The Antler House, a delightfully quirky vacation home designed by the midcentury architect Andrew Geller in the East Hamptons, has been almost irreparably modified since it was first completed in 1968. While previous occupants have replaced original, handmade details with catalog materials and modern appliances more times than one can count, the current owners, Chris Fisher and Blair Moritz, sought to restore the minuscule space back to its original charm after purchasing it in 2014.
The clients commissioned the Brooklyn- and Richmond, Virginia-based firm Architecture AF to pour through original documents to return the home to its heyday while carefully adding 21st comforts. The team began by stripping away the subsequent additions and restoring the original cedar cladding, the texture of which now nearly steals the spotlight in every one of the home’s oddly-shaped rooms. All of the original gypsum board has been replaced with fragrant #2 cedar, while midcentury and midcentury-inspired furniture has been added to the space to further the home’s design origins. “In a neighborhood replete with trophy homes,” the architects write on their website, “we are proud and gracious to have had the opportunity to restore a mid-century work of art that another owner may have razed.”
The firm’s major design contribution comes in the form of a raised deck accessible via a boldly triangular staircase that compliments the overall geometry of the original building. They were careful, however, to keep the vast majority of the surrounding landscape untouched. “A conservationist at heart,” they explain, “Geller believed that no house should occupy more than 20 [percent] of the site.”
The Antler House is just one of many vacation homes Geller designed along the East Coast, all of which are similarly eccentric and creatively low budget. The architect, a relatively unsung design figure, has been behind some of the most significant projects of modern design and political history, including the interiors of SOM’s Lever House in Manhattan and, according to the New York Times, the “typical American house” that shaped the background of the infamous Kitchen Debate between then-Vice President Richard M. Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev.