A Restorative Getaway from the City

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By James Wagman Architect / Published by James Wagman Architect
In designing their new weekend home, NYC architect James Wagman and his wife, award-winning author Anne Landsman, drew their inspiration from the summer cottage they have been renting in Truro, Cape Cod since their first child Tess was born. Each summer for the past 20 years they spend 2 weeks at The Corn Hill Cottages, a site with a rich history and which was made famous by Edward Hopper in his 1930's Corn Hill paintings.
A Restorative Getaway from the City - Photo 1 of 13 - The Inspiration: Corn Hill Cottages in Truro, Cape Cod

The Inspiration: Corn Hill Cottages in Truro, Cape Cod


The 2,500 square foot weekend home James designed in the town of Hillsdale, NY was constructed on the foundation of a small cottage built in the 1970’s that James and Anne bought in 2007.  After spending several years in the cottage they decided that it was time to demolish it and build a home that fit their needs and lifestyle. The new house provides ample living space with an open dining and living room, a central hearth and a modern kitchen. 


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"We clad the walls in cedar siding and sheets of fir plywood. We wanted the feel of a cabin, but with clean, modern lines," says Anne. "We delighted in many of the details – unique and expressive light fixtures, hand-etched Black Kadappa tiles from India in the entranceway, a painting by a beloved friend, Julie Heffernan, that slides away to reveal a TV."

A Restorative Getaway from the City - Photo 8 of 13 - Built-ins in all areas of the house – window seats, cabinets, beds, bookshelves, closets – make the house easy to furnish and as tidy as a ship.

Built-ins in all areas of the house – window seats, cabinets, beds, bookshelves, closets – make the house easy to furnish and as tidy as a ship.


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The house has radiant heat in all the floors and the spaces are naturally ventilated with windows on all sides. The second floor features three bedrooms and two bathrooms. James and Anne kept the decor playful, experimenting with various textile and wallpaper designs.

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A Restorative Getaway from the City - Photo 13 of 13 - Both James and Anne are avid yoga enthusiasts, so the loft area was built with their sessions in mind.

Both James and Anne are avid yoga enthusiasts, so the loft area was built with their sessions in mind.


The house has been lived in for four seasons now and has already acquired a rich patina of memories. As James intended, the hearth is a focal point and many dinner parties have been held in its glow. The children, college age now, have come home for summer and winter breaks and delight in catching up on their sleep and their reading in the various built-in nooks. Everyone who visits revels in the openness of the architecture, the sublime vistas framed by the tall windows and the plantings that integrate the house into the landscape. It is a beloved retreat for James and Anne and a place of community where friends and neighbors gather to discuss local concerns. James is on the Historic Hillsdale committee formed to preserve the town’s history as well as connect the landmarks of the past to the town’s future.