with houses that avoid fussiness or pasted-on historical details.
Christopher and Wendy Born considered several architects when
looking to build on their 30-acre lot of woods and wetland, most of
which is in conservation easement. “We interviewed people from
as far away as Philadelphia,” Christopher says, “but we responded
immediately to Estes/Twombly’s interpretation of the local.” Goff
calls the commission “a dream job with dream clients.”
Since Christopher practices in Providence and Wendy works
in Philadelphia, the couple spends a lot of time apart and commut-
ing, so they wanted both a summer place and year-round retreat.
“We are in front of people all the time,” says Christopher, “and we
wanted privacy, a place where we could chill out.”
The 2,750-square-foot home makes a very small footprint on
the property, in keeping with the owners’ sense of environmental
stewardship. The geothermal heating, solar power, and proposed
wind turbine also go hand in hand with the architect’s building
philosophy. And the size and seclusion of the property meant there
could be fewer barriers between inside and outside.
As an interconnection of “farmhouse” and supporting structures, the complex pays tribute to local tradition. The barnlike garage,
which houses a guest apartment on the second floor, is a smaller version of the main unit, but turned perpendicular to it. The garden
shed’s form recalls the area’s distinctive corncribs. The grouping
offers shelter against the coastal elements, and aside from modern
cues, it feels as though it had been on this land for generations.
The plan is brilliantly realized, with a strong horizontal spine
that unifies all the disparate parts. The trellised terrace at the west
end of the house echoes the single-story shed that forms the deeply