In New Yorkers’ Vacation Homes, Less Is More

It’s a sentiment that will sound familiar, and extremely appealing, to anyone who has ever gone weak in the knees over those bare-bones “tiny houses” that have launched a movement. While Bupp’s Catskills house is not tiny, exactly, it’s driven by the same principle, which is that the most attainable kind of vacation home can also be the most appealing, allowing you to actually vacation by not requiring the costs or maintenance that come with bigger, show-pony houses. And as Bupp’s charming house proves, smaller budgets don’t mean you have to sacrifice great design. In fact, you have to rely on it.

Maria McManus and Mark Gibson, an Irish-born, Manhattan-based couple, own a weekend place with an origin story and vibe similar to Bupp’s, albeit in an entirely different setting: a suburban-feeling block in the Ditch Plains area of Montauk. It was the structure of the house that they fell in love with, an unusual and striking double A-frame built in 1982. But the interior needed work. “There were wall-to-wall carpets, and the hallway was almost bigger than the bedroom, and tiled,” McManus says.

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Perfectly Spare Retreats

CreditBlaine Davis

With their longtime friend, the architect Tommy Ryan, the couple set out to create a home that encompassed the whitewashed Scandinavian aesthetic that they favor, inspired by McManus’s self-described “obsession” with the design and color palette of the nearby Parrish Museum (her company, a fashion consultancy, is called Parish) and by the history of the area. Ryan, who once worked for the architect Richard Meier, notes that in the ’70s, Meier and his contemporaries designed Hamptons homes not unlike this one: “Simple, small wood houses that had bold cubist forms.” One of the first decisions that he and the couple made was to make the house’s exterior black, to emphasize…

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