On a secluded plot of land in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, Brooklyn's Lubrano Ciavarra Architects crafts a modern weekend house designed to frame its landscape. Residents Paul and Sophie wanted to build something that would fit in with its surroundings and allow them to enjoy the nature preserve located adjacent to their three-and-a-half-acre lot. "It's Spartan but warm. It has a modern sensitivity that's practical," says Paul of his new house.
Paul and Sophie wanted to look out and over the preserve, so architect Lea Ciavarra inverted the typical arrangement of floors. She placed the kitchen and living room—where the family spends a lot of its time—on the second story and placed guest rooms on the ground floor. "It's nice to be at leaf height," she says. The residents built the new house on the exact same footprint as the 1960s ranch house that came with the lot.
Ciavarra deployed a restrained materials palette on the exterior, which was inspired by the landscape. "Since the site is wooded and wild, we used natural materials like cedar and slate instead of synthetic siding," she says. The architect treated the facade like a piece of millwork and spent nearly six months working with the contractor to come up with the pattern of the shiplapped boards.
Ciavarra used the same restrained materials palette inside. "It allows the furniture and artwork to pop," she says. Chairs by Janus et Cie surround the dining table.
"As we live now, everything revolves around the kitchen and the living room," says Paul. "We thought, if you're going to create the space, do it with a better perspective. It feels like we're floating 15 feet over the preserve." The family frequently entertains and welcomes guests for holidays and special occasions. "It's a gorgeous kitchen, especially witth all the glass and the expansive windows. It has a great easy feel and we plan on this being the hub of our family and extended family for years to come," says Sophie.
The residents worked with interior designer Sasha Nostrand to selecte furniture. The sofa is from Design Within Reach and the rug is from Landry and Acari.
In the stairwell, Ciavarra opted for floor-to-ceiling glass walls to showcase the outdoors. "As you move up and down the stairs you have a view in all directions. As you move off that axis into the rooms, the view is carefully framed," she says.
Bright paint was reserved for the bathrooms. Ciavarra used floor-to-ceiling glass for the mater bedroom, which leads onto a deck. "We wanted a place that just drew us up like a magnet," says Sophie about creating her dream home. "The house's design, comfort, and style certainly achieves that."
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