This week we’re off to a beach bungalow in the Hamptons to get our last taste of summer and catch up with tS member firm Uli & Associates (formally Fractal Construction). Firm owner and lead architect, Ulises “Uli” Liceaga walked us through the recent renovation of his own summer home, this little 800 square foot, 2 bedroom bungalow, which he retrofitted for his family of 7 — yep, Uli and his wife Christina have 5 kids, all under the age of 8! The family enjoys a particularly active lifestyle; they especially love biking, horseback riding, kitesurfing and wakeboarding, and they spend a lot of time in the Hamptons during the summers. So, a few years ago they purchased their own house at Amagansett’s Lazy Point, a kitesurfing and windsurfing mecca. While the location was perfect, the house itself was far from it, and Uli immediately got to work designing his family’s new beach bungalow.
The before conditions were dark, cramped and outdated, so the main objectives of the renovation were to open up and modernize the space. One of the biggest challenges for the designer was working within the 800 sqft footprint of the original home. Due to building restrictions in the Hamptons it’s really hard to get approval for exterior changes, which meant that Uli had to figure out how he would accommodate his dynamic family without expanding the size of the home. A second big challenge came when there was a delay in the closing of the house, and they ended up with only a month to do the renovation.
“You’ve seen those shows where they renovate a house in a few weeks time, well that’s what we did. I grabbed a couple of crews and we worked weekends and long days. It took about 21 days. I set up a trailer there, and stayed there. People don’t believe me when I tell them how long it actually took. When I look back I can’t believe we did it.”
-Ulises Liceaga, tS member & owner of Uli and Associates
Once construction started, it quickly became clear that a full-scale gut renovation was necessary, as the house’s structural shell turned out to be completely rotten. Outside, the original deck was so rotted out that you couldn’t tell where it began or ended. The local conservation codes also prevented Uli from changing the footprint of the deck in the new design, so, after removing its decayed remnants, the team did their best to reconstruct the deck’s original form.
Inside the finished space, the transformation is astounding! We love the exposed cedar framework; Uli effectively modernized the original design by stripping the building down to its most basic form. He then highlighted the rebuilt structure by using simple but beautiful materials and finishes. An additional bonus is that the exposed trusses also make a great place to store the family’s surf boards! At the back, the all new kitchen features new stainless steel appliances and glass door cabinets from Ikea. Other modern furnishings throughout the home are from Room and Board including a desk and storage shelves made from reclaimed wood.
The functional-meets-whimsical design of Uli’s beach retreat was inspired not only by his unique family, but by the architect’s belief that successful design is about responding to the needs of modern living. The finished bungalow is indeed modern yet very practical.
We can’t imagine a better place to spend this Labor Day, have a fun and safe weekend!
Many thanks to Uli & Associates for sharing this beautiful transformation, and congratulations on a difficult job well done! Thanks also to photographer Jacob Sadrak for sharing these beautiful photos.
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