open to a sheltered terrace with a view to the studio and
the woods beyond.
Country living has also led the husband, who trained
at the Rhode Island School of Design, to such simple
pleasures as building furniture. In the spirit of Yankee
thrift, he crafted small living room stools from pieces sawn
from the floor joists, wood that would have otherwise been
thrown away. He made larger versions of the stools to display art in his studio.
All buildings share the characteristic Estes/Twombly white cedar siding, standardized aluminum-clad wood
windows, and no-nonsense agricultural forms. As the
working structure of a farm where hay and wood are harvested, the unheated barn is the most basic of the three,
which although aesthetically similar are separate entities
— no connecting northern New England vernacular here.
The real work happens in the studio, the Momma Bear
of this compound. The two-story structure has a dance
space on the ground floor and a painting space on the
upper level. (It also has a full bath, so it can offer overflow
accommodations for visiting family when the three guest
rooms in the main house are not enough.) Whether in the
studio or in the house, or even in the plywood-lined barn,
the clients insisted on “letting the material
be the material.” Field House, the name
the owners have given the compound, does
not come across as a fancy intruder upon
the land. Rather the steel, cedar shingles, recycled wood
floors, stone walls, and glass allow it to weather comfortably into the landscape.
“There were 18 wild turkeys walking in our field this
morning,” says the wife. Adds her husband, “We did not
anticipate how much we would relate to the land.”
deceptively plain on the outside (facing page), the studio
building is a double-duty crucible of artistic endeavor. The
dancer’s room on the lower level (below) has window walls to
take in the landscape, while the unadorned space is a blank
canvas for movement. Upstairs, the painter’s studio (below
left) also offers light, but only the balcony doors overlooking the
woods to distract the artist. A stair hall (left) connects the two.