

Subject to much debate during renovation, it is currently used for preservation. But Mr Balthaser hopes Mr Tringali will eventually allow him to make another cured intervention.

“I want to blow it open and turn it into a caban space,” he said. “It would make the bar cooler.”

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