House in the Connecticut Hills

Approached on axis from downhill, this small house is at first apparently symmetrical. On closer inspection, its five parts (a dining room/living room wing, a bedroom/study wing, a central vestibule, and two chimneys) declare their gentle independence from one another. Two pavilions set at slightly different angles to the center, and the chimneys are of different sizes and angles so while the house is generally at rest, it is also animated in its pastoral setting. The two pavilions bend around the center to help create an entry court downhill while also separating to expose uphill vistas to an estate of large trees, rolling lawns, and gardened rock outcroppings.

Client

Private Residence

Location Northwestern Connecticut
Size 1,372 Sq. Ft.
Year Completed 1989
Photo Credit Timothy Hursley, Judith Watts

Outside materials of the house are straightforward – painted vertical cedar siding, trimless at doors to suggest thick walls, stops at a horizontal band reminiscent of ancient local houses. A durable lead-coated copper standing seam roof reflects the sky's changing color. Inside, details are spare but careful – from wide-board pine flooring to Greek Revival trim. Fireplaces extend from the base of their free-standing chimneys into the house as temple forms with playful brick patterns and hand colored cementitious plaster.

The simple house becomes interesting with the movement of parts offering dramatic surprises of lights and views when moving through the house, while still allowing for decorum in each room. One of our clients suffers from an eye condition which required that we avoid glare. French doors provide for even lighting in the winter and breezes in the summer. Overhead, doubled cross ties hide lamps illuminating silk draperies to give a soft illumination at night.

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