CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: Retractable
glass doors with screens that drop from interior soffits allow the home’s east-facing living area to marry with the outdoors. “The views are killer,” says Matthew Cunningham. A manicured path winds its way from the heavenly pool to the guest cabin. Reclaimed granite and native plantings complement the natural materials used in the contemporary home’s construction.
“OUR INITIAL CHALLENGE WAS TO DEVISE AN ENTRY STRATEGY FOR THE HOUSE THAT WOULD BLEND WITH THE TOPOGRAPHY,” SAYS MATTHEW CUNNINGHAM. constructed by The Small Building Company, the lowslung nest hugs an east-facing slope with panoramic views that change color with every season. And best of all, thanks to Cunningham and Wampler’s design, the house and grounds look right at home within the context of this beautiful, rugged setting. That, of course, was the goal, but a slew of obstacles—everything from a steep drop-off to a thin soil depth—called for endless hours of creative thinking and planning. Due to the area’s ever-burgeoning
popularity, stringent regulations are in place to alleviate environmental pressures. There are watershed protection requirements and stormwater management rules. And if that weren’t daunting enough, the Scenic Mountain Act requires mature canopy trees be registered and protected to preserve the area’s unique character. The trees are tagged, and no work is permitted within their critical root zones. “Our initial challenge was to devise an entry strategy for the house that would blend with the topography,” Cunningham says. To that end, an unpretentious but picturesque gravel driveway, accented with rock outcroppings and rimmed with oaks, carefully loops the family in and out today. On the home’s opposite side, the vistas expand as far as the eye can see. A series of board-formed concrete retaining walls with slopes of tough native plants, like lowbush blueberry and hay-scented fern—installed by Ingersoll Land Care—provide dramatic textured terraces that respond to the home’s horizontal forms. “The views from inside the house were as important as those outside,” says Cunningham. “We lowered the upper terrace about thirty inches to prevent the outdoor furniture from blocking the scene and to give a better sense of scale and drama.” A black and stainless-steel crib holds wood for the terrace’s fire pit. Not just utilitarian, according to Cunningham, the crib builds on the romantic Berkshire vernacular of gathering around a blazing bonfire. A granite staircase cascades from this upper terrace to a rectangular pool set carefully in place by Aquatic Designs. The water reflects the ever-changing sky, while salvaged granite, deftly deployed by
60 New England Home | September–October 2018
SO18 Outside Interest.indd 60
8/9/18 10:44 AM