Exploring the relationship between traditional coastal architecture and modern interior style
Out on the farthest stretch of Long Island in Montauk, Robert McKinley and his wife, Kate Nauta, have been developing a distributed cluster of rental homes for vacationers: Etna, Federal, and Edison. Each is unique, but all are created through a network of partnerships with makers and vendors who contribute products to the interior. Heath is happy to be among that community, and we've loved seeing our tile and dinnerware appear in the completed homes. Our co-owner, Cathy, chatted with Robert about the partnership and their shared love of tile.
When McKinley’s team first approached Heath, Cathy recalls, she was drawn to their willingness to be creative with—and responsive to—the elements they had to work with. “I remember we offered a few different tile options and even if it didn’t match the idea they began with, they never got stuck. Iteration happened immediately and that felt really good. They were using tile in a way that gave each room a huge amount of character.”
McKinley, a passionate cook, compares that improvisational spirit to being in the kitchen. “Materials are like ingredients. You can’t get hung up on not having a certain thing,” he says, “And if you have good ingredients to begin with, it doesn’t matter.” You’re already set up for success. The question becomes how you pair them, what gets featured and what plays a supporting role. Plus, says Cathy, “The process is key, and what’s really cool with this project is it keeps expanding to other bungalows, so the process continues to evolve.”
The most recent bungalow, Edison, takes its cues from the house’s original New England Shaker details, mixed with modern perspective. Among many eye-catching moments in the place, the kitchen is a stand-out, with a bright green painted floor and a backsplash made of our Stan Bitters tile in Redwood.
It reminded me of tree bark, and there are trees all over the site. The Stan Bitters tile was so deep and rich and became my center point for the design of the whole kitchen.
Tile takes centerstage in the bungalow bathrooms, too—a checkerboard of M68 Ochre and custom White Pumice glazed squares; a trio of different shapes and colors integrated into a light echo of mid-century style. In the Federal bungalow Heath Dual Glaze Triangles wrap the wall around a daybed, like an accentuated frame.
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A speckled glaze that brings out the dimension of the tile. Sold individually. Up to 6 tile samples may be ordered online.
The bungalows effortlessly weave together rugged materials that mimic the surrounding natural environment, with polished metals and honed stone that lend sophistication. McKinley's ability to hold the two in balance is what makes the design interesting, and what keeps our collaboration inspiring.
Muir Flatware in Tumbled (5 piece setting)
Simple, satisfying to hold, and usable everyday, for any occasion. The first flatware pattern, start to finish, made in the US in almost a decade. Design-led by Heath, and hand-tooled and crafted by Sherrill Manufacturing. Features a tumbled, matte finish and an industrial, galvanized look.