Text by Annie Price
The 4-bedroom, 7000 square foot, Holley House, with a master bedroom wing, was sensitively designed by Hanrahan Meyers Architects to sit harmoniously within a thirty-acre wooded site (with no other buildings in the vicinity), near Garrison, New York.
There was an existing concrete foundation pad where a house had been planned sometime in the past but never built, so the architects cleverly sited the new build to maximize re-use of that existing concrete foundation and minimize disturbance of surrounding plant species.
The existing gravel drive was also retained, and a new gravel bed installed.
Sensitivity to the incredible surroundings was paramount at every stage of the build, with only one tree needing to be removed and all other trees maintained during the construction process, with full site protection barriers installed to minimize site erosion and damage. A remarkable feat.
The house developed from two parallel walls that organize the design into three pavilions – an east pavilion (the master bedroom suite); a central pavilion (the entry and guest bedroom wing); and the west pavilion (the public areas). The two walls are built from stone quarried on the site and from a nearby quarry.
The house is experienced as indoor and outdoor spaces organized around and through the two walls. Two open pavilions on either side of the walls connect interior space to outdoor landscaped areas.
The spatial sequence east to west runs from wooded area east of the master bedroom pavilion to a pond below, passing through the north-south walls that separate the three pavilions.
The north to south sequence from the driveway to the pool passes through the central pavilion, suspended between the stone walls. And the sequences intersect in the formal entry area.
The Holley House includes an impressively long list of green features. The cladding was sustainably harvested cedar, and the stone is either from a local quarry or harvested directly from the site. The gypsum wallboard is recycled and the structure is made from recycled wood beams and recycled steel.
Both paint and floor finishes are low VOC finishes from Benjamin Moore, counters are recycled stone and all lighting is high-efficiency fluorescent. Organic cotton, wool and silk blends were used for the interior soft furnishings and carpets.
The landscaping is low-scape, with all plantings from a local grower using native, New York State species and watering is through a rain-water cistern collecting roof and pavement water run-off.
Gardening is done without the use of any pesticides or chemicals. And a five-foot deep roof overhang, to provide solar protection. Skylights increase the natural light and minimize additional light sources for daytime lighting.
The home was ungraded with new plumbing, a new furnace, R38 rigid insulation on top of the roof decking, new 3⁄4-inch glass, T-fill siding, electrical panels, a new furnace, new underground power lines.
All new lighting, including the basic and the beautiful such as Artemide, was installed. Extensive site work improved the drainage system and the overall look of the hillside lot.
This is a poster child home for sustainable green living without compromising on style. A quiet restful retreat, built for owners needing an escape from the hustle and bustle of their New York City loft.
Photos by Michael Moran and Paul Warchol