As a leader in the New York City residential real estate market, Louise Phillips Forbes was well acquainted with the work of HGTV stars Robert and Cortney Novogratz when she asked them to design her family’s new getaway in the Hamptons.
Louise and her family owned a half-million-dollar lot in Montauk Shores-a 20-acre trailer park known as a billionaire hotspot for its high-end amenities and coveted beach location-and they wanted to install a roughly $200,000 double-wide prefab from Indiana-based Hi-Tech Housing. The family of four called upon the Novogratz design duo’s playful and artsy design sensibilities to transform the "generic white box prefab" into a cozy surfer paradise.
The Montauk Surf Shack is clad in stacked ipe wood siding. Under Montauk Shores’ rules, all new construction must be wheeled in.
"Because the home was built off-site, we didn’t have the opportunity to spend time in it before we started our decorating plans, which is unusual for us," share the Novogratzes, who featured the prefab home in their new book, Novogratz Design Fix: Chic and Stylish Tips for Every Decorating Scenario. "We had to rely on blueprints and the manufacturer’s renderings, and extrapolate the best we could."
The home is located just steps away from the beach. Montauk Shores boasts approximately 900 feet of waterfront coastline and a tight-knit community.
To make the 1,160-square-foot prefab feel more spacious for the family of four, the Novogratzes asked the factory to increase the ceiling height by a few feet, remove several walls, and install taller doors. The prefab was constructed in two parts and then shipped to the site and installed atop the existing foundation.
The vanity was installed at the factory, and the mirrors and lights were added on-site.
In the master bedroom, the designers reupholstered the West Elm headboard with a Hot Coral fabric from their collection. The bedside table was crafted by a local artisan.
"The clients live in New York City, and they were looking for a simple escape on the beach," note the Novogratzes. "They are a surfing family and wanted the home to represent that. They asked that the outdoor space be as livable as the interior, and that the interior feel like them-open, warm, and relaxed."
The clients’ paddle collection and surf art are used as decor in the beach-inspired interior.
An aerial photo of a beach hangs above a wall-mounted 3X shelf by LAXseries.
The outdoor bench is covered with Maharam fabric. The surfboard coffee table was built by one of the client’s sons.
To visually open up the home, the Novogratzes utilized a minimalist design approach and a light, neutral palette. Bold pops of color, texture, and local art infuse the prefab home with personality and charm.
In an experimental move, the designers used different upholstery for the sectional. Colorful stripes and baby blue complement the cool gray tones.
Tony Caramanico artwork hangs on wave-patterned wallpaper. "We purchased the art for this house locally and online," note the designers. "Some of our favorite surf photographers are Tony Caramanico, LeRoyGrannis, Jeff Divine, and Clark Little."
In the boys’ shared room, the Novogratzes wrapped a pair of IKEA trundles with Jonathan Adler fabric. The bright-orange surfboard provides a vibrant contrast of color to the blue bedding.
Along with the surfing-inspired decor, large windows and sliding glass doors that connect to an outdoor patio emphasize the indoor/outdoor living experience.
The vintage 1940s whale sculpture located right below the vaulted ceiling was a travel souvenir.
Since Forbes preferred a matte finish, the Absolute Black Granite slab was installed upside down for the kitchen counters.
"We loved the kitchen, as it was unique for a home like this," say the Novogratzes. "It felt like being in a city loft apartment, but then opened up to the outdoors, letting in wind and ocean scents. Whenever you can open the kitchen to the outdoors, something magical happens."
The Lucy barstools from Bend Goods are topped with neoprene-covered cushions for durability. The giant Flos pendant lights are by Marcel Wanders.