Richard Mandelkorn

Like the great Shingle style waterfront residences that inspired it, Beach Bay Point humanizes its imposing scale with the kind of details that led its predecessors to be called “cottages.” A case in point is the house’s main stair. Instead of standing formally at the center of things, the stair bends into a corner of the plan. But what it lacks in pomp and circumstance, this stair more than makes up in casual, asymmetrical charm. Its lower treads spread and wrap, borrowing as a newel one of the massive Port Orford cedar posts of the house’s timber frame. The carved handrail twists sinuously, like a tree root seeking water. A low window offers a glancing outdoor view, and the occasion for another conversation-piece detail. “The stair goes right in front of it, so we had to put a little rail there,” explains architect John Meyer. “It’s part of the informality of the design. It’s done in such a way that you see how everything goes together.”