The Fresco / Doll House- 1974630 Fire Island Blvd.In 1974 after his two bedroom cottage was destroyed in a fire designer William Turner decided to expand his weekend retreat to include four bedrooms. Buying in the Pines in 1968 he would build on the same site. As many in the Pines were expanding to include pools, this too would be part of the plan. Entertaining was a big part of his business, and the pool would give his guests the option of not being part of the beach scene.The nickname of the house first season was the Doll house named after Doug Doll (on left). Above is (L to R ) Doug Doll, William Turner and George Dahl.
The plan of the house (established with the architectural firm Carr and Carlsen: William Trautman was consulting architect) would be determined by the way in which the residence would be used. Turner had the advantage of knowing the scene and where the home was situated in reference to it. The house would be divided into two distinct zones. A large open public sector composed of living, dining, and kitchen areas, would be suitable to the informal life of weekend entertaining: bedrooms and baths would encompass the private sector.Additionally instead of the pool being placed on the south side of the property was to be part of the public area so it could be used at all times without disrupting the privacy of others. These considerations all influenced the physical orientation of the house. The awning played a key role in the design creating a soft curve to the squareness of the structure.In planning the private interiors Turner was influenced by hotel design in which he was involved with at the time. For optimum privacy each bedroom would have its own bathroom and deck. The architects initially wanted Turners bedroom bigger, but Turner objected “since the house is strictly for entertaining I never go there alone- I thought the most polite thing to do would be to give my guests the same accommodations that I have.” So all bedrooms are similar in size and layout. Having closets and the bathroom in the front entry to each room created a sound barrier to the public area.
All the bedrooms decor colors mirrored the murals outside entry doors creating a monochromatic experience. As building progressed it was that the floor plan created a long obtrusive wall, broken up with doorways, that separated the two zones. What could be done with design in mind to make this wall a cohesive part of the home? First consideration was a relief map of Long Island, but that idea was discarded. He naturally thought of a mural or painting but knew it would be difficult to find an affordable one by a bona fide artist. He then discovered the work of David Novros at the Whitney museum. Turner contacted him and asked if he would accept a mural commission. Novros agreed, provided he could do the work al fresco, a technique that he had been studying. The mural is meant to be an abstraction of the southwest where Novros hailed from. Painted in strong pastel tones that contrast the neutral decor of the rest of the space.Having had this completed it became the largest Fresco in a private home at that time. In 1978 the home was featured in Interior Design magazine: And again in 1980 in House Beautiful:2017…In 2015 a man named Jim Fellows contacted me. Jim is connected to the home through his partner Bill Burgunder who was formerly with Doug Doll. He was kind enough to share this fabulous home’s history and the men who shared it. I finally went this past summer to introduce myself to the current owner who welcomed me to see the famous fresco.
Every home in the Pines has a story for they all are truly lived in, and sometimes by many. It is here that they give us the honor to tell their stories…