House in the Endless Mountains

Northeast Pennsylvania

1 / 8 – Photo credit: Matt Wargo Architectural Photographer
“Look closer, though, and you see the deeply satisfying perfection of jointing. The whole house is like that: a joyful improvisation at first glance, a craftman’s pride on further inspection. The finest tree house, you might say, ever constructed.”
Robert Campbell, Pennsylvania Craftsman, Architectural Record

Project

Summary

This residence was designed for a couple who, their children having grown up and left wished to return to their agrarian roots. Overlooking horse pastures, the lake below and distant fields and mountains, the house and garage rest against a forest on the highest of a series of plateaus.

The farm’s approach is marked by a series of stone ruins beside a private road that climbs from the lakeside and leads into an automobile court proportioned as a golden rectangle. This outdoor room is enclosed by remnants of stone walls characteristic of farms in the region. Through a portal in the east wall of the court lays a smaller courtyard and an entrance to the wood-framed house.

Passage through the tightly defined timbered entry reveals an expansive living space with view to the distant landscape. Behind a free-standing stair that rises along one edge of the two-story space, a dining room and office border a steeply sloped and shaded landscape. The light-filled volume of the living space is anchored by a massive stone firebox and chimney that dominates the southern exposure. Centered on a square fieldstone plinth, the fireplace recalls the furnaces of local historic industrial structures and visually anchors the interior living space.

Project Data

Location:
Northeast Pennsylvania
Dates:
1992 – 1996
Size:
4,500 sf

Awards/Honors

1998
Tucker Award for Design Excellence
1996
Merit Award for Design Excellence