Late 19th century was a golden time for building country homes. In the years since, all aspects of our lives have changed and we have adjusted accordingly (think about clothing, transportation, leisure, etc.), yet our residential architecture still holds on to the pattern of the old. Some of the drive behind pastiche and faux designs that dominate the new country home market is, of course, the desire of the clients who commission them. Fortunately a new breed of younger clients is emerging, who have the resources to embark on such projects and are focused more on how the house can enhance their daily lives and how it works with its setting and the environment. This house is a move in this direction.
Aesthetically, this house uses familiar shapes, proportions and materials, but only as a starting point to create a new look which at the same time feels familiar. The layout of this house departs from the familiar to suit the modern life with the kitchen and family room as the center & the heart. They are optimally located for short and long views, for the best daily natural light, and for ease of access for the family. The sequence of movement within the house creates different and stimulating experiences. For example, the entry hall moves the eye upwards towards a translucent ceiling; a long naturally lit gallery creates an enhanced horizontal movement towards the informal part of the house; devices, such as floating ceiling in the living room, are employed to create a comfortable space in a grand room. The house is oriented and laid out to maximize the use of natural light and in appropriate direction for each function within, including a naturally lit basement.
The house utilizes best available strategies to be environmentally responsible. The owner reports the heating bill of $350/month for this house that is 9,500 SF above ground and 3,500 SF in the basement.