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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.