IN A TOP-TO-BOTTOM RENOVATION of a bay-side A-frame home on Fire Island, Bromley Caldari turned a seasoned beach rental into a sleek, modern hide-out. Rethinking the iconic 1960s A-frame form, architects R. Scott Bromley and Jerry Caldari broke through the envelope of the building to weave a sculptural staircase through the airy three-story structure. Working with local builder Walter Boss, the team made preserving the surrounding natural habitat and pristine views a priority.
The A-Frame home had a spiral staircase that split the center of the home; four cramped, dark bedrooms; a leaky roof; and a cracked pile foundation. It was not the beautifully designed vacation home that is so often associated with Fire Island Pines. However, the architects, builders, and clients saw the potential, and the poolside sunsets over the Great South Bay were spectacular.
Blocking that great view and occupying the heart of the house was the old, six-foot-diameter steel spiral staircase. The clients were willing to sacrifice a bedroom or two to remove that remnant.
With the lot coverage at its limit, Bromley and Caldari took advantage of a local law that permits bay windows to project a maximum of two feet from the building envelope. The new stair would tuck into two large bay windows staggered at different elevations on each side of the house, with a cat-walk balcony off the master bedroom to connect the two sides. Views of the bay are framed at each elevation.
On the main level, of this A – Fram is a double-height living and dining room stretches the length of the window-clad North façade. The open kitchen and house utilities run along the south side. The master bedroom suite has full-height glass sliding doors to take advantage of the view. When privacy is required, the sliding glass doors fog up at the flick of a switch.
Under the peak on the third level is a quiet second bedroom and den, which doubles as a third bedroom when needed. The two rooms are connected by a walkthrough bathroom with a glass shower enclosure on one side and a glass-enclosed powder room on the other. Pocket doors at each end allow for privacy