On 120 pristine acres in the Hudson Valley, founder and principal at New York City–based Amalgam Studio Ben Albury has crafted a pastoral home for a young family. Referencing the owner’s childhood memories of romping around his grandfather’s rural estate, Albury has designed a 5,000-square-foot, three-level residence and an adjacent, 1,600-square-foot carriage house befitting the peaceful, mountaintop environment.
"The area is about 90-percent wooded, so there’s an agricultural feel, a sense of wildness," says Albury. "We wanted to do something contextual that was true to the landscape."
Vintage barns, a common sight throughout the region, were a particular source of inspiration for Albury, yet "we didn’t go too rustic. The house has an exposed nature, but in a more contemporary way."
This is first apparent from the linear structure’s facade, its exterior walls rainscreen-cladded with Norwegian Kebony modified wood that meets Passive House standards. Tilting sunshades on windows conveniently double as hurricane shutters as well.
Albury embraced the material even further, attaching the cladding to the standing seams of the gabled roof sheathing via a complex system of stainless-steel clips. Based on a matrix that considered the values of durability, sustainability, cost, and construction, he determined that the water-impervious Kebony was ideal for the roof, too—even amid heavy New York snowfalls.
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Visual appeal was also paramount, and using the hardwood throughout the building envelope yields a striking, monolithic appearance. "I was looking quite a bit at Northern Europe in terms of a Scandinavian aesthetic for the house, and I realized that if they can pull off Kebony in Norway, we can do it in New York," says Albury.
Inside the four-bedroom home, complete with a star-gazing loft, are more energy-efficient elements, including a multi-heat pump system and two 16-foot-long, triple-glazed skylights. Large doors in the living room open onto Kebony decking and the pool for a "courtyard feel," points out Albury.
Timber beams, walnut cabinetry, hickory vanities, and locally sourced granite and slate add warmth to the interiors. Like the roof, which was purposely left unsealed so that it can acquire an attractive, well-worn, gray patina, "the white oak floors were designed to wear away over time. There’s no painting, no staining," says Albury. "We want this home to pass through multiple generations, keeping the character of an old farmhouse."
Related Reading: 20 Modern American Farmhouses That Update Tradition
Architect of Record and Structural Engineer: Ross Dalland P.E.
Builder/General Contractor: Black Oak Builders
Civil Engineer: Weston & Sampson
Landscape Design: Jamie Purinton
Cabinetry Design/Installation: Rowan Woodwork
HVAC: Baukraft Engineering
Envelope Specialist: 475 High Performance Building Supply
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