Salles Schaffer's Shoreline Dining


The New York City-based architect Julie Salles Schaffer designed this second home for her family of four on the coast of Connecticut. Conceived of as a simple wooden box, the architect pushed and pulled on the volume to create intersections of solid and void, resulting in a house that maximizes natural light, fresh air, and views over neighboring Long Island Sound. The manipulations allow the family’s teenage daughters to have their privacy, while anchoring activity around the kitchen, the literal and social center. A central breezeway frames a yard and rocky shoreline below.Andrew Bartle Architects Photograph: Durston Saylor

Photograph by Michael Moran

Schaffer’s eye for decorating brings warmth and life to the house’s functional form and pared-down, elegant detailing. The juxtaposition is apparent in the open-plan living and dining room, where Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s flat-bar Brno chairs set the scene for shared meals. Schaffer describes the space:

“I assembled a collection of 20th century-inspired furniture, including a screen by Piero Fornasetti to serve as a powerful pastoral backdrop for the dining area. Mies van der Rohe’s Brno chairs by Knoll are upholstered in a leather that picks up the middle-grey tones in the screen and complements the richness of the wooden table. The Brno chairs provide a casual and comfortable yet elegant for space for family dinners and conversation while taking in the stunning view of the Sound.”

Find out more about the WMF/Knoll Modernism Prize.