After a Fire, a Midcentury Home Rises from the Ashes

A tree house-inspired home takes advantage of the surrounding forest.

Inspired by a former tree house perched on the property, architect Stephen Moser found the opportunity in a midcentury remodel for a large family in southern New York to experiment with a range of building materials. A fire had seriously damaged parts of the house, requiring a substantial renovation using the existing footprint. From Douglas fir ceilings to custom steel handrails, which Moser designed himself, the renovated house accommodates a multitude of grandchildren and activity. The 6,600-square-foot home offers plenty of room for future generations between an indoor swimming pool and boundless backyard in the heart of Saxon Woods.

The Douglas fir slats cover the facade and are repeated throughout the rest of the house. Moser references the woods by a pair of steel beams on the front porch that allude to the silhouette of a tree.

When Moser first arrived on the site, the original home had almost no good views of the neighboring Saxon Woods. The solution was to build expansive Low-E windows to enjoy views of the woods.

The atrium features a custom stainless steel railing designed by Moser and manufactured by the homeowners’ son-in-law, who owns a local fabrication shop. The self-supporting steel rod system and Sonneman Bubbles Light pendant light nicely contrast with the surrounding woodwork.

The second floor den, outfitted for the homeowners’ 12 grandchildren, serves as a versatile and cozy gathering place for the entire family.

One of the biggest challenges of designing around an indoor pool was managing the humidity, especially with a sloping Douglas fir ceiling. Moser explains that by using a retractable pool cover it helps manage humidity levels. While in the winter there is low humidity, a little actually prevents the wood from drying out.

The homeowners are avid collectors of Haitian art and exhibit some of their collection within the Douglas fir slats. A Crate & Barrel Axis sofa pairs well with vintage pieces including a farmhouse table, chairs, and rugs.

From the northeast corner of the master bedroom, the homeowners can walk out onto a deck area to enjoy the view of the woods.



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