Project Spotlight: Pratt Island

Architectural rules are meant to be challenged.

When you’re searching for inspiration, sometimes all you have to do is look up.

It may sound cheesy, but inspiration really is all around us, and we continually look for inspiration from the settings and surroundings of our project locations. 

When we were tasked with a remarkable project on the coast of Darien, we used elements of the tranquil ocean view, as well as the palette of the property’s striking sunsets, to create a structure that was at once honoring the Shingle-Style while exuding warmth, vibrancy and eclecticism. Our first instincts were not to bulldoze the existing structure that sat on the property, but to envision how we could leave remnants of the history of the mini-peninsula on which it existed into the new structure we were to create. The result was a “fat” and free-flowing plan that recalls quintessential New England architecture.

Our Inspiration

We approached this Pratt Island project inspired by the shape of the natural landscape around us. The setting was an impressive site to behold–a craggy New England mini-peninsula with sand splits and rock outcroppings in tidal waters framing Long Island Sound views of New York City. The site was also a coastal center stage for remarkable sunsets.

Working with the preferences of the owners and inspired by the bold colors of the setting sun over the Sound, we knew the structure had to offer a liveliness of variety, richness and texture that is too often lost by consistency.

Our Design

The colors, lighting and mood had to be warm and rich; the angles had to take full advantage of the sun and all its glory. We wanted the exterior to honor the traditions of the Shingle-Style, with the interiors of the home displaying the modern eclecticism that represented the owner’s tastes and individuality. 

The building envelope was so constrained that we left scraps of an existing ranch house, preserving them and weaving them into the new structure. This didn’t pose as an issue, but as a character-builder for the home—weaving in what exists enriches the new while celebrating the old.

Waterfront glass walls arch through the expansion of the stunning view. Shingle-Style space planning bestowed the open plan of the Modern Movement, allowing the homeowners to take full advantage of this inherent freedom to express their personalities onto others.

Our Philosophy

All homes should enhance, as well as reflect, the complete context within the environment. The Shingle-Style home represents the leisurely, welcoming, relaxed, coastal quaintness of New England itself. Shingle-Style architecture is historical, almost ceremonial–but it is not doctrine, nor does it have to be approached without any room for creativity. The Pratt Island project represents “out-of-the-box” thinking that separates luxury, custom architecture from the rest: elements of the traditional Connecticut home, blended with modern and forward-thinking open planning, and made unique and whole by lacing in the personalities of the owners who now inhabit it. 

Architectural rules are meant to be challenged. Stay within the lines, and your vision will never feel complete.

Start Your Custom Home Build with Christopher Pagliaro Architects

Our team uses concepts of place, light and texture to create boundary-breaking homes that are born out of their natural landscape. To learn more about our award-winning firm and schedule a consultation, call us at 203.838.5517 or fill out the form here


Builder: Fletcher Custom Homes

Shingles: Cedar Bureau

Windows: Marvin Windows

Want to Learn More About Waterfront Architecture?

Hallmark of a Christopher Pagliaro Architects project is the marriage of the structure and site to create a sense of place. To get started on your waterfront home project, get in touch with our team today.

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