A Kebony Wood-Clad Retreat in the Hudson Valley Pays Homage to Local Farmhouses
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A Kebony Wood-Clad Retreat in the Hudson Valley Pays Homage to Local Farmhouses

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By Alia Akkam
Silvernails by Amalgam Studio, comprising a main residence and carriage house, stays true to its agricultural surroundings.

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. 

Although there are numerous Kebony roofs found in Europe and Asia Pacific, a university building in Kansas is the only other prominent North American example discovered by the structural engineer.

Although there are numerous Kebony roofs found in Europe and Asia Pacific, a university building in Kansas is the only other prominent North American example discovered by the structural engineer.

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Creeks and pastures dot the home's tranquil Hudson Valley surroundings.

Creeks and pastures dot the home's tranquil Hudson Valley surroundings.

"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."

Amalgam Studio spent around 18 months building this residence, which merges the indoors and outdoors.

Amalgam Studio spent around 18 months building this residence, which merges the indoors and outdoors.

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."

Natural light pours through the timber-framed loft.

Natural light pours through the timber-framed loft.

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.

Timber beams lend the house a rustic-modern feel.

Timber beams lend the house a rustic-modern feel.

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. 

One half of the ground level comprises a fluid den, living room, dining area, and kitchen.

One half of the ground level comprises a fluid den, living room, dining area, and kitchen.

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White oak flooring, a hallmark of the home, remains intentionally pure and unvarnished.

White oak flooring, a hallmark of the home, remains intentionally pure and unvarnished.

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.

There is a direct connection to nature in the ground-level master suite.

There is a direct connection to nature in the ground-level master suite.

The master bath, featuring a freestanding bathtub and stellar views.

The master bath, featuring a freestanding bathtub and stellar views.

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. 

Along with a three-car garage, a chill-out loft space for hot yoga and musical jam sessions is a perk of the carriage house.

Along with a three-car garage, a chill-out loft space for hot yoga and musical jam sessions is a perk of the carriage house.

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."

The ground-level floor plan of Silvernails

The ground-level floor plan of Silvernails

The floor plan for the Silvernails loft

The floor plan for the Silvernails loft

Related Reading: 20 Modern American Farmhouses That Update Tradition

Project Credits:

Building, Interior, and Lighting Design: Amalgam Studio / @amalgam_studio

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