Located in picturesque Dutchess County, New York, the Millerton House (named for its location) is the perfect combination of old and new. The clients came to me, while I was lead designer at HRJL Architects in Newark, Ohio, and asked that I design a modern addition to counterpoint their historic country house.
The original house was started in 1790. It used the mast of a ship and a three foot thick foundation wall as its main structural components. The stone, some of which is still found strewn about the site, was quarried from the neighboring field. The guest house, the pool house, and the barn all use the same stone.
The aesthetic concept for this design came from a Modrian painting the clients owned and wished to display. The design has a central area surrounded by smaller areas forming an L-shape. Two primary restrictions had to be addressed. First, although the site was very large, most of the buildable area was either already built upon or was occupied by a large tree. Second, because the home was on the National Registry of Historic Places, the new addition was not allowed to be built onto to the old house.
My solution was to join a new addition to the old house by a removable silicone and glass entry with a second story bridge. In order for the entry to be as transparent as possible, the mullions were removed and a glass structural system was used instead. The back of the new addition is primarly glass with views to the garden and pool. The addition is rotated south by five degrees to save the large tree on the east side of the house.
The clients asked for a kitchen that “was more like an ESPN Zone than a regular kitchen” with enough room for guests to watch multiple sporting events at once. Thus, the new structure boasts a large kitchen for cooking and entertaining, a large wood burning fireplace, a half bathroom, and a living space large enough to hold a 1798 Steinway grand piano with room to spare.
The plan for the second floor called for a library to house the clients’ collection of rare historic books and a second guest area. In the library, custom daybeds were designed to allow for privacy and extra guest sleeping space. They also requested access to the library from their bedroom. In addition to the guest space and library the second floor includes a view of the pool and garden to the north.
Instead of replicating or competing with the original historic structure, my design intentionally contrasted it. While the clients requested enough square footage to double the size of the house, they wanted to take advantage of the localized materials, inviting it to coordinate. In fact, the stone could be quarried from the same place as it had been over two hundred years ago. By using these materials ithis way, I created a modern solution with a traditional feel.
Location: Millerton, NY, US
My Role: Lead Designer/ Project Manager
Additional Credits: HRJL Architects, Inc.