Wright on the River

This new, tim­ber-frame house speaks the lan­guage of the owner’s fa­vorite ar­chi­tect. And it is en­ergy ef­fi­cient.

Arts and Crafts Homes - - CON­TENTS - by Regina Cole | pho­tos by Carolyn Bates

InStyle, and started the style sec­tion of the Vil­lage Voice. Larsen was the Saigon bu­reau chief for Time in 1970–71, the ed­i­tor of New Times un­til the mag­a­zine folded in 1979, and for five years ed­i­tor of the Vil­lage Voice. Jonathan and Mary started dat­ing in 2000.

Larsen has stud­ied al­ter­na­tive en­ergy since the 1970s; he and Pea­cock turned to ar­chi­tect Bill Ma­clay, the Waits­field ar­chi­tect known for en­ergy-ef­fi­cient new houses and ren­o­va­tions. His de­sign in­cludes a va­ri­ety of al­ter­na­tive en­ergy sources while it draws on con­ven­tions of Wright’s mid-cen­tury Uso­nian houses. The re­sult is a one-storey, 3,625-square­foot home over­look­ing the Mad River at a spot where a tim­ber dam had spanned the wa­ter un­til it was blown out in the his­toric hur­ri­cane of 1927. A large stone abut­ment that housed the pen­stock is all that re­mains.

“Wright’s prin­ci­ples, which root a house so that it is open to the view and en­gages with the site, launched us into our stan­dard de­sign process,” Ma­clay says. “Our idea was to lo­cate the house at the site of the dam, uti­liz­ing the abut-

ment and cre­at­ing stairs and a gar­den. We de­signed a house that’s one room deep, so that all rooms get the sun­light, the so­lar gain, and the spec­tac­u­lar views up­river to the south.”

Larsen and Pea­cock call their three­bed­room, two-bath home River House. The struc­ture uses Wright’s vo­cab­u­lary with low roofs, open liv­ing ar­eas, and tex­tu­ral, nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als. Built with a Dou­glas fir tim­ber frame and stone har­vested on the site, the house has an east– west axis. The front en­try on the north side, bermed into the hill, is at the cen-

ter, with the sleep­ing and liv­ing wings ra­di­at­ing to ei­ther side at slight an­gles.

Ma­son Mike Eramo of Granville har­vested and worked the stone that forms the foun­da­tion, ex­te­rior walls, in­te­rior col­umns, and an enor­mous fire­place wall. “It took three men four months to gather that stone,” he says. “We hauled 400 truck­loads off the moun­tain. When we found re­ally nice stones, we han­dled them with care to keep the patina in­tact.”

One ex­am­ple is the slab of schist (a meta­mor­phic rock with a flat, sheet­like grain) that forms the mas­sive lin­tel above the fire­place. In the in­ter­est of en­ergy con­ser­va­tion, in­stead of fold­ing doors, Eramo in­stalled pocket doors to close off the fire­box. Built by black­smith James Fecteau of Ver­mont’s Hunt­ing­ton River Smithy, they not only pro­vide a tighter seal, says Eramo, but also “they’re not awk­ward and in the way.”

The in­te­rior fol­lows Wright’s dic­tum that bed­rooms should be small and pub­lic spaces large. Drama and nat­u­ral beauty are pro­vided by sun­light, stonework, and Dou­glas fir tim­bers. New York-area in­te­rior de­signer Lori Weatherly deftly com­bined some of the cou­ple’s fa­vorite old pieces with new fur­nish­ings for a clas­sic, neu­tral scheme.

“I took the color palette from the set­ting, which is very rus­tic and nat­u­ral,”

Weatherly says. “We did not use Frank Lloyd Wright fur­ni­ture, but we wanted the in­te­rior de­sign to speak the same lan­guage as the house.”

Mary Pea­cock says that Weatherly con­vinced her to put the din­ing room at the end of the house, in­stead of next to the kitchen. “She said, ‘This is the most beau­ti­ful room—why not make it the din­ing room?’” Mary ex­plains. “We are so glad we did!” a FOR SOURCES, see p. 71.

ABOVE Mak­ing use of south-fac­ing space be­low, so­lar pan­els are part of the net-zero de­sign. Many more are lo­cated in a field out of sight of the house. BE­LOW The Hen­ry­built kitchen is open and serene, thanks to a nearby pantry that elim­i­nates the need for over­head cab­i­nets. Nat­u­ral wood cab­i­nets and is­land are topped with black gran­ite. Be­cause the home­own­ers are tall, coun­ters are 39 inches high, three inches above stan­dard.

ABOVE $ PDJQLƬFHQW ƬHOGVWRQH ƬUH­SODFH ZDOO GR­PLQD­WHV WKH RSHQ OLYLQJ URRP $Q HVSH­FLDOO\ LP­SUHVVLYH VWRQH IRUPV WKH ƬUHER[ OLQWHO )LUH­SODFH GR­RUV VOLGH LQWR KLGGHQ SRFN­HWV RIGHT 6HGXP DQG JUDVVHV JURZ OXVK RQ WKH URRI UHGXFLQJ UXQ Rƪ LQWR WKH 0DG 5LYHU 7KUHH GD\OLJKW PRQL­WRUV EU­LQJ VXQOLJKW LQWR UR­RPV EHORZ

The bunkroom has clerestory win­dows, which pro­vide pri­vacy with light and al­low use of the full height of the room. Stepped bunks, with a queen-size bed at the top, ac­com­mo­date guests.

ABOVE The guest bath­room on the north side of the house gets nat­u­ral light from one of three day­light mon­i­tors, bring­ing a height­ened sense of space. Earth­tone tiles com­ple­ment Dou­glas ƬU RIGHT Grace notes in­clude cus­tom drain grates made by Ver­mont black­smith James Fecteau. BE­LOW The drive­way ap­proaches from the north; the house is nearly in­vis­i­ble un­til the drive turns in to a stone fore­court.

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