Home And Garden

Country Homes Design Ideas

Leave it to two of our favorite designers to create a house that inspires traditionalists and modernists alike. When architect Peter Pennoyer and interior decorator Katie Ridder decided to move to Millbrook, New York, and build a country house their family could create lasting memories in, they demolished an existing 1950s ranch residence in the Hudson Valley and erected a stately Greek Revival home full of quirky character and classic structural detail. Thankfully, the creative husband-and-wife duo documented their journey in (The Vendome Press, $55), which chronicles the process and intentions behind every aesthetic and logistical choice in the home and its adjacent garden. Juxtaposing the penchant for color and pattern that Ridder has become known for with Pennoyer’s geometric precision, the book’s pages serve as a guide for anyone looking to infuse their country interiors with a stylish dose of modernity. Here, they share insight into some of the decisions they made and offer tips for achieving a balanced home that blends nods to the past with functional solutions for contemporary life.

Photo: Eric Piasecki

1. Consider your surroundings. “Our design was driven by our response to the land. Knowing that we wanted to enjoy the surrounding countryside, we decided to make a house with four related façades, each one tailored to its view. The south rooms front on the flower garden; to the east, facing the neighbor’s lake, we placed a deep porch for sitting and dining; to the west we made the more formal entrance with views of our woodland and pond; and to the north the living room and library have glimpses of pastures and distant hills.”

2. Know your history. “Greek Revival is a style that both appeals to us and is part of the history of the Hudson Valley. This was a beginning point, as it was layered with so many other influences from architecture we love. We incorporated details and proportions that speak to the history of special houses in the Hudson River Valley and used traditional materials and elements like clapboard and double-hung, weight-and-chain–balanced windows to tie the house to the history of the place.”

3. But layer in contemporary touches. “We have a double-height opening in the main hall with a skylight above. This brings sunlight into the middle of the house all day and makes a strong and fluid connection between the bedroom hall above and the entrance to the house.”

4. Incorporate varying styles. “The architecture was inspired by many houses we admire designed by the likes of Latrobe, Jefferson, Soane, Staub, and Delano & Aldrich. But more important, the architecture is a continuing exploration of design ideas that have grown in my own practice over the years. In this sense, the influences aren’t easily traced. For the interiors, Katie was looking to a wide variety of sources, from Mongardino to Schinkel at Potsdam, to Josef Frank and many others. This was not to be a collection of distinct ideas about design as much as a reflection of blended and personal taste.”

5. But keep it coherent. “No matter how different influences, they have to be marshaled into a symphonic whole.”

6. Make it personal. “We think a house should be a portrait of the family. In our case, years of collecting in our travels means that every room has some personal objects. Our collections, while not important or particularly valuable, remind us of our different chapters in our lives. These personal touches are essential. We think a house should first and foremost be comfortable so each room should welcome its use.”

8. Maintain a sense of humor. “We commissioned an artist to sculpt a bas relief of our dachshund, Teddy, chasing a rabbit on the house’s façade. This added a note of whimsy facing the street and let visitors know that we don’t take ourselves too seriously.”

7. Create continuity with color. “Katie always incorporates a thread of color that ties the rooms together. The purple on the carpet runner ties to the purple in the front entry, the mulberry in the dining room, the purple chair in the living room, and the wall color in the library. These connections can be subtle, but they are key to creating continuity from room to room in an open plan.”

9. Use wall coverings strategically. “Wallpaper was really important to give the atmosphere in each room and added another layer to the feeling of the room. In the stair hall, the large, blocklike pattern of Katie’s own Scraffito wallpaper fits the soaring scale of the space. In the powder room, her Turtle Bay wallpaper adds whimsy and plays off the decorative mirror.”

10. Be realistic. “We have learned that it’s really important to ground the design process—which should be fueled by imagination—by defining the program and wish list from the beginning. We urge our clients to imagine not only what rooms they really want, but how they will use them.”


Source: www.architecturaldigest.com