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A Contemporary Icon in a New York Forest

Living in the middle of the woods, away from the hustle and bustle of New York City, can be a welcome respite, but it can also get a little lonely at times. That's why this contemporary-style home in the foothills of the Shawangunk Mountains is designed not only to be in close contact with nature but also to have a vibrant social life. Its owner is a lawyer, and about a third of the building is for his guests. Architect William Reue has gone a step further by building separate entrances for the owner and his guests so that both can come and go freely or meet in the ample common space.

  • At a glance
  • Who lives here: A New York lawyer
  • Location: New York State
  • Area: 446 square meters; 4 bedrooms, four bathrooms, and one toilette
  • Photos: Steve Freihon

This stunning contemporary architectural home is located just a two-hour drive from the Big Apple, amid a magnificent setting where you can enjoy the beauty of the forest and a starry sky.

The curvilinear wall clad in Corten steel that one sees upon arrival creates a mysterious first impression. However, it also has a practical purpose: to protect the house from the cold north winds. In this image, we can appreciate the guest area, on the right, built with blue basalt. The home sits on more than three hectares, surrounded by trees and the occasional stream. The Corten steel stands out in contrast to the landscape, particularly during the winter months when snow covers the ground and the trees are bare. From this viewpoint, where the entire surface of the steel wall is visible, part of the blue basalt building, where the garage is located, is revealed on the left.

The glazed southeast facade contrasts with the sturdy rusted steel wall. The volume, contemporary in style, blends in with its surroundings, bringing modernity to the landscape. If we get a little closer, from this part of the exterior, we can see the living room and the house's main bedroom, with extraordinary heights and diaphanous distribution.

Not surprisingly, the space that houses the living and dining room is oriented to the incredible views offered by the vast glass wall. The mechanized upper panels allow good cross ventilation, and the curtains, in turn, protect the interior from direct sunlight.

The house has a fully insulated structure, thanks to 35 cm thick insulated structural panels and quadruple glazing. According to William, this house is "55% more energy efficient than any standard new construction home." It has earned LEEDSilver certification for these and other features, including subway rainwater storage, natural cotton insulation, geothermal heating, and an energy recovery ventilator. William Reue's classy, modern interiors camouflage much of the kitchen behind dark wood doors and new white cabinets.

The door of the wooden unit opens into the laundry room, which doubles as a hallway. Just beyond is the garage.

The colorful kitchen backsplash is made of Stonewood granite, which is characterized by its wood-like appearance. The floors are covered with 10 cm wide white oak planks of varying lengths, ranging from 2 to 3 meters, with a dark-toned polyurethane finish. There are more white cabinets with smooth surfaces, without handles, on the opposite wall, framing the fireplace. Between the fireplace and the statue is access to the main bedroom. To the right is a hallway leading to the library and guest rooms. The main bedroom establishes a continuity of the clean lines and calm atmosphere of the living room. The bed is set at a slight angle to the walls. This commands a magnificent view of the outside path and the gap left by the trees to the east of the lot.

The bathtub in the main bathroom has a custom design that overhangs the glassed-in shower space so that both also enjoy the incredible views. The other bedrooms are no less luxurious, as is evident in this guest bathroom. Elegant Pecan Brownstone slabs with a polished finish create a striking backdrop for the freestanding bathtub.

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