Located in picturesque Dutchess County, the Millerton house 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 (in brick) was started in 1790 and was built using 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 the design came from a Modrian painting the clients had and wished to display.
Although the site was very large, most of the buildable area was either already built upon or was occupied by a large tree. Site constraints (including an existing guest house, a driveway, a garden, and a large old tree) were important design considerations. The new addition was not allowed to be built onto to the old house, as it is on the national registry of historic places. 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 mostly 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 program called for enough square footage to double the size of the house and was intended to contrast the existing structure. Still, we wanted to take advantage of the localized materials. In fact, the stone could be quarried from the same place as it had been over two hundred years ago. On the first floor of the new structure is a large kitchen for cooking and entertaining. 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. Also on the first floor are a large wood burning fireplace, a half bathroom, and a large living space to house a 1798 Steinway grand piano.
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.
Status: Under Construction
Location: Millerton, NY, US