Architectural Digest - July 2010

Dances with History by Steven M. L. Aronson

“When the couple purchased a historic estate in the Hudson Valley, they did so with every intention of restoring, renovating and expanding the original 1908 house. But then came the opportunity to acquire the rest of the hill it was on, including a plateau at the crest that afforded panoramic meadow, mountain and river views. Their architect, Ralph R. Mackin, Jr., was quick to suggest that they leave the house as is (that is, as was), use it as guest quarters and build themselves a sister house (a big sister house, as it turned out —twice the size of the original’s 4,500 square feet).

Up went a symmetrical cedar-shingle-and-fieldstone structure (the stone came from old walls on the property), with 11-foot ceilings, a wealth of period detail and a classic deep wraparound porch. “Porches are important —they provide a transition point, and give human scale, to the great outdoors,” the architect holds. Artfully, without making the building too linear, he created view lines throughout, with the river foremost in mind. Altogether the house sits beautifully on its site and does full justice to the majestic property it crowns.”

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“We were constantly balancing the 1908 architectural-historical perspective with the more informal way people like to live now.” - Ralph Mackin

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