Located on a pastoral piece of property in Amenia, NY, this 200 year old farmhouse oozes with charm and grace. Old timbers line the ceilings, wide floorboards are worn by decades of use, and eccentric moments are scattered throughout. Although stately and proud, the existing home showed its age: walls sagged, floors sloped, and an ill-conceived addition felt like a disjointed accessory. Perhaps most notably, the home lacked any relationship to the beautiful property. Rather, the home cocooned its users in intimate, dark interiors — charming on a snowy winter day, but less so on a glorious summer evening.
My clients bought the farmhouse in 2000 as a country getaway from New York City. Over the course of many summers and weekends in the country, they developed a deep love for their home. They were committed to preserving everything they cherished about the house, but wanted to undertake a renovation that added modern living spaces and connected the house to the beautiful property.
To this end, the renovation goals were threefold:
- design an addition that reflects a modern way of living while remaining deferential to the age, grace, and layout of the existing home;
- orient the interior and exterior of the house outward towards the pastoral property;
- fortify the exiting structure.
Remaining deferential to the existing home determined every design move, from the size and height of the addition, to the materials used inside and out. In both height and width, the addition never outcompetes the existing structure, and the materials selected compliment the feel of the existing home without relying on nostalgia. For example, rather than copy the existing twelve-over-eight white double hung windows, we selected black windows with minimal divisions. The juxtaposition between the two window styles is subtle, but gives the addition a modern hue.
Windows were sized and grouped strategically to capture long pastoral views, as well as intimate views of the gardens and mature trees. In the kitchen, for example, we eliminated upper cabinets in favor of a large array of windows that not only flood the kitchen with natural light, but frame a regal, old maple tree; in the master bedroom, we used oversized double hung windows to match the scale and expanse of the view. In general, interiors were crisply detailed and furnished with a light touch, resulting in modern, airy spaces.
The exterior spaces were also carefully considered. Alex and Brian wanted a screened-in porch for dining, and an outdoor living area. The wraparound porch not only provides both, but firmly orients the house towards the open fields, large vegetable garden, and pool beyond. Furthermore, the porch helps stitch together the old with the new; the porch roof extends over the entry and kitchen, hugging both sides of the existing home.
In total, our addition included:
- First floor — dining, kitchen, living area, laundry, mudroom,
- Second floor — master bedroom, master bathroom, new stairwell opening, and new stairway to third floor
- Outdoor — entry porch, wraparound deck, screened-in porch, outdoor closet (for garden tools, sports equipment, etc.
Lastly, adding onto such an old structure required a deft hand, as we had to stitch together the old timber frame structure with the addition. As we started to peal away walls, siding, and floorboards, problems with the old structure revealed themselves. Alex and Brian worked with the contractor to reinforce floor joists, install tie rods to support to the roof, and repair the building envelope, ensuring the house will stand for another 200 years.
1. Windows — Marvin
Dining Pendants— Restoration Hardware
Island Pendants — Restoration Hardware
Kitchen Sconces — Schoolhouse Electric
Cabinetry — Plain & Fancy
Appliances — Viking range/hood, Viking Regrigerator, Bosch DW
Faucet — Waterworks
Sink — Franke Counters — Carrera
Tile — Nemo
Drawing — Artist KK Kozik
3. Living Room
Wood Burning Stove — Stuv
Master Bathroom Tile — Nemo
Console Sinks — Restoration Hardware Medicine
Cabinets — Crate and Barrel Shower and sink hardware — Waterworks
4. Master Bedroom
Bed—Ethan Allen Pendant—Olampia
Lights — Restoration Hardware