by deed. Moore suggested siting the house on an angle, knowing that a
more conventional placement — parallel to the street — would mean lost
opportunities for views. “By tilting the house, we gave Rip some long views
from within the house,” says Moore. “We also created more privacy and a
bit more sweep to the circular driveway approach.”
The team also knew, early on, that the house needn’t be overly large.
The program called for just three bedrooms — for Rip, Knick, and guests
— as well as a private study for Rip, plus a living room, dining room, formal
library, and kitchen. But before details of individual rooms could be drawn,
the group dealt in big-picture design concepts, with their main inspiration
coming from Sunnyside, Washington Irving’s 19th-century ivy-covered cottage in Tarrytown, New York.
“We knew right away we wanted to do something with the aesthetic
of Sunnyside,” says Rip, “but I certainly didn’t want a twin of that house.”
They decided to limit the Sunnyside elements to the exterior, with features
such as the crenelated dormer, ivied facade, slate roof, and stucco walls
inset with multipaned windows of varying sizes.
Inside, the layout and rooms could take shape according to Rip’s
needs. To determine more precisely what those were, Farzan inventoried
his client’s furniture, art, and books. “We wanted every room to have its
own appropriate proportion,” says the architect. “Also, we needed every
room to function as a repository of the family collections.” For example,
the dining room’s dimensions — 14 feet by 20 feet with a 12-foot ceiling
— were determined in large part by the 12-foot-long mahogany table that
had been in the family for years.