Upstate living

QPK Design completes family retreat in upstate New York

The project is a new 3,500 sq ft private residence designed to fit the owner’s lifestyle and goals. Built on a maintenance-free, steep-sloping and densely vegetated site, with mature trees and periwinkle ground cover, the house replaces a former residence built on top of a heavily reinforced retaining wall, which was reused to minimise site disturbance.

Integration of site and house was achieved by creating a transparent multiuse, integrated social and living space, which is open to the privacy of the forested site, allowing views through from the interior and exterior in multiple directions. The client wanted open spaces to accommodate an informal social life, with the cooking area as the focal space enjoying maximum views to the exterior. The kitchen is configured with low walls overlooking the fireplace, dining, studio, entrance, and outdoor terrace to facilitate social interaction while cooking.

The owners wanted a house they could age in, so the design incorporates future accessibility, including an elevator, roll-in shower in the master bathroom, and laundry and pantry located on the main level. Also, the exterior materials consist of commercial grade maintenance-free UV resistant wood veneer and weathered zinc cladding rain-screen system. The materials were chosen for their relationship to the site as well as their durability.

The exposed wood on the interior provides a connection with the trees surrounding the house, and the stone on the exterior reflects the stony creek bed running through the site. Also the concrete wall extending up through the centre of the house is a continuation of a pre-existing retaining wall, providing a connection to, and re-use of, the previous structure on the site; and creating a vertical connector, which gives character to the two-storey foyer and stair, drawing visitors from the lower level entrance to the upper level.

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