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Family Compound Designed with Nature

back view of custom new england home

A new family home is designed to connect with its serene, natural setting while providing ample opportunities to gather.

When the homeowners purchased this secluded parcel in Concord, there were no existing structures on the three-acre property, a lush meandering combination of meadow and farmland punctuated by historic white oak trees. They sought to preserve the tucked away, tranquil nature of the landscape while building a forever-home for their family of four. As they planned to relocate from out of state, the homeowners tapped Hutker Architects to design their new residence.

Front view of suburban home

“They came to us with an aggressive deadline,” recalls Jim Cappuccino, a partner with the firm and the lead architect on the project; associate Erin Levin also contributed to the design. “In a little more than a year the family had to be moved into the house—in time for the start of the school year in September,” he says.

bathroom

The couple hired Brookes + Hill Custom Builders, a firm that has great synergy with the Hutker team. “They had interviewed a couple of other builders, but when we met with them, we just all hit it off and that was it,” says Brookes + Hill principal Eric Hill.

Family room

Cappuccino devised plans for a sprawling one-level home comprised of simple, cedar clad gable forms that take cues from the pastoral setting of the property. A key emphasis in the design phase was put on how the home connects with its surroundings. “During the day as you approach the house you notice how it sits in reverence to the landscape,” says Cappuccino. “At night when it’s all lit up inside, you get a different perspective from outside of the house—it’s about seeing the artwork through the large expanses of glass.”

hallway with art along the walls

Showcasing the homeowners’ diverse collection of art was an integral facet of the project. “Over the years, they’d collected a lot of art and having space to hang the art was something we put a lot of thought into,” says Cappuccino. A hallway that runs along the central living space at the front of the home serves as a gallery that showcases several works; other pieces are hung in various rooms. “Large scale art requires big expanses of walls and figuring that out was tricky because it was also important that abundant windows showcase views of the yard and bring in sunlight,” says Cappuccino.

The house is comprised of three separate volumes attached by glass-walled connectors, which filter in considerable sunlight throughout the adjacent spaces. Additionally, since the main living area—located in the central volume of the house—is one-and-a-half stories high, two shed dormers were created in the roof that filter light down into the great room, where walls were created to hang art.

stairway

The exterior’s simple rustic forms give way to a more modern interior, where the color scheme defers to the artwork and the ever-evolving hues of the landscape. Throughout, furnishings exude a low-profile and materials feel natural and evocative of the setting, such as the gallery floor, which is made of petrified stone inset with tiny fossils. “It’s clean-lined and modern with a warmth and organic quality to it,” says Cappuccino.

kitchen

The wife has family in the area, in fact, says Hill, her sister was able to build a home next door. “Their plan was to live together and create a sort of compound.” To accommodate the extended family for meals, the homeowners requested easy gathering spaces both indoors and out. “The husband and wife both love to cook, so the kitchen was an important part of the project,” says Cappuccino. Designed by Venegas & Company, dual quartz-topped islands provide plenty of prep space as well as seating so the cook can have company while he or she preps dinner.

dining area

But when the family needs downtime, the floorplan allows for everyone in the family to have their own space. The kids’ bedroom suites are to the left of the home’s central volume and the master, encompasses the wing on the opposite side.

Bedroom

In the end, the strict timeline was met: the family was moved in before the school year began. “We were able to achieve this because the homeowners were capable of making quick decisions and we had such a good design team,” says Jessica Griffith, another principal at Brookes + Hill. “We’d meet once a week to go over the deliverables. Everyone understood that if you didn’t get done what you were supposed to the family wasn’t going to be in on time. We all had to be very collaborative and fast, and we did it. It was really special how it all came together.”

Architecture: Hutker Architects
Construction: Brookes + HIll Custom Builders
Interior Design: Hutker Architects
Kitchen Design: Venegas and Company
Landscape Design: Horiuchi and Solien Landscape Architects
Landscape Construction: Onyx Corporation
Photography: Michael J. Lee

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