Bronxville, New York
Located in a historic neighborhood of country homes just north of New York City, the Bronxville Residence is gracefully situated on a hillside of granite and old-growth oaks. The original interior – cramped and dark – no longer fulfilled a young family's needs. Composed of an overabundance of small, segmented rooms, the home’s layout needed significant reorganization to increase natural light and improve circulation. The existing layout also placed support spaces such as a laundry room, a storage room, a closet, and a tiny sunroom on the south perimeter of the building, while leaving the kitchen and living room in the dark. Through the re-organization of the plan and the removal of excessive partitioning – as well as the reconfiguration, enlargement, and addition of various openings – the home is completely transformed on the inside. Careful alignment of these openings along a few key axes maximizes their impact and provides sunlight and airflow from multiple, interconnected sources. This also provides many additional sight lines and access points to the surrounding landscape, allowing the home’s interior to connect with its picturesque surroundings. While the interior transformation is expansive, the home’s exterior was mostly unchanged, respectfully preserving its 1920’s roots.
The interior modifications also maximize space and utility. The removal of the front entry ceiling results in a double-height foyer, utilizing previously wasted space on the second floor and creating an airy entrance. Removing the living room’s fireplace and surrounding wall allows sunlight – previously contained in the small sun room beyond – to spill into the new living space. The living room’s low ceiling is lifted, exposing the structural Douglas Fir beams and creating a comfortable, inviting space. Walls of books line the thresholds along the central axis, calmly serving as sentries to the living spaces beyond. What used to be a subdivided kitchen and laundry is now an expansive cooking and eating space that overlooks a new outdoor deck, which extends the living space into the landscape. The vertical circulation in the home was devoid of any natural light, so the space’s reconfiguration allowed for the main stair landing to shift toward an existing bay window. Now, the experience of moving through the house connects the family to the landscape and makes it an enjoyable and contemplative part of their daily lives.
The renovated interior materials include exposed joist ceilings, wide plank wall paneling, beech floors and plaster – a contemporary nod to the home's past. No longer a collection of dark, enclosed spaces, the Bronxville Residence now boasts more than ample room for the free flow of natural light, air, and the family living inside.