Richard Ward Baxter and Robert V. Strada

Photograph taken at the Gardiner Mill Cottage, East Hampton, NY, during an interview in July 2017 with our dear friend, Bridget LeRoy ("who else could capture those facial expressions?").    

 

About

Working with a modern design or toiling with a deep commitment to sensitive historic restoration and preservation, Strada Baxter Design/Build meets the needs of the most meticulous architects or owners.  From their cutting edge aesthetics to reconstruction and preservation track record, this remarkable partnership is dedicated to designing, building and preserving homes across the full spectrum of our unique East End.

These two creative men -- Strada with an industrial design background, who designed and installed Brioni's global network of retail stores and had his own personal line of furniture produced by Italy's Cassina, and Baxter, a marine botanist by training, a builder and preservationist by occupation, formed their design and building firm Strada Baxter Design/Build, LLC, in 2011.

Friends for more than a decade, the two men started with a one-time joint venture in 2010 to bid on the restoration of the Nathaniel Rogers House for the Town of Southampton. While their bid was second lowest and ultimately unsuccessful, that collaboration and shared passion for restoration and fine workmanship, let to the formation of Strada Baxter Design/Build, LLC, the following year.

The initial partnership concentrated on the highly meticulous and satisfying preservation and restoration work from our early history, including the Blacksmith Shop and the Captain Isaac Sayre barn at the Southampton Historical Museum, the mule barn on Gardiner's Island, the Smith-Taylor Cabin on Shelter Island, the Topping Rose Inn and Barn in Bridgehampton, the Isaac Osborn House on Newtown Lane in the Village of East Hampton and the 1747 Baker House for the Town of East Hampton.

Robert Strada, after a remarkable career in industrial design, took a commission from Princeton University in 2000 to design the restoration of the university-owned 1935 Garden Theater.  He was hooked.  Strada then created a lecture series, "The Artist as a Working Man" presented at Princeton over three semesters before focusing on his work on the East End.  Here, ironically, he quickly found himself responsible for saving one of the oldest buildings in Early American history, taking it apart, piece by piece.  He has since built a strong reputation for historic rescue, conversion and their unique challenges.

Richard Ward Baxter, who traces his East End roots back to the 1640's, a member of the Howell family whose ancestor was a founder of Southampton, was raised on the Great South Bay.  He became a ferryboat captain by 19 and got his degree in Marine Botany.  After a detour with carpenter friends in Vermont to build and remodel homes and a similar stint in California, Baxter returned to the East End in the 1980s.  He discovered historical timber frame homes and he was home.  Baxter spent two years restoring the Gardiner Windmill on James Lane in East Hampton and has worked on 6 of the windmill restorations on Long Island.  He has built a reputation as a noted preservationist.