Windigo Architecture & Design

Windigo Architecture & Design

Morristown, NJ


New Canaan Residence

Located in the scenic beauty of New Canaan, CT, an area dotted with old colonial-era farms and modern architectural masterpieces, this guest house is a contemporary twist on traditional English threshing barns, with a bright, airy interior and an intimate connection with the outdoors.  The owners, avid chefs and art collectors, desired a space to exhibit their collection and in which to entertain.

The original barn located on the property was built in the 1870s and collapsed in a snow storm in the winter of 2010. Instead of simply rebuilding the previous structure, the family applied for a permit to rebuild the structure with a new use, a guest house.  Zoning dictated that the new structure conform to the former shell of the original nineteenth-century barn.The proposed guest house accomadates approximately 3,370 SF of sleeping areas, living spaces, garage, and workshop.

From the street the barn’s exterior is quiet, private and unassuming presenting itself as an archetype somewhere between a New England Barn and a Japanese temple. Nestled into the sloping grade of the property, the house is “of the land”, its stone foundations reaching out into the landscape creating terraces and planting beds fed by water trickling down rain chains. The core structure is thoroughly modern built of steel frames, large expanses of glass, concrete, and structural insulated panels (SIPS). Fieldstone, gabled zinc roofs, and ipe cladding, however, tie the building’s exterior firmly to New England barn archetypes. A sliding barn while subtlety suggesting the owner's initials KK reveals between its boards the interior lighted stair from within.

Approaching the large pivoting front  door, the light-between-the-board motif is echoed in the interior walls around the vestibule, framing the owner's artwork ahead. Upon entering, a tapered board-formed concrete cooking fireplace centered on the long axis of the entry foyer, draws the viewer into the main living/dining space. Filled with natural light all around, the space is grand with views extending to the west over the kitchen towards the estate's cherry orchards. In the opposite direction the bedroom loft magically hovers over the living room. Along the long north wall, large glass terrace doors fully open allowing the interior to be almost entirely opened up to the rear terrace.Full-height gable end windows provide views of the surrounding orchard and gardens.  A suspended loft dramatically hovers above, creating a play of volumes within the main living space.  Large doors on the east side give out onto a terrace paved with oversized bluestone slabs.  A board-formed concrete fireplace serves as an interior grill for the kitchen and terrace, its prominent chimney anchoring the axis of the entry wing.

High r-value SIPS, LED lighting, a high-efficiency boiler feeding radiant floors, and motorized sunshades—all controllable remotely through the owner’s cell phone—minimize the barn’s total energy use.

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Status: Built
Location: New Canaan, CT, US