In the summer, Sag Harbor, a picturesque Hamptons community, is flooded with Manhattanites looking to enjoy the beach. But full-time residents like Lisa Grossman, along with her husband Grant Harder and teenaged son, are lucky enough to enjoy the sweeping coastline, charming shops, and beautiful sunsets year round. Earlier this year, Grossman, who left the city 8 years ago, made the decision to rent out the family’s large primary residence in the scenic Suffolk County village and temporarily move into a cozy beach cottage in desperate need of renovation. “Because the rental market is so busy, we decided to buy a house where we could live in the summertime,” Grossman explains.
Built in the 1960s, the three-bedroom, one-bathroom cottage was painted yellow and still “very typically 1960s,” Grossman says. In order to make the home work for them, they transformed one of the bedrooms into an office, added a pool to the backyard, and got creative with adding storage throughout the house. “It’s a lot less space that we’re used to, but we did it nicely, and efficiently,” Grossman says.
Every Nook And Cranny
One of the biggest struggles following the transition from living in a large home to a smaller bungalow was the lack of storage space. “Storage was really important. Before the renovation, each bedroom only had a tiny coat closet. We really needed to maximize that storage space throughout. Every little nook that I could, I took advantage of it,” Grossman says.
One of the most creative storage solutions in one of the bedrooms was the family’s addition of a cabinet wall surrounding the bed, adorned in Semihandmade Supermatte Light Grey Shaker Doors. A Brendon Farrell 6-Fin Hook Rack also creates more storage on the wall by providing a place to hang jackets. By adorning the wall’s recess in a minimalist stamp-like patterned wallpaper (from Wayfair) and matching Anchor Wall Lights by EQ3, the space surrounding the bed feels even more intimate.
Modernizing for today also included transforming one of the bedrooms into an office where the family could have privacy in an age where remote work and school are common. The office area features a built-in desk in a nook similar in style to the bedrooms. It’s also a great place to get some exercise on the Peloton bike.
Learning to adjust and make the transition was second nature to this native New Yorker. “I grew up in New York City my entire life. Everywhere is a small environment. In New York, every little space that you can maximize, you maximize it,” Grossman says.
Her biggest advice for those renovating a cozy space? “Look for opportunities,” Grossman says. “The bathroom space was one of the smallest spaces that needed new storage options. There was a coat closet in the master bedroom and because the bathroom was so small, there was no place to even blow-dry your hair or get ready,” Grossman says. “So I made that little area a bathroom, but without the toilet and sink. It’s where we store all the bathroom necessities,” she says.
Before the renovation, the kitchen featured yellow tones, outdated linoleum floors, and ill-fitting appliances that made the room feel disjointed and disorganized. The disarray gave the family an opportunity to completely rethink the storage in that part of the house. The update included ripping out the existing cabinetry and adding in Peppercorn Edge cabinetry by BOXI by Semihandmade.
Form, Function, AND Fun
Though the house is smaller than the family’s primary residence, that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in fun spaces the family can enjoy together. The kitchen’s wine bar area, for instance, is one of Grossman’s favorite areas. She loves that it has been a focal point of the house, uniting the lively outdoor space with the rest of the bungalow. “It’s where my husband keeps his tequila, and we keep all our glassware. I just love it,” Grossman says.
Although the times have changed (neighbors told Grossman that the house originally went for around $4,000 in the 1960s), the house still retains its groovy surfer cottage qualities –from the surfboard that hangs off the living room to the mid-century style Eternity Modern dining table.
A few blocks from the beach, the Grossman family beach bungalow went from a yellow-toned blast from the past to a chic and timeless cottage. It’s not only a great place to take a dip after catching some waves but also a great place to enjoy those famous Sag Harbor sunsets.