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Sea Glass

A modern creation that brings in the beach



Photographs by Olson Photographic LLC

Whenever I design a home,” says architect Roger Bartels, “it’s so you enter to the best part, which is the view.” Bartels, of Norwalk-based Bartels-Pagliaro Architects, is the mastermind behind the MacShane residence on Fairfield Beach Road—a house that suggests a gray steamship docked on the beachfront, every inch custom detailed to subtly reflect ocean, sand, and ship. It begins at the driveway entrance, with metal lampposts built to resemble sleek, squared lighthouses, a theme that will be picked up inside the home. There are a series of portholes in the home’s two garage doors, and a pebbled path leading to the oversized stainless-steel and glass door is embedded with sea creatures—a dolphin, a crab, a fish.

The project held special appeal for Bartels, who owned a much more rustic home—still standing—farther down Fairfield Beach Road in 1979. It’s a fishing cottage on stilts where his former neighbors, Fairfield University students in a rental dubbed the Animal House, once plugged a storm-damaged picture window with a waterlogged couch to continue partying. Doug MacShane affectionately refers to Bartels’ former cottage as “the weirdest house on the road.” Bartels himself looks a bit like he just wandered in from the beach, wearing a slightly disheveled plaid shirt and brown loafers, sunglasses perched on his head. He had expanded that old house to twice its size by hand and still thinks way outside the box when it comes to design.

He also relishes a challenge. Due to flood restrictions, Bartels couldn’t put anything on MacShane’s first floor but the garages and an entranceway—and due to the lot’s narrow and deep orientation, the case for the majority of houses on the street, he had to find a creative way both to maximize space and height and to showcase the oceanfront view and light from every room. His solution was two-fold: a very steep Dutch gambrel roof—and a whole lot of windows. Looking at the house from the sand-side, the homage to an ocean vessel is unmistakable. Each of the two main floors is nearly a solid wall of glass, those on the sides in square grids, those in the middle gloriously frameless. Two top-and-bottom stainless-steel decks with mahogany railings echo ship decks. 

It’s a fitting theme for husband-and-wife owners MacShane and Christina Tan, CEO and executive director of MT Maritime Management Group in Westport, one of the top chemical and product tanker operations worldwide. The couple’s own 31-foot trimaran sailboat, “Nice Tri,” is moored in Fairfield.

Inside the home’s entranceway, a three-story spiral staircase leads to the upper floors, in white stainless steel with mahogany treads, the first indication of the light, airy tones that will carry throughout the residence. “It took them four days to get that staircase in—it was hell,” says MacShane, who wears a buttoned-up pastel shirt, tan slacks, and has a shock of white hair above his tanned face.  Joe Speranza Construction, based in Weston, was behind the building, and Speranza says the custom staircase weighed some 15,000 pounds, and that “all of the round woodwork of the stairwell had to be pre-finished before the rest of the home was even sheet-rocked.” In all, the home took 17 months to build and won the construction and architect firms a Best Custom Home award in the 4,000- to 5,000-square-foot category from Connecticut Builder.

On the main level, the sand-hued maple floors, the weathered ceiling beams, and the rough gray stucco in the fireplace mirrored in a contrasting arched wall are all designed, says Bartels, “to bring the beach inside.” Four white steel lighthouse pillars frame the living room: a room dropped two steps for an unobstructed ocean view. The tops of these pillars have square, see-through holes, and they provide warm light on dark (and sometimes stormy) nights. “The light cages are structural steel,” says Speranza. “They are actually holding the house up.” White steel ceiling beams are embedded with aqua marbles that allow the light through, reminiscent of sea glass. Says the architect with a smile: “I had 25,000 marbles in my office—I didn’t know what to do with them.”  He’s brought the ship inside, too: a room holding books and a black divan that MacShane jokes is used for “atonement and reflection” is floor-to-ceiling, smooth-sanded fir, and invokes a captain’s quarters.

Some of the touches reflect the owners’ contributions, too: the figurative artwork, the teal dining-room chairs and royal-blue living-room couch, the built-in steamer in the galley kitchen, a recommendation from Tan’s sister, who trains chefs. But it is, in general, a house big on space and short on things. “The main idea is openness,” Tan says, describing how Bartels designs by ceilings, not doors, so that there is a sweeping continuation from one space to the next. And it was because the owners wanted to fit a second guest bathroom on the upstairs level that their home now holds what they call “the famous shower.

To make room for a second bathroom, Bartels designed a shower stall of blue, laminated, opaque glass that curves into a point in the hallway between the two guest rooms like a ship’s hull. The wood atop this pointed blue shower completes the hull, portholes and all. “It’s really one-of-a-kind,” says Speranza. Every detail has been designed specifically for the home. “There is no such thing as a normal closet in the house,” says MacShane. “You have to have piano-type carpentry to have a closet.” The master bedroom is dominated by the beachfront view, with 11-foot arched windows, a specially designed tall and narrow dividing door opening to the upper balcony, and white curtains that lower like sails.

Out in the water, a young man stands, shirtless, and casts out his line, the only person visible on this private stretch of beach. Seeing him, MacShane says, “Now that’s the smartest guy in Fairfield.” 

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February 2018

Spaght Gallery; February 8, 2018 - July 23, 2018 Seeking opportunities and a better life is an ideal uniting our shared American identity. This exhibition provides and intimate look at the...

Cost: Members: Free; Non-Members: $5

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Fairfield Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
Website »

More information

Peter Georgescu, Chairman Emeritus of Young & Rubicam and inductee in the Advertising Hall of Fame, discusses his critically acclaimed book, “Capitalists ARISE!: End Economic Inequality,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

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Saturday, February 17 - Sunday February 18, 2018 9am – 5pm daily • Fiction/Classics • Mystery • Biography • History • Cookbooks • LPs -- including folk...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Opening Reception: Thursday, February 15, 2018, 6:30-8:30pm. Light hors d'oeuvres and wine served. Enjoy a gallery tour and scholarly presentation at 7:00pm by Dr. Peter Bayers, Director of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Spaght Gallery; February 8, 2018 - July 23, 2018 Seeking opportunities and a better life is an ideal uniting our shared American identity. This exhibition provides and intimate look at the...

Cost: Members: Free; Non-Members: $5

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Fairfield Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
Website »

More information

Got the winter blues? Stop by the Fairfield Museum for a variety of activities on vacation days and celebrate the season! Enjoy the “Winter Wonderland” exhibit, watch winter movies,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Fairfield Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
Website »

More information

Got the winter blues? Stop by the Fairfield Museum for a variety of activities on vacation days and celebrate the season! Enjoy the “Winter Wonderland” exhibit, watch winter movies,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Fairfield Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
Website »

More information

The winter exhibit at the City of Norwalk Parking Authority’s Maritime Garage Gallery entitled, “Worth a Thousand Words" features artists’ renderings that convey...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

Opening Reception: Thursday, February 15, 2018, 6:30-8:30pm. Light hors d'oeuvres and wine served. Enjoy a gallery tour and scholarly presentation at 7:00pm by Dr. Peter Bayers, Director of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Spaght Gallery; February 8, 2018 - July 23, 2018 Seeking opportunities and a better life is an ideal uniting our shared American identity. This exhibition provides and intimate look at the...

Cost: Members: Free; Non-Members: $5

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Fairfield Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
Website »

More information

The film "Swim Team" chronicles the extraordinary rise of three diverse young athletes, capturing a moving quest for inclusion, independence, and a life that feels like winning....

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

The Oscar Shorts returns to FTC. Last year we had record attendance so get your ticket early. It's always our biggest film event of the year.

Cost: Price:$15 Members Save:$3 /tckt

Where:
The Warehouse at Fairfield Theatre Company
70 Sanford Street
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

The winter exhibit at the City of Norwalk Parking Authority’s Maritime Garage Gallery entitled, “Worth a Thousand Words" features artists’ renderings that convey...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

Opening Reception: Thursday, February 15, 2018, 6:30-8:30pm. Light hors d'oeuvres and wine served. Enjoy a gallery tour and scholarly presentation at 7:00pm by Dr. Peter Bayers, Director of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Spaght Gallery; February 8, 2018 - July 23, 2018 Seeking opportunities and a better life is an ideal uniting our shared American identity. This exhibition provides and intimate look at the...

Cost: Members: Free; Non-Members: $5

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Fairfield Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
Website »

More information

Are you fascinated by the history of Fairfield? Are you interested in helping students discover more about their town and community?  Docents are needed in early March to facilitate...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Fairfield Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
Website »

More information

The winter exhibit at the City of Norwalk Parking Authority’s Maritime Garage Gallery entitled, “Worth a Thousand Words" features artists’ renderings that convey...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

Opening Reception: Thursday, February 15, 2018, 6:30-8:30pm. Light hors d'oeuvres and wine served. Enjoy a gallery tour and scholarly presentation at 7:00pm by Dr. Peter Bayers, Director of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Spaght Gallery; February 8, 2018 - July 23, 2018 Seeking opportunities and a better life is an ideal uniting our shared American identity. This exhibition provides and intimate look at the...

Cost: Members: Free; Non-Members: $5

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Fairfield Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
Website »

More information

The Housatonic Museum of Art is pleased to present its next exhibition, Pattern, Power, Chaos and Quiet, a group show curated by D. Dominick Lombardi.  The exhibition will be on view February...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Housatonic Museum of Art
900 Lafayette Blvd
Bridgeport, CT  06604
View map »


Telephone: 203-332-5052
Website »

More information

This program is in conjunction with the exhibition An American Story: Finding Home in Fairfield County.  Hear a discussion with siblings Daniel Trust (Ndamwizeye) and Evelyn Mukasonga....

Cost: Members: Free; Non-Members: $5

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Fairfield Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
Website »

More information

Spring in February arrives annually at the Connecticut Convention Center. Explore over 300 booths overflowing with fresh flowers, plants, herbs, bulbs, seeds, gardening books, garden...

Where:
Connecticut Convention Center
100 Columbus Boulevard
Hartford, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

The winter exhibit at the City of Norwalk Parking Authority’s Maritime Garage Gallery entitled, “Worth a Thousand Words" features artists’ renderings that convey...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

Opening Reception: Thursday, February 15, 2018, 6:30-8:30pm. Light hors d'oeuvres and wine served. Enjoy a gallery tour and scholarly presentation at 7:00pm by Dr. Peter Bayers, Director of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Spaght Gallery; February 8, 2018 - July 23, 2018 Seeking opportunities and a better life is an ideal uniting our shared American identity. This exhibition provides and intimate look at the...

Cost: Members: Free; Non-Members: $5

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Fairfield Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
Website »

More information

The first one was awesome so let's do it again! Come down for our FREE Winter Jam 2 featuring live music by The Zambonis from 5PM to 8PM. We'll have a beer...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Warehouse at Fairfield Theatre Company
70 Sanford Street
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

The 10th annual “Close To Home” event to benefit the Pacific House Young Adult Program will be held Friday, February 23rd at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich.  This popular,...

Cost: $50.00

Where:
Hyatt Regency Greenwich
1800 E. Putnam Avenue
Old Greenwich, CT  06870
View map »


Sponsor: Pacific House
Telephone: 203-406-0017x304
Contact Name: Lisa Planchard
Website »

More information

Spring in February arrives annually at the Connecticut Convention Center. Explore over 300 booths overflowing with fresh flowers, plants, herbs, bulbs, seeds, gardening books, garden...

Where:
Connecticut Convention Center
100 Columbus Boulevard
Hartford, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

The winter exhibit at the City of Norwalk Parking Authority’s Maritime Garage Gallery entitled, “Worth a Thousand Words" features artists’ renderings that convey...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

Opening Reception: Thursday, February 15, 2018, 6:30-8:30pm. Light hors d'oeuvres and wine served. Enjoy a gallery tour and scholarly presentation at 7:00pm by Dr. Peter Bayers, Director of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

One-Time Cladies Night for Adults Interested in Learning to Use the Potter’s Wheel Looking to get your hands dirty and learn how to use the potter’s wheel? Try Clay Center’s...

Cost: $50

Where:
Clay Art Center
40 Beech Street
Port Chester, NY  10573
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Spaght Gallery; February 8, 2018 - July 23, 2018 Seeking opportunities and a better life is an ideal uniting our shared American identity. This exhibition provides and intimate look at the...

Cost: Members: Free; Non-Members: $5

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Fairfield Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
Website »

More information

On Saturday February 24 at 7pm, join New Pond Farm’s team of astronomy volunteers and gaze through the telescopes at the 9-day Old Moon and several galaxies and star clusters. The team will...

Cost: $4 per New Pond Farm member ($12 max. per member family), and $6 per non-member

Where:
New Pond Farm Education Center
101 Marchant Road
Redding, CT  06896
View map »


Telephone: (203) 938-2117
Website »

More information

New-York based Marina Franklin is emerging as one of the hottest comedians on the comedy scene today, with such notable appearances as Amy Schumer's Trainwreck, Conan O'Brien, The...

Cost: Price:$29 No Member Discount

Where:
Fairfield Theatre Company StageOne
70 Sanford Street
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

Spring in February arrives annually at the Connecticut Convention Center. Explore over 300 booths overflowing with fresh flowers, plants, herbs, bulbs, seeds, gardening books, garden...

Where:
Connecticut Convention Center
100 Columbus Boulevard
Hartford, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Opening Reception: Thursday, February 15, 2018, 6:30-8:30pm. Light hors d'oeuvres and wine served. Enjoy a gallery tour and scholarly presentation at 7:00pm by Dr. Peter Bayers, Director of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Show More...
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