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Shaker Heights Mansion In New York

“When architecture is created to the current regulation the environment, it is created to the current inhabitants and it is subject to the current management. The new residents want a modern design, but the former inhabitants want a traditional aesthetic, nostalgia for an old time. We were asked if we could make a design from the site and the existing conditions. We couldn’t resist. We wanted a historic feel to the new residence.” – Christopher Owen Roberts, Principal of Arlington Heights-Manhattan. The existing 28 story, single-family residence displayed prominently on the site comprised of deep snow fields and dense foliage. Despite the imposing nature of its outer form, the project had to accommodate a young family of five and for this reason the house had to be designed with a functional flexibility and flexibility that could accommodate a variety of families equally well. The 4800sf house was planned for incorporation of a new ground floor structure containing a large included garage and an additional guest room with bath equipped only with stove and air conditioning. A single-sided fireplace separates the “public” from the “private” spaces. The excellent solar orientation of the new building also played a major part in the shaping of the interior. Guest bedrooms, family room, living and dinning rooms are all connected to decks and patios to take in the expansive views of the Hudson River and Suez Canal. All spaces have decks on opposing floors and each have direct access to the waterscape beyond. RESIDENCE D meets ROOT with guest rooms, family spaces and garages. The lower floor includes living and dinning rooms, two full baths and two half baths, master bedroom with en suite bath and balcony, four family bedrooms, four guest bedrooms with their own private garages and convenient parking for two cars. The upper floor is designed for guest bedrooms, family spaces and a second floor terrace with family room and master bedroom.

The main living spaces have been designed with maximum natural light and maximum access to the wooded grounds. A hanging fireplace built into the wall has a traditional country fire to burn down endless crevices of shadows. The interiors reflect the bluestone floors and well-preserved original historic beams in the gabled ceilings. Visible through the glass, high ceilings and large windows, underscore the old but smart modernian aesthetic.

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The master bedroom is a unique design triumph, with original vaulted ceilings to ceiling and steel beam ceilings at floor level, matching those of the original old barn in the fields. “We are actuated by the changing light,” admit Susan Knof, Design Director, and William Morgan, Managing Partner, Emeritus Trustees of Emeritus Trustees, in a poetic premiership phrase.

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The existing hipped roof is held harmless, as it was built during the reign of Edward III’s king, with the familiar gables preserved and used as window posts. In the new, it is arranged into 23 cuboids, or new versions of the landmarked original, all of which face outward towards the south and east. Apart from the obvious additional spaces, the varying room sizes also allow for the creation of a new dining room, set under an extra-large skylight.
The trustees have carefully selected all the furnishings and personal objects, down to the smallest detail, with great care to avoid excess and extravagance. Upon completion, the trustees reported that the new house is more brightly and happier, more open and airy, with a much improved internal climate, and that it is probably going to remain at this site for many generations.”

Photos by: Charles Hosea

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