2009 INNOVATION IN DESIGN AWARDS
A SIMPLE HOUSE WITH A COMPLEX INNER LIFE, A RUSTIC RETREAT WITH THE LOOK OF A SMALL VILLAGE, AND A COUNTRY HOME FOR A FAMILY AND THEIR HORSES ALL DEMONSTRATE THE INGENUITY OF CONNECTICUT'S ARCHITECTS
Architecture Category – Winner
BRUCE BEINFIELD – Beinfield Architecture
When architect Bruce Beinfield of Beinfield Architecture was asked to design "a house in a garden" for a family in Darien, he created a home with the New England sensibility of simplicity and timelessness. But there's a lot more going on than meets the eye. Paying careful attention to details such as the cedar roof, traditional siding and brick chimney, Beinfield made the house and barn appear as if they have always been here. What the public doesn't see is a much larger part of the house from the rear façade, with expansive walls of glass that open onto the garden and pool. The family can enjoy the beauty of the landscape with a private outdoor retreat that includes a rustic pergola, flagstone terrace and massive outdoor fireplace.
The distinctly modern interior features exposed steel support columns in the mostly glass-walled living room. Interior designer Yvonne Ferris of Yvonne Ferris Interiors chose a neutral palette, complementing the home's clean lines, reclaimed barnwood floors and stone and concrete elements. Says Beinfield, "This home explores the common ground between the stark, simple patterned forms of early New England architecture and the ordered abstraction of modernism. The intention is to express a subtle dream-like, yet familiar, quality."
Architecture Category – Innovator
PAULO VICENTE – Vicente-Burin Architects
The request for a rustic retreat inspired architect Paulo Vicente of Vicente-Burin Architects to create a home that appears more like a small village than a single dwelling. The complex is made of five main buildings, including a detached barn and guest wing, built on two of the property's 80 acres, which include wetlands and mixed woods. The design of these buildings takes its cues from traditional agrarian, cottage and Shaker styles, and materials were left simple, raw and unfinished whenever possible. Native quarried stone was used on the exterior and reclaimed hemlock throughout the interior. Trees that had to be removed during construction were milled for the home's flooring. The result is a home with visual diversity that allows the owners to entertain guests in the serenity of the countryside.
Architecture Category – Innovator
MARK FINLAY – Mark P. Finlay Architects
A home for both humans and horses in Fairfield: this was the assignment for Mark Finlay of Mark P. Finlay Architects. An already existing building on the seven-acre property had to be torn down to accommodate the 7,500-square-foot home, 3,500-square-foot barn and two fenced-in paddocks. Wood ceiling beams and moldings, a large stone fireplace and antique-oak hardwood floors throughout the first floor create a warm, country-style character, while a wall of windows and French doors in the living room and kitchen brighten the open floor plan. The master bedroom and boys' suite occupy the second floor, while the girls enjoy their own suite on the third floor. Each children's suite has a shared bath with dual sinks and its own lounge area. The home's balconies and wrap-around porch, complete with fireplace, allow the family to keep an eye on their four horses, as well as action at the fifth hole of a private golf course.