7,500 square feet (interior)
8,700 square feet (perceived)
Peter Aaron, Esto
The neighborhood of this house designed by Polhemus Savery DaSilva is characterized by rolling topography on wooded peninsulas separated by salt water bays and coves. Our client was interested in a site planning scheme and a new house that took advantage of the land, and provided a larger house than existed.
We developed a design that does not reveal its full size at the front, but adopts a larger scale at the back. We sought a design where, at our client’s dramatic water facing promontory, the house appears to grow out of the natural coastal bank. A central bay, housing the most dramatic spaces of the house (the living room and the master sleeping area above), projects out into the landscape. It is curved at the end where the land curves around it. Stone terraces and planters follow the curve and mediate between the house and the landscape. On the south side, a ravine traverses the entire depth of the property and crosses between the front of the house and the cul-de-sac on which the property fronts.
We developed a representational scheme specifically suited to this house. Architectural and natural forms were used in an ornamentation program that included both the interior and exterior. The shape of the two-story front porch and its gambrel roof is a motif that is repeated at different scales and proportions and in many different materials. The downspout brackets, chimney cap, handrail escutcheons, door hardware, fireplace screens and tools, and some carved wood work, were all custom-made based on this motif. As a design-build firm acting as both the architects and general contractors of the house, we were able to have great control over the process of translating the design from drawings to reality. We worked with three different millwork shops to build the extensive interior woodwork. We had to carefully coordinate the work of a stone cutter, the millworkers, a lighting designer and a metals fabricator to achieve the complex integration of stone, wood, lighting and accessories at the three fireplaces. Warm colors were important to us for the exterior stonework, and that required importing stone from quarries in western Massachusetts, Indiana and India. The stone mason created several mock-ups to find the right stone type and mortar colors and to develop the right technique for laying the foundation stone.