A house in the forest
New York-based Desai Chia Architecture designs a contemporary three-bedroom home for a Manhattan couple seeking a retreat in the Connecticut Valley, USA. Inspired by local vernacular architecture, the house features horizontal lines, a large multi-purpose room and spectacular forest views.
Desai Chia Architecture designed a 223 square meter house that resonates with the history of the Connecticut Valley, includes an environmentally friendly material palette, and adapts to the challenging site on a rocky ledge. The residence replaces a cabin. The architects then reused its foundation and added to it to simplify the building’s footprint while amplifying the program. For its layout, they drew inspiration from the native barns and covered bridges of the region, with a nod to Asian influences. The exterior is clad in Shou Sugi Ban siding – a Japanese technique of charring a wood surface to a deep charcoal black – generating a resilient finish, while articulating the building’s simple yet iconic triangular shape. Floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding doors open it to the park and the Housatonic River. The home features a large central room, a loft-like open space connected to the outdoors by a terrace on the valley. The living room, dining room and kitchen form the core of a hallway through the house, positioned to take advantage of the panorama, ventilation breezes and a rock that has become a sturdy companion to the home. The great room connects to the master suite at one end, while two guest bedrooms and a bathroom are at the other. Inside, the finishes are light and airy, and the contemporary furnishings complement the architecture with a soothing palette of natural materials, colors and textures.