Natural rock cut thin. Exquisite brick cut thin. Made beautiful by Robinson Brick Company.


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The planes of the roof include rows of maple includes three lines respond to one another (top). Dan Kiley's subtle landscape interventions trees that reinforce the formal lines of the main residence (below). The complex buildings and two courtyards linking the structures (opposite).

Nature and the man"~' ^^moniously at Peter Rose's Art Studio and Residence

By Jane F. Kolleeny

The pace is slow in Sharon, Connecticut, a picturesque village in Litchfield County, located in the northwest corner of the state. Reminders of the area's colonial past are evident in the covered bridges and mossy stone walls abundant there. Weathercock Farm, among the many old farms that dot the landscape, consists of a 100-acre tract of land with barns formerly used for livestock. Purchased by a couple and their teenage daughter in the late 1990s, the farm itself was easily revived with 100 Angus cattle, but the site lacked proper accommodations for the new homeowners.

The owners started work on their home by hiring Cambridge, Massachusetts, architect Peter Rose, AIA. While they began the design process with visions of white clapboard on the exterior, a material common in the residential architecture of New England, they ended up with concrete block, a choice that both surprised and delighted them.

"Most homeowners think they know what they want and then go about the task of pursuing an outcome," said Rose. "In this case, the owner put conventional thinking aside and engaged in a process with me, founded on the belief that 'not knowing' is the best place to begin, and white clapboard simply did not evolve as the material of choice."

Instead, a three-building compound emerged, consisting of a main house, an artist's studio, and garage/guest quarters. As visitors turn onto the the property's dirt road, they are greeted by the red barns of the farm and the wary gaze of the cattle. The road meanders up a hill, where a sequence of subtle gestures—a woodpile, a stone wall, a gravel drive—

signal domesticity. Approaching from behind the buildings into one of two courtyards, visitors first see the garage/guest suite, then the art studio on the right, and the main house on the left. The ensemble rests comfortably on the edge of a grassy field, sitting back from the crest of a hill, "capturing the views but not getting in their way," as one of the owners observed.

Along with the unexpected use of concrete block, the architect specified a lead-coated cooper roof, tongue-in-groove stained cedar siding, and two brick chimneys on the main house, all of which help the building blend with the muted hues of the landscape. The art studio and guest quarters pick up the theme. Visually, the group of buildings are so thoroughly rooted in the environment that they seem defined from without, rather than from within.

The main house is sliced in half longitudinally with a hallway that reaches from one end to the other, defining a border between the public one-story areas that open to views on the west, and the private two-story program behind. The living room, library, and office face westerly views, while the kitchen, dining, bath, and laundry room compose the back-lying areas of the main floor, with bedroom suites forming the

Project: Art Studio and Residence, Sharon, Connecticut Architect: The Office of Peter Rose Consultants: Arup (engineer); Office ofDan Kiley (landscape) General contractor: Dick Coon Construction

Project: Art Studio and Residence, Sharon, Connecticut Architect: The Office of Peter Rose Consultants: Arup (engineer); Office

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