For more than 60 years, Sound View in Greenport—a sleepy town on Long Island, New York’s North Fork where organic farms, wineries, and a charming city center make up a laidback way of life—served as a convivial meeting place for locals who would gather at its onsite eatery, Jack’s Shack, for a meal, a drink, and a chat. Part-time resident Erik Warner saw an opportunity in the rundown motel and its enviable perch directly above the Long Island Sound. Warner is co-owner of Eagle Point Hotel Partners, which has a successful track record of renovating old properties into popular hotspots.
He brought in Studio Tack, a Brooklyn-based design firm cofounded by Jou-Yie Chou, Leigh Salem, W. Brian Smith, and Ruben Caldwell that has transformed dated properties like the Anvil Hotel in Jackson, Wyoming, another Eagle Point hotel, and Casa Bonay in Barcelona into hospitality all-stars. Warner’s main directive asked that Sound View remain accessible for locals. “I promised the community I would embrace and enhance a property that had been a mainstay for decades,” Warner says.
Studio Tack did just that by culling inspiration from Sound View’s history. “We thought about the glory days of these types of structures being built in the 1950s and ’60s, the great American road trip and the glorification of the automobile,” says Chou. “We tried to find those beautiful moments within that time period where these things were so prolific and instill that into this property.” That meant keeping the original buildings in tact but making the décor welcoming through airy, egalitarian proportions.
Besides history, the surrounding landscape plays an integral part in the design. Chamfered corners, capped columns, wooden benches, and restored vintage lighting in the lobby lounge, where guests can take in waterfront views over breakfast and cocktails, are modeled on ferries that traffic the nearby waterways. “It’s a vessel that is utilitarian, that is functional but there’s also a beauty to that,” says Smith, who regards this inspiration as his favorite part of the project.
Across the 55 guestrooms and suites, with either a shared patio or private balcony, a Bauhaus-meets-the beach aesthetic is captured with recycled cork-and-rubber floors that resemble the just-outside-the-door pebble beach; maroon custom bedspreads remind of fiery sunsets; and bespoke cedar shiplap walls recall a modernist interpretation of waves. In keeping with Warner’s directive, Studio Tack worked with local artisans on furniture and millwork to “keep it in the family,” says Smith.
At the Halyard, helmed by James Beard award-winning chef Galen Zamarra of Mas (Farmhouse) in Manhattan, a light-drenched room with nautical touches including a navy palette and rope-back custom chairs serves as the backdrop for a seafood-inspired menu. The inviting space, which comes with a dining deck, is sure to become another gathering spot for the community and beyond, allowing Warner to keep his promise.
Smith says one of the challenges the team faced was to creating a lived-in look for the property, which is now made of four buildings. “A lot of things you see in here are certainly risks other hotel groups would never take on because they would say that’s going to rot, that’s going to scuff, that’s going to stain,” Smith says. “Allow it to stain, allow it to patina, allow it to have its natural life. Stop trying to shield and protect everything.”
Says Warner: “Everyone on the project went above and beyond expectations to create something incredible.”