Levels of Influence

Please click on image for further details.

Please click on image for further details.

Nick Churton of Mayfair International Realty visits a New York home with pedigree of design, beauty of landscape and harmony of living.

Broker: Houlihan Lawrence

Agent: Angela Kessel

Okay, here is a treat – architecture, interior, landscape and location all in harmony. Sounds easy but it isn’t. There is not much one can do about location but the other three can be a minefield. At Fern Hill the 15-acre, hilltop estate near Bedford in New York architect, decorator and landscape designer have not only come through the minefield unscathed but have triumphed.

Using a magnificent, heavily wooded and boulder-studded hillside the architects, Shope, Reno and Wharton built a vey fine stone and shingle house and, using the contours of the plot, created a home that looks as if it really belongs there. The award winning architectural practice, based in South Norwalk, Connecticut, specialises in buildings with a timeless quality, and how it shows!

The Shingle style was made popular by the rise of the New England school of architecture during the late nineteenth century. Indeed Frank Lloyd Wright, the father of American modernism, designed his own house in this style. Signs of Lloyd Wright’s influence, whether by accident or design can, be seen in Fern Hill – in its placement within the landscape and in the wonderful architectural detail including the fabulous stair and landing balustrades.

The house has recently been brought fully up to date with a beautifully contemporary but entirely-in-keeping interior. So the house works as piece inside and out. But how does it work with the landscape? I can’t remember seeing better woodland planting. Shade-loving plants create a verdant carpet that stretches from the house and up to the curtain of trees which acts as the garden boundary. So clever is this planting that one can hardly tell where the cultivated garden ends and nature’s wild garden begins. It is all very special and extremely beautiful.

I should also mention touches like the fieldstone floor-to-ceiling fireplaces, the three-bay motorcar house with gym and sauna over, and the fabulous pool and pool house on another garden level.

It is all extremely harmonious and lovely on lots of levels.

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