Upside Down House

This 1,760-square foot home in at the foothills of the Berkshire mountains was a renovation of a "Hideous Ranch" home purchased as a “fixer-upper”. Only the foundation was retained of the original structure located on Overlook Road in Hillsdale, New York. It's single redeeming characteristic being the home’s orientation, which is nicely related to a view. True to its sub-urban typology the house had a full "walk-out basement" with living spaces on this lower level and several bedrooms on the upper one. We turned the home upside down with the entry and all the bedrooms on the lower level and with the open living loft above. This organization allowed direct access to the uphill terrace pool area and a command of the view from the living spaces. The Owners hoped to build a structure that was at once modern and that fit naturally into the upstate farmland context. We turned to the Pennsylvania Sweitzer (Swiss) black barns for inspiration. This barn making tradition was imported to the US in 18oos and was characterized by a lower level that housed livestock and a hay storage with uphill access. The classic 45-degree roof angle was our addition. The steep pitch gives the home a modern child-like character and provided a gracious vaulted space on the interior. The home’s abstractness is reinforced by the deep black color selected for the cypress siding and the corrugated metal roofing.