A professional musician and professor wanted an addition and renovation to her dark, rambling bungalow on the Connecticut shoreline. She desired a home that was full of natural light and open to the landscape. She also requested that her Japanese heritage and her love for the violin be incorporated throughout along with local building techniques and resources.
The design blends the character of Japanese farm buildings with rural architecture of southern Connecticut. In an effort to restrain the budget, the original roof was left intact. The architect added an entry porch and flower wall, defining the entrance to the house. To contribute to a sense of lightness and transparency, views are provided from the new entry through the house to a large window wall that overlooks the backyard. The use of wood beams and columns, which extend across the living room to the outside, creates a further visual connection to the landscape.
The character of the post-and-beam detailing recalls local barns, nearby Stick-style houses, and traditional Japanese construction. Interior doors have wood and rice-paper panels set in standard American pocket doorframes. The curves of the kitchen cabinets echo those of a violin, as do the fabric ceiling panels in the living room. Interior wood is joined with bronze pegs resembling violin keys, while the front screen door mullions represent a music staff with bronze notes.
More recently, a treetop tower studio was added to the main house.
Photography © Jeff Goldberg/Esto, Woodruff Brown