Editor's Letter: A Sense of Place
I had the pleasure of catching architect Gil Schafer’s lecture on his new book, A Place to Call Home: Tradition, Style, and the Memory of the New American House, when he visited Boston. I arrived just as Schafer was being introduced to a packed audience. Like everyone in the lecture hall at the Boston Design Center that day, I was mesmerized not only by the beautiful projects showcased but also by his compelling message: “A house that makes you feel happy, welcome, and secure is a success no matter the style of architecture or the degree of lavishness.”
He went on to discuss how, although he is a Classical architect, his designs respond to a set of circumstances—site, climate, and lifestyle all come into play. He also described in detail some of the regional homes he had lived in or visited and the feelings evoked by each one—feelings that inform his architecture to this day. Just as Schafer does in his book, this annual issue of New Old House visits vernacular houses around the country that all respond to a set of circumstances.
Our first feature is Schafer’s exceptional work. We visit a house in Lake Placid that he designed for a family who loves to socialize. The house takes direction from the rustic Shingle-style cottages found in that region.
We next visit Sonoma County, California, where David Arkin of Arkin Tilt Architects showcases his stellar ecological planning and innovative design strategies by using traditional materials and forms for a rambling ranch house. (I am happy to note that it escaped the recent wildfires in wine country that claimed so many dwellings.)
We also head south to Florida where we tour a Palladio Award-winning Anglo-Caribbean-style home designed by Richard Sammons of Fairfax & Sammons. The Caribbean influence is evident in the steeply pitched roof slopes, Bahama shutters, courtyard, and bright white stucco exterior.
In Pennsylvania we tour a project by Ferguson & Shamamian Architects LLC. The stone manse echoes the colonial-era houses of the region and offers formality and sophistication for its homeowners.
We hope you find inspiration in the following pages for your own homes—whether you are building new or renovating an older structure. Creating that sense of place from your set of circumstances will render a home that is truly one of a kind.
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