"This diminutive design, at once refined and dynamic, calmly asserts its preeminence while quietly acknowledging its role in the Connecticut landscape."
Architecture, March 1990

"We wanted a house that would be joyous, even on a gray winter day."

This main house serves as the entry gate to an estate of large trees, rolling lawns, and carefully gardened rock outcroppings. Approached from downhill, the house appears at first symmetrical, but on closer inspection its five parts – dining/living room wing, bedroom/study wing, central vestibule and two chimneys – gently declare their independence from one another.

The two pavilions are set at slightly different angles to the center, and the chimneys are of different sizes and orientation. The pavilion with the living and dining room is a large, cathedral-ceilinged space with a fireplace at one end and the kitchen at the other. Three French doors march down each side for light in the winter and breezes in summer. At the kitchen end is a large Venetian window with its side panels dropped to the floor. Broad overhead crossties hide lamps lighting silk draperies on alternate bays, which combined with the French doors create a gentle ambient illumination, which is important to one inhabitant whose eyes are sensitive to bright light.

A similar lighting treatment is used in the other pavilion above the master bed, where drapes also are hung from bay to bay. Tucked next to the bedroom are two bathrooms and a small study with floor-to-ceiling books, a fireplace of its own and indirect lighting.

Centerbrook garnered four design accolades for the house, including awards from AIA New England and AIA Connecticut.

Photography © Timothy Hursley, Judith Watts