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November 2006


FEATURES

The Simple Life
By Sharon King Hoge
Photography by John Gruen

ALAN SHAYNE AND NORMAN SUNSHINE CREATE PEACE AND PLENTY IN A NEWLY BUILT GUESTHOUSE INFUSED WITH COLONIAL SPIRIT

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Sitting by the fireside, reading by candlelight and snuggling under quilted coverlets are all activities reminiscent of Colonial times. But Alan Shayne and Norman Sunshine enjoy those pleasures today. When the couple decided to build a guesthouse for their principal residence, a rambling structure made from several old barns that sits on more than 100 acres in Litchfield County, they turned to the past, and the Internet, to create something for the present. A snug little cottage filled with antiques and authentic 18th-century reproductions is the charming result.

Sensing that a contemporary house wouldn't feel right on the property, they searched online and discovered Connor Building Company, a Middlebury, Vt., firm specializing in reproduction Capes. Fantasizing that this might have been the farmhouse the barns were built for, the pair selected a basic classic: two rooms over two with a central chimney and a staircase.

"This was the standard house for newlyweds, almost the tract house of the times," Alan explains. But that blueprint was just the beginning of a series of clever adjustments required to make the cottage meet the owners' preferences. It is something they know how to do well. Alan, an independent film producer, and Norman, an artist, have created much-admired homes in Bucks County, Penn., Malibu, Beverly Hills and New Milford.

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