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Columbia country, NY

Mountain House

Amalgam Studio’s stunning light-filled new house for a single family is a modern take on the local, historic barns of the Hudson River Valley.

Architecture & design: Amalgam Studio

Columbia country, NY
Columbia country, NY

The recently completed 3 level, 4 bedroom house for a young family sits atop a mountainside on 120 acres, near the quaint village of Rhinebeck in upstate New York, and is designed to adapt over time from a weekender to a full-time residence.

Inspired by the rural setting, a long linear barn-like main house and a secondary carriage-house, were placed around an open field and swimming pool, reminiscent of traditional farmstead arrangements.

Encompassing over 5,000 square feet (465 sq m), the main residence features airy rooms, ceilings with exposed timber beams, natural light throughout, and carefully defined views that help celebrate the ever-changing seasonal landscape.

The main residence is visually and functionally divided into public living and private bedroom areas by a central feature staircase of floating treads and full-length skylights overhead.

On the ground level, one side of the house contains two children's bedrooms and a master suite. 

The other half encompasses a den, living room, dining area and kitchen. 

The living areas utilize 8ft by 8ft sliding glass doors leading directly onto decks for outdoor entertaining.

Downstairs is a full basement containing media room, games room, wine cellar, study and guest suite.

Upstairs is a bright, white, minimal multi-functional loft space lit by several skylights.

The nearby, detached Carriage House comprises a 3-car garage, storage and workshop on the ground level, with an adaptable music room and studio space upstairs.

From the very beginning of the design process (see concept sketch), a central fireplace hearth was an essential element as requested by the client. It was designed to be a physical and visual focal point and feature of the main house, with the ability to have an open fire an important factor for the client, especially during the colder months in New England.

Utilizing a double see-through wood-burning built-in fireplace from Stûv, with a 16ft long solid walnut mantlepiece floating over, and beautiful hand-cut local stone veneer, a one-off custom double-height stone chimney hearth grounded the tall Great Room space and helped create a visually striking modern rustic aesthetic.

Additionally, behind the hearth is an unexpected, hidden space with a cathedral ceiling and custom designed lighting pendant feature, deliberately created as a more intimate, more adult space. The Great Room side of the fireplace was more open, public and suitable for daytime family use. The hidden den behind was for those precious after-hour unwinds with a bottle of red from the passively cooled cellar in the basement: a quieter, calming, low-light space lit just by the fire and overhead warm-colored pendants.

Stand-alone Stûv wood-burning stoves were also utilized in the study/office/library space, and the upper loft area of the carriagehouse as a multi-purpose music room/reading room/yoga studio. This particular loft space feels attic-like with exposed timber beams and direct views out to the nearby oak trees. A soft glow from the fire, helps transform the space into a warm, comfortable, cosy, contemplative, even meditative getaway space: an elevated modern tree-house for a jazz-loving guitar player with an appreciation for Japanese Ukiyo-e prints.