Rhinebeck, NY

The restoration and renovation of an historic farmhouse. The project integrates the owners’ collection of humble, purposeful objects into the renovation as part of their larger goal to revamp the working farm.

We value design as evidence of human endeavors and aspirations, and we especially value the craft evident in certain authorless, utilitarian objects. The project is in coordination with a broader down-zoning of the property shepherded by the conservationist organization, Scenic Hudson. In keeping the acreage intact and critically exploring the potentials of preservation and sustainable farming, we seek to increase the farm’s relevance to the community, breathe new life into the site, and pursue a way of life that is true to the owners’ better selves as citizens and stewards of history and the land.

We conceived the interiors as a sequence of interrelationships among uses, time periods, materials, and colors. For example, on the new screened porch, which opens the house to the exterior, pride of place is held by a Shaker wood-burning stove. Seating in this sheltered space includes fifty-year old armchairs made of hickory frames that are laced together with strips of leather ­- these chairs were manufactured by a Vermont company known primarily for producing snowshoes of similar construction. Christopher Dresser candlesticks, a Hans Wegner coffee table, and a sofa that we designed in homage to Donald Judd add to the physical and mental comforts, and suggest relationships to the home’s other interventions such as a shower room sheathed in a lapis blue epoxy coating typically used in pools (a nod to Yves Klein), a Plains Indian headdress (an exquisite object that also reminds us of our incalculable debt to Native Americans), and oddities such as a 1950’s marbleized plastic table (recalling the early wonders associated with plastics) and a stuffed Scottie toy dog (a very different type of artifact from those mid-century decades of innocence and innovations).

Scope: Interior Architecture, Interior Design