A Country House and Gardens
THE ROLLING HILLS NORTH OF NEW YORK CITY featuring some of the most dramatic scenery in the region, have been horse country for the past three centuries. The landscape features sweeping views of wooded hillsides while barns, pastures, and horse paddocks provide vernacular reminders of its agrarian past. Taking his cue from this magnificent setting, Wadia sought to create a dialogue between the design of the home and the surrounding landscape. To emphasize the views of an adjacent nature conservancy, he sited the home carefully and designed a floor plan that would capture the outdoor beauty at every turn. He also manipulated the transitional spaces around the exterior of the house with a series of well-defined garden rooms to force a particular view or perspective. By emphasizing these transitions — visitors must walk through a small entry garden that overlooks a larger formal garden before they can turn right to get to the front door, for example — guests experience a sense of discovery as they move through the landscape.
The owners of the home, who are both avid gardeners, wanted to be able to wake up in the morning and walk directly into the garden. Accordingly, the master bedroom is situated on the first floor, as are all of the other essential rooms, while the guest bedrooms occupy the second floor. Tender plants are over-wintered in the conservatory, a warm and inviting room with a double-height ceiling, exposed timbering and trusses, and lovely double-height bay windows that flood the room with sunlight. The central corridor is designed with arched casings framing the doorways, which open up the space and extend the view to the garden beyond. The living room, which features a limestone fireplace mantle and floor-to-ceiling wood paneling, has been deliberately designed with large windows to capture the dramatic view of the nature conservancy. Naturally, this is a tricky proposition as oversized windows are not in the language of traditional classical design. Yet, with a bit of inventiveness, the windows have been classically re-imagined and deftly incorporated into the traditional styling of the home. In fact, the home, itself, and the way it is intimately linked to the landscape by its gardens and vistas, looks as though it could have been plucked from the English countryside.