Six in Sag Harbor


I’VE REALLY GROWN TO LOVE Sag Harbor, particularly the back streets. The historic whaling village is packed with uber-charming cottages — at this time of year, often covered in climbing roses.

Surprisingly, this year’s annual Sag Harbor House Tour, which takes place Friday, July 10, features a much more varied selection of houses than one might expect in a town whose history goes back to 1707, including a couple of startlingly modern ones.

Among the six houses on the tour is a 19th century workingman’s cottage owned by the proprietors of Fisher’s Antiques, a longtime fixture in the village, where walls have been removed to create an open, airy interior filled with a mix of modern, historic, and handmade furniture.

And yes, there’s a classic Greek Revival built in the 1840s by Daniel Smith, a merchant sloop captain, and a rambling barn-red house with an artist’s studio, a collection of Oriental rugs, and kitchen cabinets fashioned from leftover floorboards.

But there’s also a pre-fab, modular 2,500 square foot house in nearby Noyac, top and below, designed by architect/owner Laszlo Kiss — an ecologically correct dwelling so tricked out with energy-saving features that the energy bill for a year, including heating, cooling, and maintaining the swimming pool, is less than $1,300.


The architect calls it the “ASAP House,” for “About Saving A Planet.” Set back behind ornamental grasses  and clematis climbing up steel wires, the structure, built last year, uses photovoltaic panels, geothermal heating, and natural shade and light.

Kiss hopes to build more ASAP houses, the design of which can be adapted to the needs of its owners. The house takes only 7 to 9 months to build. The cost per square foot: $265.

The tour benefits the John Jermain Library. Tickets are $40 at the library, 201 Main Street in Sag Harbor. For further information, call 631/725-0049.

About cara

I blog (for fun) here at casaCARA, and write (for money) about architecture, interiors, gardens and travel for many national magazines and websites.
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4 Responses to Six in Sag Harbor

  1. margauxhf says:

    The “ASAP House” sounds amazing, I want it. Also, I would be happy to trade in my energy bill for that one.

  2. patrick says:

    RE the “ASAP” house: I went to a yard sale there about a month ago. Lots of broken toys and useless, garish things from Ikea. Very appropos, given the house. Yuck.

    In my admittedly not so cultured view, This is like an ugly girly trying to pass as cool by wearing too much makeup and silly clothes. It’s an unattractive house that looks like a trailer or a freight car with some weird industrial cable thing attached to it, and for $265 a square foot, I would imagine one could build a good looking house that was also green. I wonder what the neighbors think about this eyesore that is so out of character with the kind of suburban 1970s looking neighborhood. At least if the vines grow up the “trellis” they will somewhat conceal it.

    In contrast, there is a gorgeous modern house being built on the water around the corner. Cement, stone, steel and wood. That is modern done well. The ASAP house appears, at least from the outside, to be ugly masquerading as modern, screaming “pay attention to me” (which I guess is why they volunteered to be on a house tour).

  3. cara says:

    Hi Patrick, thanks for your thoughtful comment. I hope if the architect reads it, his feelings aren’t too hurt. Anyway, I don’t agree. I like the look of it and would probably think the surrounding neighborhood is the eyesore. Now you’ve got me curious, I will go and check it out for the context (I didn’t make the Sag Harbor house tour today!), as well as that house you think is so gorgeous around the corner;-) Clearly you are not an aficianado of modernism – which is fine, I prefer old houses myself (or I wouldn’t have started a blog about them) – but I appreciate the Kiss house (and love the name!)

  4. patrick says:

    Hi, Cara. Thanks. I hope the architect’s feelings aren’t hurt, either! Hey, can’t argue about that low energy bill in any event. Curious to see what you think.

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