Gardiner Porch House
Construction Supervision: Larry Marshall and John Gillis Electrical: Andy Coleman Custom Carpentry: Larry Marshall Landscape Design: Cynthia Gillis
This country house was built for a family that loves the Shawangunk Mountain area in which it is nestled. The house is sited to overlook a brook and has the height to have views of the "Gunk" ridges in the distance.
One of the unusual features is the cupola, a small outlook at the peak of the house, at the top of an octagonal stair. This allows a wider perspective of the whole surrounding forested and mountain region. The house has a remarkable 6 porches -- including sleeping porches -- for a family that loves to be outdoors as much as possible. Every room has large expanses of glass, in large and small square grids that give a visual order -- framing the fairly wild and rustic forest perspectives that you experience in all directions. The open plan design interrelates the spaces -- the living room flows into the dining room and into the eat in kitchen and over to the mudroom -- all while you are circling the great octagonal stair and fireplace mass that dominate the center of the house.
The house is made of a remarkable wood named "Ipe" (ee-pay), also known as ironwood. It is much heavier and denser than almost all other woods in the world, and has a beautiful dark mahogany color and pattern. It is also inherently fire-retardant and much stronger than most structural wood species. Thus the exterior of the house should last for tens of decades without any significant deterioration. This meets the owners’ desire for a long-lasting minimal maintenance house. Since the wood never needs painting, it won't peel or need re-painting, though it can be oiled if one desires a darker finish than the natural greying that occurs over time.
A separate guest house is designed in the same style, providing a guest suite distinct from the three bedrooms and two guest rooms in the main house.
The house design was intimately worked out with the surrounding landscape designed by Cynthia Gillis. One enters the main car gate and drives through a lane of flowering trees to the parking area near the front of the house. This parking area faces a 75 foot long wall of huge boulders -- all gathered from the site -- in a design intertwined with massive amounts of climbing hydrangeas.
The house is another work of contemporary organic style that is a characteristic of John Gillis' design approach.
- Project Category: Houses,
- Location: Gardiner, NY
- Materials: Ipe (ironwood) structure, glass, copper, slate, Finland birch
- Size: 5000 sf (approx.)