Nature has generously provided incredible views from this piece of land on Holly Pond in Fairfield County, Connecticut. The property hugs a small inlet of The Long Island Sound with astounding water views to the east, west and north. We were determined to make those vistas accessible from every room in the house…
Like most of the homes we design, Waterside’s architecture is driven by the property it sits on. Everything we do is site-specific from a design perspective. There is no formula for how we approach a project. Every home is an individual, stand-alone concept.
We designed the Waterside house to leverage all the natural sunlight that comes with waterfront property and today, the owners tell us they rarely need to turn on artificial lighting during the day because of the home’s well-planned orientation to the sun.
While the architecture is all about the sun and the water views, the true inspiration for the home was actually an old, 96-inch European beech tree. The house and landscaping were designed around this tree and we put much effort into maintaining and improving its health during the building phase. The home itself is an 18th-century colonial, a style commonly found in this area. We felt it was important to copy that historical aesthetic and saw the house as a legacy project. They wanted to make everything, not just the tree, feel like it’s been here for a long time.
A common gravel driveway invites visitors to a parking area in the front of the house adjacent to the Beach Tree. We wanted to provide a laid-back, waterside experience as guests pull up to the parking area, which is separate from the family entrance. Driving slowly over gravel sounds like coming home and this area was meant to feel casual and inviting even though the house is formal inside. A secondary approach, the family’s parking court, goes past the front door via a large stone path and on down to the garage.
Inside, as we said earlier, feels formal. The living area/study has understated trim work and 10-foot ceilings but it is the dining room that has the best view of the European beech tree that the house was designed around. Magically, as you dine while the sun goes down, the landscape lighting will slowly come up. Seated at the dining table, guests can see the soft lighting change the colors of the perennial garden flowers, over 2,500 of them, that surround the stately beech tree.
The heart of the home is an open, multi-functional, multi stationed kitchen with panoramic views of Holly Pond. The cooking island is a mixture of wood and stone and sports a range with a stone-wrapped hood mixed with glass tile. Even the miter-cut, stone breakfast table has panoramic views and is mimicked by the floating, antique, white oak shelves. Modernized cabinetry lit with a Scandinavian-flair lighting system, makes the whole space feel open, fresh and clean.
The northern exposure of the family room and kitchen have a soft quality of light with none of the harsher glare that shines in with southern or western exposure. You’d rarely want to pull the shades in these rooms.
The master bedroom suite is designed to provide a Relais & Châteaux experience and this luxurious space feels like a hotel suite. The large, back wall over the bed is covered with Phillip Jeffries wallpaper. The room has multiple water views through two facades, and a large outdoor private deck overlooking the backyard, pool, gardens and pond. The ceiling coffers are meant to mimic beach house framing.
In the master bath, the expansive vanity, soaking tub and large, oversized, multi-head steam shower with water views help ease away the day’s stress. And if this is not enough, heated porcelain floors with a cloth-like texture warm your feet and feels like you’re walking on freshly-laundered linen.
Back outside, a covered dining porch on the terrace-level features an infinity-edge pool that blends visually with the pond. The pond itself wraps around to a dam and tide changes several times a day invite residents to walk out to Long Island Sound. The outdoor seating area, an outdoor shower and a nicely equipped, outdoor summer kitchen make staying put a pleasure as well.
We are proud that the Waterside is a recognized recipient of 3 HOBI Awards (presented by the CT Home Builders Association annually) for:
- Outstanding Spec Home Over $7 Million
- Best Amenities for landscaping and dock
- Project of the Year for in Connecticut