An Ivy League firm, Specht Harpman Architects, has been around for the better part of twenty years. The founding designers, Scott Specht and Louise Harpman, were classmates at Yale School of Architecture. It was this collaboration that birthed the contemporary white design of the New Canaan Residence in 2010. From the straight lines of cubist form, this house is East Coast set amidst a Connecticut forest.
The entrance ascends to an elevated lawn that includes refined geometric accents, staying true to the minimalist design of the home. According to the architects, this home was designed to provide the feeling of a floating pavilion in the center of a wooded area.
Walking through the outdoor landscape, it is easy to see the lines of the mid-century bones underneath this contemporary modern build. Many of the 1950s home designs featured the boxy ranch house build that sacrificed width for breadth; however, in updating the layout on this residence, the design team was able to maximize the potential of the structure while keeping its u-shaped form. Upon approach, guests are greeted with a well-manicured exterior, and floor-to-ceiling exposures offering a peek into their host’s abode.
The backyard is home to a refreshing in-ground pool and separate cabana area with a fully functional plumbing system for the sink. Made for large gatherings, there is plenty of poolside seating to go around and an outside bar for liquid refreshments. The alternating mosaic tiles at the bottom of the water feature give off a sea green hue complimenting the surrounding greenery.
The alfresco space at the side of the house provides for outdoor seating as well. With a central hearth, the party can go from a summer bash to a cozy campfire gathering in minutes. The versatility of this space will allow for an assortment of engagements no matter the season.
The coolest feature of this home is the swivel glass entry door. The huge glass pane amplifies the ability to receive natural lighting into the home, and makes for a grand statement of elegance.
The interior space is just as dramatic and exciting as the exterior areas. The marketing executives that the home was redesigned for felt it imperative to have the flexibility for social gatherings and in response the design team created communal areas throughout the property. Keeping to the minimalist appeal, the complementary color scheme all through the house provides for a chic and trendy stage. Behind the center fireplace, is a stairwell to access the bottom floor of the home.
On the wall, the large canvas piece speaks to the blending of the manmade design and its natural surroundings. The neutral tones with its hunter green accents work well with the ipe-wood used in the house.
For quiet small gatherings, guests are welcomed to use the sitting room with its rustic accents. The neutral gray tones play off the vibrancy of the outside nicely.
The guest bathroom with mirrored door continues the minimalist quality of the layout. Light grays and crisp whites enhance the purity of the décor. The absence of cabinetry provides a subliminal message of candidness and openness not so often found in the American aesthetic.
The glamour of lucid patterns and textures are intriguing when faced with a silver palette. The décor contributes to the idea of extravagance with its invigorating linens and faux fur throw pitted against the rectilinear pattern of the bedroom wall. A wall to wall single glass pane contributes to an unobstructed view of the surrounding trees.
For those moments alone, the owners can steal away on a narrow balcony that welcomes the clean forest air into their space. Perfect for meditation, yoga or observation, the wooden walkway completes the look.