Mamaroneck, New York
A children’s treehouse inspired the major redesign of this residence on the western edge of Saxon Woods Park. Originally built by a developer in the late 1950s, the ranch-style house faced away from the wooded park. Several additions, including an indoor pool, further obstructed the park views. The treehouse, which the clients had built some years ago for their grandchildren, sits on stilts among the trees, and guided ideas about the redesigned house’s silhouette, orientation, interior spaces, and materials. Highlights of the redesign include a new covered entrance supported by two tree-like steel columns; a single large sloping roof that unifies the north side of the house and opens up the office and kitchen to the park; a new three-sided glass family room facing park and pool; the addition of a second-floor master bedroom suite with treehouse views; and the thematic use of wood slats in the detailing of both exterior and interior.
Size: 6,600 sq. ft.
Contractor: O’Brien Carpentry
Photography: Michael Moran OTTO
Mamaroneck Residence —Info
Shelter Island, New York
The Shelter Island house is a re-interpretation of the fisherman’s saltbox cottage, with its box-like shape and long pitched roof. In this contemporary, sustainable version, the saltbox is sheared; that is, the second floor has been pushed forward to create a small overhang in the front and a balcony in the rear. The windows—from large openings to narrow slits—explode the symmetry. The rear roof supports the photovoltaic system that powers and heats the house. Following the slope of the site, the ground floor has an open plan that changes levels between the front of the house, which includes the entry foyer and library/guest room, and the living/dining/kitchen area in the rear. The artist’s studio on the second-floor has a soaring ceiling and large windows with northern exposure. The master bedroom opens to the rear balcony, and is connected to the study. The exterior is clad in Alaskan yellow cedar and gray stucco.
Size: 2,500 sq. ft.
Contractor: The Wooden House Co.
Photography: Michael Moran
Sheared Saltbox —Info
Fifth Avenue Renovation
New York City
In this full renovation of a Fifth Avenue apartment, the primary idea was to open up a rabbit warren of small spaces to accommodate the casual lifestyle of a young family. The redesign expanded the living area by incorporating a small balcony. The result is a gracious, light-filled room with windows on both the west and south sides, which also brighten the adjacent foyer. Glass-paneled doors connect the study to the living room and foyer. Entry, living room, and library flow in a circular pattern. In the back of the apartment, the galley kitchen was combined with the dining room for informal family meals. Immoveable pipes became design opportunities for a glass vitrine in the living room and bottle storage racks in the kitchen.
Architects: Stephen Moser and Amanda Martocchio
Size: 3,000 sq. ft.
Contractor: Chartwell Construction
Photography: John Hall
Fifth Avenue Renovation —Info
New York City
The renovation of this pied-à-terre on the Upper West Side was driven by the design of an L-shaped bank of cabinetry that opens up the small apartment by eliminating furniture clutter, while quietly defining the living space. The cherry wood cabinet follows the contour of the apartment. It begins near the front door as a built-in set of closets that steps down to become a desk; when it turns the corner, it becomes a low bookcase, which separates the entry/work area at the front of the apartment from the seating/sleeping area at the rear. Four hanging lights over the bookcase enhance its role as room divider.
Size: 600 sq. ft.
Contractor: J & W Construction
Photography: John Hall
Greenwich House Addition
Perched on a steep wooded site overlooking the Byram River, this home was built in the 1960s and renovated in the early 1970s by architect Paul Rudolph. This expansion and redesign of the master bedroom suite focused on opening it up to the river and woods while respecting the ingenuity of the Rudolph addition. This was done by transforming an existing deck into a cantilevered bathroom and reconfiguring the interior spaces. A transom-lit corridor with a wall of closets connects the bedroom to the living wing of the house. The bathroom is accessed through a set of sliding doors inspired by shoji screens. In the sink alcove, two panels of windows provide a wide view, in a gesture to a lookout tower. Interior materials, such as pearwood, maple, steel, and white ceramic tiles, echo the landscape of trees, river, and sky.
Size: 850 sq. ft.
Contractor: Taconic Builders
Photography: Peter Margonelli and John Hall
Greenwich House Addition —Info
Scarsdale, New York
Situated on a triangular piece of property and attached to the rear of a free-standing garage, the painting studio is an exploration in perspective. The studio was designed so that a landscape painter at work inside could have a view outside of tranquil lawn bordered by foliage and trees; at the same time, the client required that the structure be invisible from the main house. By rotating the mass of the studio toward the apex of the triangular rear yard, a natural forced perspective was created, flattening the view of the landscape from inside. From some angles, the studio appears detached from the garage; from others, it reveals that it is snugly attached under the existing eaves of the garage. A grid of north-facing windows provides the painter with views of the outdoors and brings light into the high-ceilinged work space.
Size: 450 sq. ft.
Contractor: Sherwood Construction
Photography: Peter Margonelli and Stephen Moser
Painting Studio —Info
AIDS Memorial Park Design Competition
New York City
In these two designs for an AIDS Memorial Park in Manhattan’s West Village, the driving idea is the transformation of a block-long stretch of 12th Street into a reflective surface. The street becomes a reflecting pool spanned by a rose-toned bridge. The site for the 2012 competition, organized by the AIDS Memorial Park Coalition, was a triangular piece of land—formed by Seventh Avenue, West 12th Street, and Greenwich Avenue—across from the former St. Vincent’s Hospital. In the submitted entry, the canal-like reflecting pool is bordered on the south side by a lawn planted with a grove of trees. In the unsubmitted entry, the lawn to the south of the pool becomes a gently rising hillock that reaches its apex where the bridge spans the water, providing visitors with a higher vantage point. Tucked under the rise of the hill is a subterranean exhibition space. A wall of windows along the hill’s north-facing side provides light to the space.
Drawings: Stephen Moser
AIDS Memorial Park Competition (Two Designs) —Info
Three Foot Bridges
Pearl River, New York
The Three Foot Bridges proposal was part of a master plan for the grounds of the Mildred Goetz Day Camp, one of three camps run by the Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds. The camp wanted to improve its circulation pattern, make underutilized parts of the grounds more accessible, and take full advantage of the natural beauty of its woods, boating pond, and brook. The idea for reorganizing the footpaths came from the simple act of walking across the Naurashaun Brook, which winds north to south along the western edge of the camp. Three foot bridges were proposed to develop the existing network of paths: an arched wood bridge at the north end of the pond; a stayed-cable bridge leading to the outdoor amphitheater; and a rope suspension bridge, midway between the other two bridges, to replace a log-style crossing.
Photography: Stephen Moser