The design intent for this family home was driven by the high sustainability standards of the owner’s own children. The wariness of the environmental effect of a second home created the challenge of building one with minimal impact that sits thoughtfully within its surroundings. The resulting 4,500-square-foot modern home is built to passive house standards.
The family limited their impact by preserving all-natural resources on the site and even constructed an indigenous landscape, planting a meadow that fills the surrounding land with native flowers and grasses throughout the year. A full solar array provides year-round energy, while site water resources are managed carefully. The choice of materials and details throughout the building are deliberately simple, local and unfussy in order to focus the experience on the natural beauty of the landscape.
The house is constructed of raw concrete and pine finished with a natural tar that prevents bug infestation and is resistant to woodpeckers.
A cantilevered upper floor houses the bedrooms and is designed to provide optimal sunlight and shade for the living spaces below. In addition, a two-story deep skylight brings light to the kitchen area. Accessed by steps that double as built-in seating, an outdoor terrace was designed lower than the house in order to ensure an uninterrupted view of the Hudson River Valley from inside the property.
An outdoor shower is made from a repurposed steel pipeline found upstate and bleached oak was used inside the home. The striking concrete walls were achieved by using old forms that create imperfections and color inconsistencies – a subtle decoration that also shows off how it is made. The luxury achieved in this home does not come from the materials used, but how well such materials work to enhance the beauty of their setting.