The residents—a graphic designer and a fashion designer—wanted their home to feel “like a traditional upstate New York farmhouse” and yet to reflect their modern sensibilities. The result of these seemingly contradictory goals is a graceful duality: simple, calm, rational on the one hand; fresh, light, and elegant on the other. While the house makes a humble and understated presentation from the street side, the contemporary and carefully considered fenestration on the rear face offers selected views of the wooded slope beyond.
A stairway at the south end of the house extends from basement to attic, gathering light and buffering heat. A series of paired columns along the interior walls gives order to the construction, the space and the cabinetry of the two main floors. An outdoor path allows access around—without going through—the house and also gives this small structure a sense of monumentality.
The residents and the architect agreed that they wanted to achieve their desired goals through contemporary building materials and construction methods.
• The house is completely clad in copper, eliminating the need for any exterior painting.
• All of the copper was fabricated on site. The siding consists of 10” x 34” locking shingles. The roof is traditional field-formed standing seam.
• The flooring in the upper two floors is cork; the lower level is concrete; the main floor is maple.
• All of the interior walls are pre-whitewashed and finished pine plywood. There is no drywall in the house.
• The house is heated and cooled by a ground-source heat pump (geothermal). The narrow footprint of the house (18’ x 40’) allows for substantial ventilation from the updrafts from the hillside on which the house is sited.
• The deck railing is derived from Camden’s experimentation with repetitive stamp designs. The stainless steel wire mesh of the railing is borrowed from a technique used for weaving king crab pots in Alaska.
• A trellis at the front of the house allows privacy from the street, grapes for the household, and the fragrance of Jasmine during the summer.
PHONE 804.231.5299 | EMAIL SADLER@SADLERANDWHITEHEAD.COM
“It is nice to see the house after dark with the
interior lit, because every window is a painting.
It will be nice when it ages and forms patinas.
We wonder how it will influence the life of
our daughter (it will) as she grows in it.
The house makes so much sense, and everywhere
you see the presence of human handwork.
Frequently people travel down the street,
stop and point their fingers at it.
It makes us feel warm, gracious, intrigued and proud.
It connects the past with the present and future
through a simple plan, without the desire to use the
recommended number of electrical outlets.”