This Long Island Retreat Is a Neutral Oasis With Nautical Touches

Though Albert Sebag’s waterfront residence in Atlantic Beach, New York, is just a 40-minute drive from the city, the home “truly feels like you have escaped to New England,” says AD100 designer Neal Beckstedt, who completed the property’s full ground-up design, as well as its exteriors, over the course of many years.

This two-story summer home is one of several projects on which Beckstedt, the founder of Manhattan-based Neal Beckstedt Studio, and Sebag, the founder and CEO of Guidepoint Global LLC, have worked together; Beckstedt has also designed or is in the process of wrapping up four additional spaces. These include Sebag’s 38,000-square-foot offices in Manhattan, his West Village home, a mountaintop residence in Cold Spring, New York, and a former home on the Upper East Side. “Neal really understands what I’m looking for, which sometimes isn’t always clear to me,” Sebag says. “I’ve learned over the years to trust that he will come up with something incredible, and this approach has never failed.”

The Atlantic Beach home is located on a very rectangular lot, but the existing structure wasn’t well positioned to fully enjoy the surrounding water views, Beckstedt explains, and he therefore executed a complete teardown. “It was about reconceiving everything about this property and how to make it into an amazing vacation house and beach house,” the designer says. “The issue with these square homes in tight lots is they cut the property in half, whereby you have a home on one side and a yard on the side,” Sebag says. “I wanted a house with the yard running across the property and a pool on the side, because I love a grassy backyard and the water running parallel to it.”

Sebag also wanted every room to be purposeful and feel connected to the bayfront. “I was totally on board, even though it was so abstract compared to the neighborhood homes,” the homeowner says of the structure, which he describes as a “contemporary looking rectangular barn with large windows.” When it was completed, he adds, “People in the neighborhood were blown away by the house, as it really stood out.”

In designing the interior of the home, “I wanted it to have a little edge,” Beckstedt says, noting that many modern homes are devoid of personality. “I wanted this to have some zing.” Sebag enjoys boating and fishing, and Beckstedt wanted to weave those motifs into the house too, in order to design “a Nantucket house, but with a sleek, masculine, modern take on it.” The ebonized and brushed knotty cedar walls in the home create an effect that is similar in resemblance to the shou sugi ban technique.