December 1, 2007
English Country House
When work began on this property—whose acreage is dotted with old-growth trees—weeds had grown up around the 1936 Royal Barry Wills–designed cottage, the previous owners had replaced the original wood-shake roof with asphalt shingles, and the program was too small for its new owners, a growing family.
Despite these challenges, the English-style home’s architectural provenance, pleasing scale and materiality, and sense of nostalgia made it well worth preserving. The goal of the restoration and renovation was to channel Wills in order to apply his thinking and aesthetic to an expanded home able to accommodate a larger program.
The concept was to make the house look like it had grown slowly, as an old English cottage would have. Wings on each side, an enlarged entrance, and rear bump-outs expanded the house from two to four thousand square feet. A new carriage house on the base of an original garage added even more space.
A sensitivity to scale, appropriateness, and authenticity guided every choice: Each relatively small addition steps back from the original house. The fixtures and materials—such as rough-hewn siding and stone—seamlessly continue the story Wills started to tell. The flower-planted window boxes, meanwhile, recall Currier & Ives.
In addition to the expansion of the property’s main and carriage houses, the project included the creation of a second carriage house and an Amish-style entertaining barn, both designed to channel Wills. The resulting countryside family compound feels at once intimate and expansive, ready to host parties big and small.