Sullivan Residence is a private house located high above a deep ravine on a three-acre, wooded suburban lot. The structure is built partly on the remaining foundations of a previous house and has been enlarged to 3,500 square feet.
The project formally references the farm structures common to the area at the time of its first settlement in the early 19th C. The house is composed of a pair of opposing, gabled barn-like structures, simple in form with a heavy timber oak structure. The minimalist expression of this reference creates a strong and clear aesthetic – the basic structure and iconic form are primary. Large expanses of glass expose the timber columns and beams and open the main living areas and master bedroom to the surroundings. This is an exterior structure at the front and a continuous exterior and interior structure at the rear. A glass connector acts as a buffer between the public and private spaces as well as access from the front entry and down to the entertaining spaces and ravine to the rear.
The western structure, positioned broadside to the street, features the main living spaces – living, dining and kitchen – while the three bedrooms are located in the perpendicular eastern structure. A hidden loft above the kitchen is accessed from a stair located near the west entry. The lower level contains guest bedrooms, a playroom and the garage.
True to the minimalist, agrarian aesthetic, the exterior materials and detailing are simple and honest. The main body of the structures is clad in a natural, dark wood siding – Shou Sugi Ban, a charred Douglas fir material akin to a centuries-old hickory. The lower levels, the pair of chimneys and the site walls are built from rough limestone. The roofs are clad in natural slate shingles with a terne metal standing seam skirt that is repeated at the low shed dormer for the loft. Windows are a bronze anodized aluminum clad wood storefront system and the main entries (front and rear) are a Cor-Ten steel storefront system. Select punched windows are emphasized with a Cor-Ten steel extruded frame. The heavy timber ash structure is assembled with custom galvanized steel plate exposed connections.
Outdoor spaces are integral to the interior spaces and functions of the house. Large sliding glass panels open the length of the interior dining room to the front bluestone dining terrace and garden and a flagstone entry walk. To the rear, a semi-enclosed private dining room located beneath the master bedroom has an expansive view of the rolling terraces, the ravine below and the woods beyond.