New England Residence

An old mansion on an island. The victim of countless, thoughtless remodels and additions. The question was how to honor its history and open it up so the family could visually connect to the place, yet still have it feel like shelter from the sometimes harsh and violent weather.

The foundation of the building was the granite bedrock of the island. Granite rubble walls were laid on the bedrock to support a more ‘refined’ mansion. We elected to reveal this sequence in the new design. The bedrock was exposed throughout the lower levels, and was carved in some places to show its geologic uplift. The rubble walls were revealed as a finished surface.

The ‘refined’ stone walls on the upper levels were reshaped and restored. A great folding wall of glass and bronze was inserted into the south wall of the 1500 square foot public room. Because of this room’s scale (for parties), the spans had to be large; so steel was substituted for wood to support the massive sheltering roof. The folding wall, when opened, creates a seamless flow of circulation from the public room, to a terrace, and then on to the garden.