Pine Island Residence

Start Date: 1987
Completion Date: 1988
Project Design: James A Kerr
Recent Additions: By Steve Taylor
Builder: Steve Taylor Builder
Owner: Steve and Nellie Taylor
Location: Pine Island, New York

In 1978, Nellie and I were given Pine Island by her father and mother, Thomas & Martha Mitchell. During 1997, we wandered the island and dreamed of a cottage. We asked Arch (James A.) Kerr, a fifth generation islander and gifted architect from Princeton , New Jersey , if he would help us design the cottage.

I had worked for Arch and his wife Lawrie, on their Grenell Island home and was extremely impressed with the level of thought and care he invested in his work. Even simple things were beautifully conceived and carefully detailed. His completed works were gently comfortable and possessed a subtle tranquillity.

His approach to the Pine Island project was a revelation to me. He spent two days on the island, with the help of our son Tom, and a transit locating every rock and tree in the area we had chosen to build. He then drew a plan of the site and sections through it, noting directions to various island views, the August and December sunsets. After gaining a thorough understanding of the site and its relationship to the world around it, he would proceed with the design.

Over the next few years, our family built the cottage, with my father, Harry Taylor, playing a pivotal role in many areas but most especially as master stone mason, building the magnificent fireplace at the heart of the home.

As the family grew, we added on to the cottage, always in the spirit of Arch’s original design and with his blessing – leaving us with the wonderful cottage that we are so fortunate to live in now.

We would go on to build Arch Kerr’s last three houses and enjoy his counsel on several of our early designs.