An Escape From Brooklyn, and a ‘Couple’s Project’


For several years, Paul and Nathalie Schulhof scoured the countryside north of New York, browsing for a weekend house that could serve as a rural escape from their house in Brooklyn Heights. But soon after coming shut to acquiring a couple residences, they made the decision to style and design their possess, from scratch.

“We had been hunting at attributes wherever there was constantly anything that essential to be done,” reported Mr. Schulhof, 49. “And in the discussions about the function we’d have to do for just one location or an additional, it just turned clear that we were being much more psyched about the thought of receiving a large amount and setting up on it.”

And they ended up well positioned to do so. Mr. Schulhof is a associate at Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, in which he will work on such massive-scale, very long-phrase initiatives as the Obama Presidential Centre and the new U.S. Embassy in Mexico Metropolis.

Though he doesn’t have lots of possibilities to design residences these days, making a property for his family members was interesting for a quantity of explanations, he reported: It was a opportunity to structure at a smaller scale and construct a developing rather quickly, as very well as to deliver his wife, and their daughter, Amélie, now 13, into the style method.

Just after shifting their research from homes to tons, they discovered what appeared to be the ideal home in Kent, Conn. — a vertiginous 8.5-acre expanse of overgrown forest.

“It’s the best peak in the Kent place, at 1,400 toes,” reported Dr. Schulhof, 49, a doctor specializing in infectious disorders. From the leading, she additional, “we get to see the sunset, the Catskills in the length and the distinctive levels of mountains.”

The pair bought it in April 2016 for $150,000, and began producing strategies.

“It was a couple’s undertaking,” Dr. Schulhof reported. “We’d have dinner, and then in its place of viewing Television, we would sit down and do the job on the home.”

But just after 6 months of work, they made a decision their preliminary style was too inwardly concentrated.

“I required to have a residence that was connected to the outside,” Dr. Schulhof described, “and the initial structure was a lot more airtight, or more insulated from the outside.”

“Nathalie’s a excellent critic,” Mr. Schulhof stated.

So they started off more than.

This time, Mr. Schulhof took the guide in building a 2,200-sq.-foot home resembling a small, solitary-tale brick creating, with glass corners and sliding-glass doors, and a broad roof extending out around a coated patio on 1 aspect.

Two bedrooms, like the master suite, are on the ground flooring. A next tale is tucked up inside the standing-seam steel roof and consists of Amélie’s bed room, an art studio and a composing studio.

Mr. Schulhof initially made a double-top room for a living home that would be open to the second flooring, but Dr. Schulhof preferred a sense of separation, so they compromised on an enclosed mild effectively that provides mirrored daylight into the living home without visually connecting the two levels.

“It was a bit like a a few-dimensional puzzle, attempting to fit it all jointly,” Mr. Schulhof reported.

He taught Amélie how to use the 3-D modeling software SketchUp, so she could operate on the structure of her place, which has a windowed nook for reading.

The moment the options were set, they did not have to appear significantly for a contractor. A neighbor was making a house just down the highway, and when they stopped to chat, they found out the owner was Scott Mancini, a task manager at H & Y Building.

“We ended up using the services of them, and I labored with them to determine out how to make the style perform with our budget,” Mr. Schulhof claimed.

Particularly, they refined the style so that the full to start with floor could be created with regular wood framing, with no high-priced structural steel, and the leading floor and roof could be created from a collection of asymmetrical, prefabricated roof trusses.

For the interiors, they saved the palette easy and set up white-oak flooring and an open up kitchen area with customized sapele wooden cabinets that match the lumber applied for the home’s Duratherm home windows. Petersen brick from Denmark, which Mr. Schulhof chosen for its texture and variation, wraps from the outdoors to the within around the hearth.

Right after beginning building in September 2018, running a driveway up the hill and blasting a hole in the rocky earth for a walkout basis, H & Y completed setting up the property in much less than a yr — just in time to maintain Amélie’s bat mitzvah final August — for a overall charge of about $780,000.

“We ended up a contractor and an architect, but now we’re just neighbors,” Mr. Schulhof mentioned, noting that he and Mr. Mancini turned buddies along the way.

Now that the relatives has moved in, the Schulhofs commit weekends cooking, reading, painting, crafting and seeing the landscape modify with the seasons.

But they also sense nostalgic about the procedure of generating a residence with each other.

“It’s a position to take it easy,” Mr. Schulhof mentioned. “But I overlook carrying out it.”

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