Concealed Cottage

An Invisible Guesthouse That Blends Into Nature

Situated on Long Island's East End, this 1,200sf guest house was designed to reveal the woodland and water views from the rear of the structure yet completely conceal itself from the street and neighboring properties.
The artistic client's allowed our team to push the limits of the design and create a cottage that seems to disappear while still providing ample space for long-term guests and hidden, private gallery space.

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Core Design Concepts


The new home occupies the existing foundation of a dilapidated cottage. It is lifted from the foundation by a new, steel frame and CMU block wall. This exposed structure raises the home above the current footprint and serves as a plinth. Lifting the home also allows us to populate the lower level with pieces from the homeowner’s art collection.


While the homeowners wanted a space that would immerse their guests in the natural landscape they also feared that the introduction of a new structure would distract from the beauty of the property’s native wildness. The new guest house addresses this by closing off three sides of the home and focusing all glazing towards the water views.


A single gesture wraps three sides of the cottage while also providing a cantilevering roof. We call this enclosure a cocoon. On the street and neighboring sides, we incorporated a mirrored facade treatment which allows the architecture to seem nearly invisible by reflecting the natural thicket.

The home’s gathering spaces and bedrooms all open up to nature facing the rear of the property. This allows the rooms that are most often occupied to be bathed in ambient light and lush views while storage, bathrooms and utilities are placed along the hallway on the closed-off side of the home.

Watch a 3D tour of the new modern guest house as we further explain some of the design concepts behind the soon-to-be-built residence.

The single form that encloses the home is made evident on the interiors by the decision to line the "cocoon" with a single material. The tone of this natural wood on the ceiling and the three solid walls, paired with the color and texture of the lush natural greenery through the glass window wall, sets the stage for all other interior material selections.

This led us to choose organic ceaserstone counters and a natural stone floor tile that is used consistently throughout the home along with a dark matte cabinetry for the open kitchen and white walls that are just waiting to be adorned with art!


In stark juxtaposition to the untamed woodlands, the architecture follows rigid geometry. The form’s visual references to the perfect squares add both structural efficiency and a comforting sense of balance.


These alignments with a precise grid not only inform the exterior facade, but also bring order to the home’s floor plan and cantilevered roof plane. The decision to break the grid at entry creates an interior space that feels deliberate and harmonious.


The disguised solid form is covered in polished, reflective aluminum panels that are treated with a coating that makes it visible and safe for the birds and wildlife who inhabit these woods. Additionally, the lower level plinth is partially wrapped in translucent polycarbonate that creates the nightly illusion of a floating rectangular void above a band of light.


To dramatically reduce energy consumption, the roof plane is extended beyond the glass walls to prevent summer sun from overheating the home’s interiors. The angled walls that support the overhanging roof help to create additional privacy from the homeowners primary residence.