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Castle in the woods

Looking a little like a domestic fortress from below, this contemporary, cliff-hugging home also opens up to its natural environment in dramatic style

Designed by Alexander Gorlin Architects

From the architects:

Nestled in the woods just below the crest of a hill overlooking a mountain lake in the Hudson River valley, this house is designed to blend into its natural landscape of boulders and rock outcroppings. 

Clad in a local granite of salmon and grey, with a green roof and sustainable mahogany windows with non-reflective glass, from a distance the house dissolves into its surroundings.


Arriving up a winding driveway to preserve a number of mature groves of native trees, the house in section is set into a natural rock shelf in the cliff. 

This allows for an L-shaped plan that wraps around an internal rock garden, and entry into the level of living spaces – kitchen, dining and living areas. 

Since half the house is sunken into the hill, it takes advantage of the insulating properties of the earth which creates great energy efficiency.  

The entry hall is panelled in reclaimed Canadian barn wood and opens into a hall looking into the adjoining garden. 

All rooms open onto a grand, 30m-long terrace that looks into the forest – creating the impression of one being in a tree house. 

A cantilevered frosted glass canopy extends over the terrace to allow for living outside in inclement weather.  

The lower level includes all bedrooms and private spaces, each with a private terrace looking into the woods. 

The garage, guest wing and playroom are in the adjoining wing of the L-shaped plan. 

From below, the house takes on a different appearance, of a castle in the woods, growing out of its rugged and rustic surroundings.

Credit list

Interior design
Alexander Gorlin Interior Design with Judy Dunne, Butter & Eggs

Designed by: Alexander Gorlin Architects

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Peter Aaron

03 Apr, 2022

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