“The caring that can be found in so many aspects of this design. There are sacred moments here, highly poetic vistas. Design decisions are handled with respect to the history of the site. One senses the connectedness between the buildings and the ground, between the buildings and the framed vistas.”
Peter and Sally Bohlin’s small family compound in rural Pennsylvania is composed of two adjacent cottages and several small related structures. Employing modest materials and soft modernist details, they transformed the houses, preserving their essential nature while making a calm, evocative place. The entry courtyard is framed by the edges of the houses, a stone paving tongue that is bordered by a trellis, and a new, dry laid Pennsylvania stone wall which is a buffer from the road. The stone walkway is a dam-like edge for a new pond that extends from the courtyard through an existing wooded area to a large open field. A cantilevered slab of wood projects from the new rear face of the small guest house out over the pond extending the eye to a distant forest. In the main house a new room with the characteristics of a porch looks into a grove of tightly spaced birches. Familiar details, a quintessential stair, a hall of closet doors, the diagonal light in the gridded bubbles of bay windows and walls of books form floating spaces that comfort and enable. Using simple means, care has been taken to make an emotionally touching place gently reminding us of other places — northern forests, windblown fields, memories of frog ponds from childhood and distilled images of buildings.