Riley House I

Built for a small young family, this solar heated house is tall with a long gable roof, dormers, central chimney, and overall bilateral symmetry offset by asymmetrical parts. It makes allusions to colonial houses and indigenous New England cottages, but was conceived as vernacular with contemporary translation. The first floor, entered through a greenhouse, contained a large open space for dining, living and a kitchen, with three bedrooms on the second and third floors.

Location Connecticut
Size 1,300 Sq. Ft.
Year Completed 1976
Photo Credit Norman McGrath, Peter Mauss/Esto

By 1986, the family had grown, and a new, symmetrical wing added a formal entertainment retreat to the informal family house. A new master bedroom cantilevers over the living room. There was more comfort in the living spaces, such as baseboard heat under window seats, a fireplace for atmosphere, and elegant windows facing everywhere but south. The addition also provides places for repose, such as a sitting room corner nestled in the master bedroom.

A desire for more languorous living also brought on the need for methodical storage in the form of a pantry that created a bridge between the old kitchen and the new dining room. Additional counter space accommodates more cooks. The entry also provides a contrary sort of formality – no traditional hallway divides living and dining rooms, and guests enter the house asymmetrically, off axis, facing the living room fireplace.

PRESS & AWARDS

Awards

  • 25 Year Award, AIA New England
  • Award of Excellence, Architectural Record
  • Merit Award, AIA House and Home