The Saltbox house is actually about as American as it gets. First created in the 1600’s in New England, it gets its name from having the same shape as the traditional wooden box used to store salt, that had a gabled roof shape. The New England classic then had a makeover in the mid 20th century when architects like Charles Gwathmey and Norman Jaffe embraced the form and used it to inspire their Modernist beach houses.
The extreme roof line and textured wood paneling give the Saltbox a very distinct feel. To me it says summer, Hamptons, beach.
With materials meant to be raw and weathered from the salt air and sun, and lines that are clean and modern in form, it’s a gorgeous contrast of sensibilities and as with anything classic, totally stands the test of time.
Evocative sensations of the season, with glimpses of a classic East Coast summer, best captured in Tom Bianchi’s ‘Fire Island Pines, Polaroids 1975-1983’. You can almost feel the heat of the sun and sense the long, lazy summer days, where the focus is on enjoying life, being in the moment, and appreciating the beauty in simple things.
Beauty in ourselves, beauty in others and beauty in the places we’ve built to inhabit.
Unfortunately over the past 8 years, since I have lived in the Hamptons, many of these beautiful homes have been torn down and replaced with colossal cookie-cutter Dutch Colonial’s.
Enjoy the Saltbox shapes while you can, as they are not much in fashion these days. Hopefully people will restore the few remaining ones we have left.
To put my money where my mouth is, I am in the process of buying one and will be blogging the restoration over the next 12 months…
I look forward to sharing the process as it unfolds!