This Renovation of a Montauk Motel Retains Its Seaside Charm Even As It’s Become Eminently Instagrammable

As someone who has lived, in some part, in or around Montauk at the eastern tip of Long Island for more than 15 years, I’ve witnessed some truly regrettable renovations: the 35-mm movie theater turning into a SoulCycle, the beloved restaurant Dave’s Grill, whose interiors looked like the inside of a boat, becoming an Instagrammable taco destination. So when I heard that longtime friends of Sight Unseen Home Studios were spearheading the renovation of Daunt’s Albatross — a 23-room motel in the center of town that’s been in the same family since 1977, and is now being reinvigorated by Leo, a third-generation Daunt — I was cautiously, but extremely, optimistic. That Home’s design for the space would be beautiful was never in question — have you seen what this studio can do with tile?? But could the motel retain the quirky fishing village charm of old Montauk while still being someplace I’d want to obsessively Instagram? Turns out the answer is yes: The tile is again the star here, deployed in dark blue Zellige-esque backsplashes in the kitchenettes, 6×6 sage green squares in the bathrooms, and shimmery Heath Ceramics slabs lining the outdoor shower. The rooms host a mix of vintage furniture, mostly in woods like heart pine or oak; contemporary accessories like lamps by Gantri; and custom pieces by Home, including wavy, wall-mounted knotty alder wardrobes, scalloped mirrors, and simple bed frames. The palette — all shibori-inspired and powder blues, naturals, and mossy or sage greens — took its cues from the natural beauty of Montauk and the colors found in the town’s rocky Shadmoor cliffs. Favorite details include a #tinyball peg coat rack, a gently scalloped doorframe, and sky blue kitchen cabinets that match yours truly’s. A bigger lobby renovation, a new pool area, and a refresh by Home of Daunt’s sister restaurant, Bird on the Roof, are all in the works for this fall.