The arrowhead-shaped corner at the end of the living room evolved from the need to accommodate a standard sliding-glass-door module. “It would have been astronomically expensive to custom-build it,” says Chris Bardt. This architectural gesture— the arrow “points” toward the river—“enabled us to be very generous with the view area without having to extend the entire house.”
The McDonalds wanted a comfortable place for people to remove their shoes, so the architects built a niche for a bench. The McDonalds hired local case-goods maker James Dean to craft a floating flitch-cut slab of black walnut—what Bardt calls “the affordable Nakashima moment.”
“The most difficult part of combining the living and dining rooms was that the ‘fake’ Colonial ceiling beams in the dining space”—which took the already-low seven-foot ceilings down to a head-scraping six feet four inches—“turned out to be structural,” says Bardt. Working with an engineer, he and Leski “shaved down” the beams and reinforced them to achieve a uniform ceiling height “without tearing the house apart.”
“We wanted to make the interior seamless with the outdoors, and this is the first place we blur the line,” Katie says of the “stone garden” that flows from within the entry to the deck beyond it. “My 85-year-old father picked up the rocks at the beach, a bag or two at a time, over weeks and weeks,” says Scott.
“For us, the dinner table is huge,” says Katie. The pair met furniture designer Seth Eshelman—whose Rochester-based company Staach produces what she called “environmentally conscientious furniture”—at a teatasting event, and they felt he shared their “vision and values.” Eshelman’s Cain dining set is made from maple.
“The meditation room is where we get our Japanese ya-yas out,” says Scott. “I wanted yukimi, which means ‘snow-viewing,’ shoji screens because they open from the bottom as well as side to side. Glen Collins, a guy in Oakland, California, is the one American I could find whose company makes them.”