Walls of Windows Connect a Home With Earth and Sky

Walls of Windows Connect a Home With Earth and Sky

This home connects to nature with a design that appears to both hover over the landscape and rise up toward the sky.
Text by

Just outside of New York City in Rumson, New Jersey, this cedar-clad, 4,000-square-foot home reads as a single story when viewed from the street. As you approach the front entrance, however, surprising design features begin to reveal themselves––including a second ground level and a striking glass-encased stair tower. Yet, not until viewed from the rear does the home’s more geometric and angular composition become clearer, as well as its use of expansive windows and doors that connect the house with the landscape.

"One of the things I wanted out of a home was an organic feel. I wanted it to be modern, but I also wanted it to be in harmony with the outdoors," comments Kerry Ancheta, the homeowner. To accomplish this request, the team at Narofsky Architecture thoughtfully considered solutions that worked with the lot’s naturally sloping topography. 

At first glance, the structure appears to be a single-story home. The surrounding trees create additional privacy as the yard begins to slope toward the rear. 

One key decision was to place the home’s main living spaces on the lower level, allowing for a robust relationship with the outdoors. To further enhance the indoor-outdoor flow, the team also utilized multiple solutions offered by the VistaLuxe® Collection from Kolbe Windows & Doors

From the rear, the home’s layout as a two-story structure becomes clearer, as does its aggressive use of angular dimensions and expansive walls of glass. 

"We were trying to get some sort of verticality, so that it appears the house doesn’t just hover into the ground, but also rises up to the sky," says Stuart Narofsky, FAIA and principal architect.

Stretched across a long, open floor plan, the ground level encompasses the kitchen, living, and dining rooms, as well as a guest bedroom. All of the spaces feel enveloped by nature, with floor-to-ceiling windows or doors generously placed along almost every exterior wall. 

"One of the advantages of using the VistaLuxe Collection was the ability to accommodate maximum heights and widths, such as placing doors across the entire length of the kitchen and family rooms," comments Stuart Narofsky, FAIA and principal architect. 

The lower level is lined with walls of glass, including clerestory windows that distribute light throughout the residence. 

Ten-foot windows frame views of a Zen garden built along the exterior of the home. 

"One of the unusual aspects of this home is that there is no bedroom wing," adds Narofsky. Whether for family or guests, all of the sleeping quarters are arranged in separate areas, yet each are easily connected by the home’s open layout. 

Extending across the center of the home, a catwalk connects the master bedroom to additional rooms on the opposite end. Cantilevering over the backyard, a cube perched on the top level contains a second guest bedroom. Unifying all of the spaces is a glass-enclosed floating pine staircase that creates a light-filled passageway throughout the home. 

The master bedroom and a lofted child’s room are situated on opposite ends of the home, linked together by a catwalk that overlooks the main lower living areas. 

"The stair tower travels vertically above the Zen garden, allowing people on the inside to look down into this beautiful space," describes Ancheta.

When selecting windows and doors for the home, the team was most interested in maximizing sight lines and complementing the home’s comfortable, modern aesthetic. "The VistaLuxe Collection offered us a clean, minimalist design, so that when looking from the inside, it’s a seamless look through the glass, almost so much that you don’t even realize there is a frame," comments Narofsky.

A corner window unit in the living room offers a full view of the swimming pool, with narrow sight lines and a slim corner post. Additional windows wrap around both sides of the room.

Developed collaboratively with architects, Kolbe’s VistaLuxe Collection includes a wide selection of windows and doors, with low-maintenance extruded aluminum exteriors and warm wood interiors. This collection of windows and doors complements modern floor plans and provides the opportunity to create large expanses of glass with multiple units. For more information, please visit the Kolbe website


Last Updated


Get the Pro Newsletter

What’s new in the design world? Stay up to date with our essential dispatches for design professionals.