This French Eclectic cottage, built in 1931, is a former residence of renowned architect Philip Goodwin, who is known to have designed its 1953 additions, and is suspected to have designed the original cottage.
After eighty some odd years of being the ideal weekend escape, the cottage needed updating and expanding to suit the needs of its new owners who would be year-round residents; a retiring couple, both accomplished cooks, gardeners and dog lovers.
In the spirit of Goodwin’s pinwheel design, the addition extends an existing gable to create a live-in kitchen where his original façade is preserved within the space. The addition presents a long, low wall to the house’s formal entry court, finishing with the integration of the original pump house. On the lower, southern side, a new hipped roof covers a family entry, laundry, and mudroom aka dog room, and wraps a kitchen garden. The original kitchen is repurposed as a book collector’s library.
Shapes, patterns, details and materials of the addition were all derived from the existing cottage. Brick, stone, timber, slate and plaster were once ordinary, but have become premium materials, and fortunately our client’s will to preserve the palette prevailed.
For outdoor dining, a lightweight steel frame supports copper-clad roof panels. The panels are splayed enabling light and airflow, and to help the roof feel lighter.
The site was a lost dairy farm, evidenced by abandoned silos, old foundations and overgrown pasture; all too typical in the county. The objective was to resurrect the farm into a new and sustainable form that would “…enrich our lives, our plates, our community and our local ecology.”
Teaming on farm-wide permaculture and masterplan objectives preceded design of the farmhouse precinct, including the farmer’s house, accessory structures and hardscape. More than just a country house, this building was to be the new farm’s emblem. Expressing the farmers’ aspirations, it was to be “of the earth”, at once symbolizing farm tradition and modernity, and self-reliance.
The mandate to incorporate a silo conjured clichés that make architects queasy. We embraced the unavoidable symbol as the scheme’s hinge-pin; the form repurposed for vertical circulation and culminating in a lookout where the farmer surveys the land. Recalling its abandoned ancestor across the farm, the new silo matches in size, running bond cladding and dome of 24 segments. Barn-like gables pinwheel from the silo, positioning rooms to optimize views and define landscape spaces for work and play.
Sustainability initiatives focused on durability, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, resource efficiency and low environmental impact, and include a 30kW solar array, high-efficiency HVAC, super-insulated building envelope, high performance glazing, regionally sourced building materials and rainwater harvesting.
On this bucolic 300+ acre farm with vineyards, woodlands, pastures and barns, we were charged with creating a farm villa in the classic sense of the term. It was to feel as old as the farm, elegant and simple with European roots, resting comfortably in the rural landscape.
The conventional five-bedroom program was overlaid with a squash court, tennis court, hockey rink, stable, gardens, greenhouse, pool, arbor and apartment. The challenge was incorporating this expanded program without creating scalar or typological anomalies, and doing so within the three buildable acres designated by a State agricultural easement.
The structures are disposed around a court, leaving an open end to the landscape. Building positions and orientations are chosen to optimize views and privacy, and to scale the parts hierarchically. The tennis court and hockey rink are combined, overlooked by the sports building which rotates away enabling views.
To maintain “house” identity, the buildings share a detail set and material palette that is distinct from barns existing on the farm. House and court edges are stone clad and lesser parts are wood. Exterior materials of split schist, oak timbers, cedar siding and slate & cedar roofing are common to the region, and are detailed to be both authentic and relaxed. Interior materials of reclaimed oak, limestone, brick, plaster and black iron are chosen for texture and warmth, and detailed sparely. Agrarian patterns of the dooryard, dogtrot, cruck frame and root cellar are reinterpreted into current use.
Nettleton Hollow is an archetypal New England valley, well shaded, with a brook running through it. One hundred years ago, the Hollow was industrial, dotted with small dams and mills. Today it is characterized by a quiet, pastoral landscape with ponds, ferns and brook trout.
Our project site was a wooded plateau overlooking the brook and pond, just downstream from an 18th century sawmill we had restored 25 years earlier (Sprain Brook Sawmill). Reduced by wetland soils and protected areas, the available footprint for building was quite small.
For a retired professional couple, the house was to sit gently and take full advantage of the rich landscape. The aesthetic objective was a cottage with traditional character, though light and airy to mitigate the shade and closeness of the site. The Owner’s wish list was refreshingly modest, requesting only a bedroom, living room, kitchen, guest room and porches, and one-car garage. Character and quality outweighed size.
The small house arranges three main rooms in a row, so each enjoys the view. Only one room deep, each sees daylight and air from both sides. At center, a cupola breaks the ridgeline and lights the living room. Covered porches on the garden side of the house soften the transition to the landscape. The hipped shake roof with broad overhangs, fieldstone and shingle siding are chosen for their cottage character. Inside, hewn oak timbers, limed reclaimed floors, tinted plaster and glazed finishes provide depth of surface and contribute to a hand-crafted feel.
The Town of Washington is graced with several Shingle Style and Colonial Revival structures designed by Ehrick Rossiter between 1880 and 1920. Rossiter’s buildings are prized by their owners and townspeople, and this house, “The Sumacs”, built in 1894 for the illustrator William Hamilton Gibson, is among the best preserved.
Typical of 19th century residences, it was lacking the support and service spaces that have become essential program elements of a modern house. Closets were tiny, bathrooms inadequate, kitchen was only for cooking and there was no mudroom. The project presented here is the addition component of a comprehensive but careful renovation that incorporates these essential missing elements.
The program requirement was simply to create a mudroom, providing covered access to the newly modernized family kitchen. The location of the mudroom was predetermined; between the kitchen and the drive. Owing to the house’s historic character, the project required a solution that would minimize disturbance and maintain legibility of the original massing. It also required striking a balance between aesthetic compatibility and clarity of what is original and what is new.
In the solution, planning is distinctly modern, incorporating a rectangular volume overlaid by an octagonal pavilion. Attachment to the house is minimal and the volume is made transparent to gain light, reduce its mass and allow visual continuity of the original stone base. The pavilion’s shape is borrowed loosely from a Rossiter garden structure on a nearby property and the column order and exterior vocabulary are drawn from broad porches on the back of The Sumacs.
Our program required the addition of a 50’ indoor lap pool to an existing, freestanding gym designed by this firm several years earlier. The sole siting option was a narrow strip dividing the driveway from a sculpture garden with distant views beyond.
The solution creates a stone garden wall to 1) afford the swimmer privacy and 2) define the garden overlooked by the gym and new pool. The new wall steps away from the gym, making space for the pool that is out of view, below the wall. An opening in the wall ahead of the chimney exposes a plinth for sculpture to be seen from the drive. The garden side is glass for light and view, with an overhang for shade.
Interior materials of water, wood, limestone and burnished plaster are finished transparent to expose their natural qualities and graduated textures. In contrast, steel curtainwall and columns are colored and intend a loose mimic of the gym’s structure.
The structural system is reinforced concrete and steel, with laminated beams and solid decking of mahogany. Room and pool mechanical systems are fully integrated, warming the pool with heat generated in the dehumidification process. A concealed, motorized pool cover reduces energy consumption during periods of non-use.
The pool house idea had been incubating for five years, ever since we had designed and built the house. Once the landscape had grown in, there was nothing more to finish, so the pool house moved to the front burner. We had spent plenty of time thinking it through.
The site was a wooded plateau across the brook, within sight of the house and at the same elevation. The aesthetic objective was a structure that felt part of the family, though clearly secondary and more relaxed than its parent. Square footage was very limited, yet the building needed to entertain sizeable groups or house overnight guests, or just provide shade by the pool.
Our solution involves a rectangular plan with a low-slung, hipped roof, swept upward to enable higher ceilings at the main room and porch. Reclaimed barn siding and darker colors are used in place of the house’s bleached shingles and white trims. Inside, whitewashed barn siding, hewn timbers and an 18’ NanaWall evoke lightness and soften the transition from building to landscape. A fold-down bed and galley kitchen hide behind folding wall panels, enabling the space to adapt to its assigned uses.