A Hybrid Prefab Home in Upstate New York

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February 27, 2013
Originally published in The Interiors Issue
as
Something Old, Something New
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  Architect William Massie built a hybrid prefab home for vintage retailer Greg Wooten, who handled the interiors. In the living room is a 1950s Franco Albini rattan chair, a Crate chair designed by Gerrit Rietveld in 1934, and a 1970s sofa by Edward Axel Roffman. The tall ceramic piece is by Bruno Gambone.

    Architect William Massie built a hybrid prefab home for vintage retailer Greg Wooten, who handled the interiors. In the living room is a 1950s Franco Albini rattan chair, a Crate chair designed by Gerrit Rietveld in 1934, and a 1970s sofa by Edward Axel Roffman. The tall ceramic piece is by Bruno Gambone.

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  “I made a very conscious decision, when I realized that the house with nothing in it was such a fantastic work of art,” says Greg Wooten, “to go out of my way to pull back and only select pieces that complemented the architecture and would allow both the house and the furniture to breathe.” The place is furnished minimally with vintage finds he chose for the rooms over time.

    “I made a very conscious decision, when I realized that the house with nothing in it was such a fantastic work of art,” says Greg Wooten, “to go out of my way to pull back and only select pieces that complemented the architecture and would allow both the house and the furniture to breathe.” The place is furnished minimally with vintage finds he chose for the rooms over time.

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  “Materials were a major consideration in this house,” says Massie, who created a curtain wall with steel supports adorned with sandwiched layers of birch plywood and amber acrylic. “When light enters that wall, the layers of acrylic allow it to come through and glow—it’s really quite beautiful,” says Massie, who added the same acrylic for the thin window at the end. “That plays off the yellows in the Gambone ceramics and the Eames storage unit,” notes Wooten.    This originally appeared in How to Design with Yellow.

    “Materials were a major consideration in this house,” says Massie, who created a curtain wall with steel supports adorned with sandwiched layers of birch plywood and amber acrylic. “When light enters that wall, the layers of acrylic allow it to come through and glow—it’s really quite beautiful,” says Massie, who added the same acrylic for the thin window at the end. “That plays off the yellows in the Gambone ceramics and the Eames storage unit,” notes Wooten.

    This originally appeared in How to Design with Yellow.
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  “It has a surreal element,” says Wooten of the house, nicknamed the Skull. In the snow, the building blends into the landscape. Its tallest form holds a periscope. Inside, Guido Gambone ceramics brighten the living area.

    “It has a surreal element,” says Wooten of the house, nicknamed the Skull. In the snow, the building blends into the landscape. Its tallest form holds a periscope. Inside, Guido Gambone ceramics brighten the living area.

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  “If you look closely at the concrete wall, the curvature is based on one really simple formal move,” says Massie. “In front, the roof is about 11 feet high, and in back, about 9 feet. If you could imagine just pinching the back of the building, that linear distance would have to go somewhere, hence the curve.” That arc continues inside as the wall nearest to the guest sleeping area. “It’s really interesting to feel that wall dimpling toward you,” says Wooten. “It changes as you walk from the bedroom to the guest bath—it starts with a dramatic curve and gradually flattens out.”

    “If you look closely at the concrete wall, the curvature is based on one really simple formal move,” says Massie. “In front, the roof is about 11 feet high, and in back, about 9 feet. If you could imagine just pinching the back of the building, that linear distance would have to go somewhere, hence the curve.” That arc continues inside as the wall nearest to the guest sleeping area. “It’s really interesting to feel that wall dimpling toward you,” says Wooten. “It changes as you walk from the bedroom to the guest bath—it starts with a dramatic curve and gradually flattens out.”

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  Wooten anchored the kitchen with a faux-bois coatrack from France. “Since Greg’s furniture is predominantly wood, we chose to make the interior all wood,” says Massie. “We used laser-cut mahogany and cherry plywood with jigsaw edges to make the house more like a cabin—albeit a very modern one. This puzzle piece motif is something that I’ve done in every project before and after this one—it’s a different way of having surfaces come together without having to abide by a modernist rule of panels. We can snap the whole thing together with eccentric uniformity, and it’s really simple.”

    Wooten anchored the kitchen with a faux-bois coatrack from France. “Since Greg’s furniture is predominantly wood, we chose to make the interior all wood,” says Massie. “We used laser-cut mahogany and cherry plywood with jigsaw edges to make the house more like a cabin—albeit a very modern one. This puzzle piece motif is something that I’ve done in every project before and after this one—it’s a different way of having surfaces come together without having to abide by a modernist rule of panels. We can snap the whole thing together with eccentric uniformity, and it’s really simple.”

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  Wooten handpicked every piece in the house, such as the 1955 Medea chair by Vittorio Nobili, near which he placed an abandoned bird’s nest he found on the property. 

    Wooten handpicked every piece in the house, such as the 1955 Medea chair by Vittorio Nobili, near which he placed an abandoned bird’s nest he found on the property. 

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  The table in the dining area was found in Venice, California, and the geometric table is a prototype by Arik Levy.

    The table in the dining area was found in Venice, California, and the geometric table is a prototype by Arik Levy.

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  For one of two sleeping areas flanking the main living space, Wooten placed tatami from Miya Shoji on the cork floor. “With the radiant heating system, it’s fantastic to be in this glass box looking out at a blizzard, walking barefoot on the warm floor,” he says. “Tatami are not for everyone, but they are really comfy to me. Before we built the house, I stayed at a traditional bed-and-breakfast in Kyoto, Japan, and had one of the best nights of sleep ever, so I decided I wanted to do that style of bed. On top is a 150-year-old Japanese denim patchwork quilt I bought from a friend who took me to Japan. I’ve always admired Japanese design—Noguchi is one of my favorites—so I was inspired to have that spirit in the house.” miyashoji.com

    For one of two sleeping areas flanking the main living space, Wooten placed tatami from Miya Shoji on the cork floor. “With the radiant heating system, it’s fantastic to be in this glass box looking out at a blizzard, walking barefoot on the warm floor,” he says. “Tatami are not for everyone, but they are really comfy to me. Before we built the house, I stayed at a traditional bed-and-breakfast in Kyoto, Japan, and had one of the best nights of sleep ever, so I decided I wanted to do that style of bed. On top is a 150-year-old Japanese denim patchwork quilt I bought from a friend who took me to Japan. I’ve always admired Japanese design—Noguchi is one of my favorites—so I was inspired to have that spirit in the house.” miyashoji.com

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  Wooten asked Massie to incorporate a 1960s steel screen by Don Drumm into the house; Massie placed it on a central pivot so it acts as a gate, a privacy barrier, and an architectural gesture. “We actually changed the whole roofline of the porch to accommodate the screen being able to pivot,” says Massie. “The screen also allowed the building to have an immediate history.” dondrummstudios.com

    Wooten asked Massie to incorporate a 1960s steel screen by Don Drumm into the house; Massie placed it on a central pivot so it acts as a gate, a privacy barrier, and an architectural gesture. “We actually changed the whole roofline of the porch to accommodate the screen being able to pivot,” says Massie. “The screen also allowed the building to have an immediate history.” dondrummstudios.com

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  The Wooten House Floor Plan.

    The Wooten House Floor Plan.

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