In the summer of 2006 a couple came to Connor Homes with a program for the design of their retirement home that was compelling. The house was to sit prominently, yet simply in an open pasture and represent the elegance and style that was obviously characteristic of these clients. It was equally as important to them that the house serve as a place to host the many guests they enjoy entertaining as it was to provide a comfortable home for them and for their family of whippets. The clients expressed their love of Georgian style architecture and their wish to include such elegant forms, proportions and details in their design. They particularly cited Westover at Virginia's James River Plantation as one of their favorites and enjoyed the harmony of the Georgian house with the gambrel wing to the east. The house would be located in the small town of Delanson, NY, coincidentally named for the Delaware and Hudson Rivers which surround it in a similar fashion as the way the James River Plantation is surrounded by the James and Chickahominy Rivers. The couple made it clear that the house would need to stand alone in the pasture and little if any landscaping was to be installed around the house.
The Connor Homes staff worked meticulously with the clients through each detail of the home to assemble a design that would meet and exceed the clients' expectations. The result is an efficiently sized home, under 2,400 square feet, that exhibits late Georgian and early Federal features in order to create a presence found more often in homes of a much grander scale. The house sits proudly on the site with a welcoming posture and would appear to have rested there for generations. The massing of the house is eloquently simple with only the gambrel garage set off of the body of the home.
The exterior boasts a symmetrical facade with a projecting center gable framed by fluted pilasters and pediment. The front entry is cased with a custom fanlight and ornamental surround. Above a custom Palladian window opens the second floor hall to the easterly views and the projecting pediment, dons an ornamental elliptical window. Fluted pilasters on the corners support a heavy frieze, dentils and decorative cornice at the roof which is capped by red cedar shingles. A stone clad foundation anchors the house naturally to the terrain and strengthens the perception of an old home. In a shift from the home's Georgian roots a single chimney was pulled to the exterior of the southern end of home in order to support fireplaces in both the living room and the screen porch. Quarter round fan lights flanking the chimney, six over six light patterns in the double hung windows and arched top garage doors at the north end of the gambrel bring the style of the home into the early Federal period.
The interior of the home is finished throughout with plank pine flooring up to 16" wide installed with traditional square cut nails. Edge beaded casing trims out all windows and doors and elegant crown moulding is installed throughout the house. The foyer is adorned with painted raised panel wainscot with a cherry cap rail that leads up the stairs and back to a large dining room where a hipped bay provides dinner parties with sunset views to the west. A custom turned cherry newel highlights the staircase which extends up from the foyer maintaining the contrast of the wainscot detail with painted balusters contained by a cherry rail and cherry treads.
A full depth living room extends front to back on the south end of the home which enjoys natural light throughout the day and leads out to the screen porch providing a pleasant indoor outdoor space. Built-in book cases and custom mantel provide beautiful display spaces in the living room for books and treasures that the couple has collected throughout their travels. Opposite the living room is the cozy study finished throughout in raised cherry wall paneling, and cherry crown moulding, window seats and bookcases. The cherry millwork continues into the powder room located off the study. The study backs up to the private kitchen complete with custom cabinetry and all the high end appliances needed for entertaining large groups. Utility spaces located off the kitchen, in the gambrel wing also contain custom millwork and a private secondary stair giving direct back yard access from the master bedroom, a requirement of the whippets.
An elevator was installed providing convenient service from the basement to the second floor where the cherry chair rail continues from the main stairway around the hall to the elaborately trimmed Palladian window. Two guest bedrooms and a large master suite configure the second story which includes a private den extends over the garage. Walk-in showers are constructed in both the master bath and the guest bath and a clawfoot tub enjoys the westerly views from the master bath.
All the framing of the project was delivered to the site in the form of pre-cut floor systems and roof systems as well as panelized walls which were then ready for immediate assembly by local contractors. All exterior and interior trim work was pre built to the highest reasonable level allowing for quick and seamless installation and resulting in a construction timetable that was greatly reduced compared to what was possible with full on site construction practices.
This moderately sized home not only makes a statement larger than its scale, it also serves as a highly functional and livable space providing a balance of grandeur and coziness that make it a beautiful and comfortable home.
For more photos and floor plans see link to the left or visit The Brian Grant Brady House on our Website.