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Le Château de Famille


A prominent in-town site that used to contain a motel was vacant when our clients purchased it. Its iconic location, across from a popular inn and restaurant, called for an iconic house, and that is essentially what the owners requested—a house that made passersby see it as something special, that made them “turn their heads.”  Fitting into the regulated historic district of the eclectic village was also critical. An early 20th Century farmhouse style home nearby was identified by the client as appealing and we saw it as a good model for the more public, Main Street facade of their new home. A large, vertical projecting bay is balanced by a horizontal porch spanning much of the facade, and by large roof overhangs. The porch is interrupted by a slightly projecting pedimented bay and abstracted fan light that announce entry. Unlike the historic model, our details are bold and flat—based more on emphatically projecting image and character than on being primarily the result of a particular era’s construction methods.

The site is on a highly visible corner that renders the side street approach almost as important as the front. The character of the architecture on the side changes to a less formal Shingle Style that relates to the recently constructed contemporary shingle style homes of the rest of the side street and motel property. The side facade includes garage doors, a secondary entry, and a dining room bay window. A lion and family crest weathervane, requested by the client as desired symbols, sits above the side facade and playfully beckons visitors. It is scaled more to symbolic need and the larger village context than to the house below. A portion of the yard is graded and covered with a rock garden to allow walk-out for a lower level that helps accommodate the square footage needs of a large extended family on a restricted site.