This gem of a house was built in 1953. The architects were Sherwood, Mills & Smith of Stamford, CT. A classic midcentury in every way, the house embodied the optimism and ingenuity of the time. It was sited to take advantage of beautiful farmland views to the south. Minimal fenestration on its north side maintained privacy from the road and buffered wind.
The house was designed using a system of prefabricated ceiling panels containing copper tubes for heating. Today, radiant heat mounted in the ceiling is counterintuitive. But, considered so innovative at that time, the house was featured in an American Brass Company promotional pamphlet. Remarkably, that original radiant system is still the home’s heating source.
The house was well-worn by the time our clients acquired it in 2012. The roof leaked, masonry required repointing and the operable windows functioned poorly if at all. On the owner’s wish list was a garage/workshop to replace the collapsing carport.
Working closely with the owner and Glen Hochstetter of Hammersmith Builders, Billinkoff Architecture developed plans for a interpretive restoration: applying a contemporary lens to the original spatial, aesthetic and functional qualities of the house while protecting its original character.
The tar and gravel roof was replaced with a standing seam metal roof. The carport was reduced in size and rebuilt as a covered link to a new garage that borrowed the pitch of the existing roofline. New operable casements replaced the originals. The existing shed roof over the terrace was replaced with one higher and with fewer columns to obstruct views. The light grey exterior was painted charcoal to enhance the existing stonework and visually connect the exterior finishes, replacement windows and roof. The new color adds richness to the structure when viewed against its verdant background.
Interior work included a new kitchen and two new bathrooms. Doors and adjacent walls that once subdivided the space were removed to enhance views and improve flow. The owners, inspired by the period, are furnishing the house as an ongoing project.