New American Luxury

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An Antique Barn-Framed Residence by w.a. sclight architect WORDS


Julie Knudson

W.A. Sclight Architect 723 Seven Ponds Towd Road PO Box 46 Water Mill, NY 11976 631 726 6397


Gary Mamay

Some buildings are more than just a story— they have their own vocabulary. Bill Sclight, principal at W.A. Sclight Architect, says that’s the case with the Miller residence, a home in upstate New York that Sclight recently renovated. Built in 1987, the original 2,800 square feet longed for upgrades in functionality as well as personality. The owners are a couple involved in the entertainment industry who have young children, and they were looking to create a home that is livable and inviting. “We added almost 1,800 square feet to the structure,” Sclight says. The home’s interior showcased a frame from a 150-year-old barn brought over from Dutchess County, New York, but that architectural story wasn’t being carried through to the rest of the house. “From the outside, the house looked very ordinary,” Sclight says. “In fact, it looked a lot like a modular house. It had no personality at all.”

The existing casement windows were small and cheap, making the interior of the home very dark. “We put in all-new windows and doors, including big, stacked windows over a pair of French doors on both the front and rear of the house,” Sclight says. Light now streams through the space unimpeded, making the interior feel open to the surrounding environment. New lighting was also installed throughout the structure so the space “didn't feel so dark and foreboding,” Sclight says. A small brick fireplace with an undersized firebox caused ongoing problems for the owners. “It wasn’t drawing air, and every time they would light a fire it would smoke up the room,” Sclight recalls. A properly sized fireplace was installed, and the large fieldstone chimney echoed the treatment used on the exterior foundation of the home. “Now it really has that sense of being a vernacular building,” N e w A m e r i c an L u x u r y / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 2

Sclight says. “It’s authentic.” Large picture windows and custom built-in bookcases were added on each side of the fireplace to maximize usability and provide additional natural lighting. Many of the interior affects, from lighting fixtures to furniture, was selected by Bill Kranyak of William Jude Designs. “He was very easy to work with, because he really understood what we were trying to do here,” Sclight says of Kranyak. The open and efficient farmhouse kitchen, with its blend of elegance and practicality, was also central to the residence’s story. A large soapstone countertop with antique cast-iron workbench legs anchors the space and gives the owners a place to relax as well as entertain. “A barn is really a working space,” Sclight says, “and in that sense, its vernacular has an industrial aesthetic to it.”