In 1948 Breuer built the the main residential structure of the Wellfleet cottage, which followed this long house plan, for a total budget of under $5,000. The ‘long-house’ is an extruded wooden box with a gently pitched shed roof and suspended screen porch elevated on posts, as Breuer put it “like a camera on a tripod.” From its hilltop site the suspended porch hangs over a steep drop, commanding a view of three ponds. Breuer used the house as laboratory for new ideas, experimenting with materials and finishes. In 1961 he added a studio connected by an open, trellised, elevated walkway and in the late 1960s, a small apartment and darkroom were added at the far end of the studio for his son Tom.
Though the colony never materialized, Breuer constructed two versions of the long-house in 1948, one for his family, and one for his close friend, artist, Gyorgy Kepes, on Long Pond. Subsequently he built two more in Wellfleet: the Wise house on Indian Neck and the Stillman House on Griffon Island. All four houses were constructed by local builder Ernie Rose.
Many of the most influential artists and designers of the 20th century were frequent house guests. The Saarinen family, Alexander Calder, Saul Steinberg, Florence Knoll, Xanti Schawinsky, Bernard Rudovsky and many others were part of this community of creators and thinkers who inhabited the Wellfleet woods in the summers of the mid-20th century. The Cottage is also Breuer’s final resting place. A granite block he brought back from travels in Japan mark where his ashes are buried, as well as those of his wife Constance and her sister and brother-in-law.
The house has had many years of deferred maintenance but the repairs needed are mostly cosmetic. It is completely intact and original, without loss of critical features through remodeling.