Lyday Farms – Featured Project

Bob Borson —  October 18, 2013 — 11 Comments

Designed as a compound of rural structures forming three sides of a quadrangle that encloses and defines an inner courtyard, the main house and accessory structures are located to take advantage of sweeping views across pastures and lakes, stepping down a gently sloping hill. Upon arrival, guests climb a small rise of steps which leads them through the courtyard and into a dog trot, which bisects the house and is the main entry. Continuing through the dog trot, you pass out to the continuous screened front porch that overlooks pastures, barns and an ornamental lake.

Lyday Farms Site Plan

Lyday Farms Site Plan (click to enlarge)

The main house (legend keys 1 through 6 above) is actually two buildings divided by the dog trot and connected under one continuous roof. One side is the living room (2), dining room (1) and kitchen (4), along with two guest rooms and the associated baths and utility rooms. On the opposite side of the dog trot is the master suite with its own sitting room and screen porch. All of the main rooms of the house face south and are parallel to the screen porch, which is directly accessed by a continuous row of French doors – providing the opportunity for opening the rooms up to prevailing breezes during pleasant weather. The living and dining rooms are one large space which is divided by a monumental stone fireplace that is constructed of the same stone used to build the retaining walls, water table and foundation of the house itself.

Lyday Farms Exterior by Michael Malone Architects

The picture above shows the stone plinth that was created in order to keep the long elevation of the house set at a single level elevation. This is the side of the home that contains the exterior screened porch, and it is this change of elevation that heightens and maximizes the vistas presented from this elevation to the pastures beyond.

Lyday Farms Exterior by Michael Malone Architects

The exterior was clad in corrugated metal, prefinished in gray, which was also the color chosen for the paint of the wood columns and beams and all of the exposed trim. Our idea was to have the buildings be as color neutral as possible to allow the green of the grass and trees dominate the visual.

Lyday Farms Exterior by Michael Malone Architects

Around the building’s base we installed a water table of local stone – irregular pieces set in a heavy mortar backing. This stone base had the advantage of creating a durable buffer below the corrugated metal cladding, impervious to splashed mud and water which would have been easily dented by hoofs and farm tools.

Lyday Farms Exterior by Michael Malone Architects

Lyday Farms pool area by Michael Malone Architects

Off the main house is a swimming pool with a stone edge, set flush with the grass. The green lawn space around this pool is an open place to gather, with the entire space in close proximity to the house and screened porches. An outdoor cooking and dining area is located adjacent to the pool, covered by a trellis structure, shaded with vines.

The buildings become quiet, contemplative, shady places to sit and be sheltered from the sun, backdrops to the rest of the exterior space. The resulting complex, though large, is fully integrated into its surroundings and an appropriate expression of an orderly, modest rural lifestyle and gathering place for an extended family. This house is a celebration of the agrarian building type, comfortably set in a wide open pastoral setting.

I hope you enjoyed this brief look into the portfolio of my new firm. I will probably select a project to highlight every now and then to showcase the firms work as well as provide some insight into the creative and decision-making process that produces the work we hope to be known for designing. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section below, I’m typically pretty good and coming up with the answers.


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  • 03306028

    I love the choice of a neutral color palette to accentuate the natural beauty of the surroundings. On paper I can’t imagine this house working in gray, but seeing it contrasted against the green on green on green of the surroundings it looks amazing. Especially with the stone accents of the foundation, steps, and chimneys. What a great choice. The more I read your site, the more I understand how relevant the “Just do what I tell you” post must be. Personally, I would balk at the idea of a gray house, but I have no doubt I could be sold on it with a good presentation using examples like the above.

    Back on point, I also really dig the pool set amid grass instead of a big finished area – I love to see back yards like this where the natural setting isn’t heavily engineered and completely paved over. It’s a great mix of man and nature.

    To that end, how much does landscape architecture play a part in your firm’s role? When a customer comes to you, is the landscape design part of the overall package? If so, how is that handled? Do you as an architect have a good handle on landscape design, or do you have folks on staff that are more versed/specialized in that field?


    • Bob Borson

      Thanks 03306028!

      As far as landscaping goes, it really depends on the project. For this job – Lyday Farms – we used a landscape architect for the project although we set up the diagramming of the site. Since we tend to blur the definition between interior and exterior space, the exterior hardscape (built things, not plants) figures into how design the building and its penetrations.

  • Bridget Willard

    WOW! The dog trot through is intriguing.

    • Bob Borson

      it also helps create breezes – ages old technique

      • Bridget Willard

        I guess I never thought of it. Wow. I really like how the Master Suite is off to itself that way. Very cool.

  • Studearch

    This is a great house and complex. Simple, contemporary, and extreme clarity without getting too “design-y.” When you have the land to spread out, it’s nice to see a layout with such logic and restraint. I’d like to see more of the interior and find out where you got the pre-finished corrugated siding. Jack Logan, architec,t Albuquerque, NM

    • Bob Borson

      Thanks Jack – nice of you to say.

      As far as the prefinished corrugated siding goes, you can get it from a number of places, I think this one came from MCBI.


  • Kerry Hogue

    nice work. Thanks for sharing. If I ever win the Lotto you can expect my call!

    • Bob Borson

      Looking forward to it!

  • Doug Kuchta

    I love the design as well as the excellent narrative.
    I am curious as to why the Kitchen is segregated from the living and dining space? and the limited connection from the Dog trot and the Living?

    • Bob Borson

      Thanks! The kitchen is separated as a result of developments associated with the owner’s program requirements. The dog trot and living room have limited connection because the focus of the room is towards the vista rather than the exterior corridor (dog trot).