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(Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s Realty)

A modernist home on Little Ram Island offers seclusion, shelter and serenity.

The nuts and bolts

8 bedrooms

9.5 bathrooms 

7,146 square feet

2.20 acres

(Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s Realty)

House proud

If this home had a theme song, it might be “Gimme Shelter.” Not just because it’s on Shelter Island, but because of a house and site design that gives the owners and their family seclusion and serenity. The owners undertook an extensive hunt before finding this 2.2-acre parcel for their dream home. 

“The owners worked closely with James Merrell, an architect who creates modern, livable homes,” says Nick Brown, the agent at Sotheby’s International Realty who is representing the listing. “He worked closely with the family to identify the property and built the home to fit their needs.” 

Those needs included having separate wings to afford privacy for family members and guests, and yet, in the main common areas, have intimate spaces for gathering. Brown called the flow within and between inside and out “incredible.”

What’s the plan?

The entry foyer leads into the open-format living and dining rooms, together comprising nearly 700 square feet. To the left of the foyer is a 280-square-foot den and to the right, a hall leading to one of two ensuite-bedroom wings. The second bedroom wing is off the back of the kitchen. The second level is dedicated to primary bedroom suite with a fireplace and four closets, an oversized bathroom with a huge soaking tub (684 square feet combined); two ensuite bedrooms, and a 220-square-foot office on the landing with open views. The lower level offers 1,700 square feet of finished space—a ensuite bedroom, laundry with double appliances, gym and rec room—and 1,340 square feet of adaptable unfinished space. This level provides access to the attached two-car garage. 

(Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s Realty)

What’s cooking?

The kitchen offers 600 square feet of prep and cooking space, a 134-square-foot breakfast area with fireplace and, in an adjacent hallway, a half bath and pantry. Sliding doors open to the 320-square-foot patio with a built-in grill station. Designed and finished in warm, harmonious wood tones, it offers more of a Zen atmosphere than a place to get messy with sauces and condiments. Still, if you must get messy, you’ll do so with Wolf and Sub-Zero appliances, and on sleek granite countertops. The center island offers storage, has a prep sink and seats eight.

What else?

Brown says the house, built in 2009, was inspired by Alvar Aalto, the Finnish architect and designer known for his clean modernist lines and his adaptation of Gesamtkunstwerk, a German term (translated as “total work of art”) that embraces a harmonious aesthetic. In architecture, for example, the building architect might also design the furniture, fixtures and other design elements, creating a complementary relationship between a house and its furnishings. For the Little Ram Island home, the owner and Merrell worked closely together to achieve that effect. 

Amenities and more

  • Covered patios off the bedroom and common rooms
  • Infinity pool with a waterfall
  • Three wood-burning fireplaces and a gas-fueled fireplace in the upstairs primary
  • Waterfront and mooring

One cool thing (or two)

Gesamtkunstwerk extends to the landscape and, in particular, the swimming poolLaguardia Design Group created the exterior plan, which included site-specific design to optimize the sight lines between the swimming pool and the shoreline, giving the sense of an infinity pool extending into the harbor.


Agent’s callout 

“I think good modern architecture is still modern in 50 years – its timeless. You wouldn’t know if this house was done yesterday or 50 years ago. The materials are classic and beautiful,” Brown says, adding, “And yet you don’t feel opulence, you feel like it’s a really beautiful, intentional home, not over the top. This house is so special, it will always be coveted.”


Location, location, location

Brown says the Little Ram Island neighborhood is like an estate section, with “consistently large pieces of property offering privacy and natural borders between neighbors.” The peninsula juts into Coecles Harbor, just before Ram Island. Lower Beach is .9 miles away, along the route connecting the two islands. Ram Island County Park is 1.5 miles away. Inland, the Gardiner’s Bay Country Club is 3.7 miles, and Shelter Island Country Club is about four miles.



The home on Little Ram Island lists for $15,495,000 and the details can be seen here.