New England Colonial house with fieldstone siding, shuttered windows, symmetrical facade

Traditional New England Colonial home by Jan Gleysteen features fieldstone facade, corner pilasters, colonnaded loggia, traditional interior

Story by: Colleen Hawkes
This L-shaped New England Colonial house wraps around backyard, cottage, elevation, estate, facade, farmhouse, grass, historic house, home, house, land lot, landscape, landscaping, lawn, mansion, plantation, property, real estate, residential area, siding, yard, green
This L-shaped New England Colonial house wraps around a large entertaining terrace at the rear. The architect of the house was Jan Gleysteen and the interior designer Mollie Johnson.
The New England Colonial architectural style remains a popular choice for families – it’s a symbol of the past that conjures up feelings of warmth and familiarity.

New England Colonial architecture is anenduring style that's just as appropriate for family living today as it was back in its heyday in the 1930s and '40s.

Architect Jan Gleysteen says there's a good reason for this such houses are not only imbued with traditional character and charm, but are also a symbol of the past. As such they conjure up feelings of warmth and familiarity.

"There is a scaling to these houses that ensures they seem to wrap protectively around the family," Gleysteen says. "This concept of scaling is readily evident in this property mature beech trees frame the house beautifully, and make it seem as though it has always been there."

The architect says the house replaces a 1980s modern house that was built on a 45° angle to the street.

"Most of the houses in the small town have a New England Colonial character and are built parallel to the street. The original house on this block had no curb appeal, so that was a key consideration in the planning of the new house. We placed it parallel to the street, on a slight rise, with a U-shaped driveway providing a double entry."

The traditional formality of the front elevation is also typical of the style. Gleysteen ensured the main volume has a strong symmetry to the extent that one of the two chimneys that anchor the sides of the house is purely for aesthetic purposes.

Other features of the New England Colonial style include the fieldstone siding, which is framed by prominent corner pilasters with recessed panels. The house also has black-forest green paneled shutters with exposed hardware, antique lanterns, and Georgian-style columns and dentil mouldings below the roof eaves.

"Unlike the rear, there are no dormer windows on the front elevation, which gives the house a simpler, cleaner look from the street," the architect says.

Painted millwork reinforces the traditional character of this bathroom, estate, home, interior design, property, real estate, room, wall, window, orange, gray
Painted millwork reinforces the traditional character of this master bathroom in a New England Colonial house.

The recessed front entry opens to a hall with a relatively low 9ft 4in ceiling.

"An intimacy of scale was a specific request by the owners they didn't want an ostentatious double-height entry hall."

There is a direct line of sight from the entry through the house and out a French door to the entertaining terrace and woodlands at the rear. This helps to draw the eye to the view beyond.

The interior architecture also reflects the traditional influence. In the formal living room a mantel with a swag and medallion pattern replicates the mouldings in a Park Avenue, New York apartment designed in the '30s. And two solid painted beams, one on either side of the mantel projection, define the ceiling.

The traditional look is reinforced by furnishings, specified by interior designer Mollie Johnson. These retain the formality of the colonial style but reflect the warmth and welcome of a family home.

Bold geometric patterns and a textured grasscloth wallcovering soften the formality of the dining room, while the formal living room features light spring-green walls and neutral furnishings punctuated by warm red armchairs.

Most of the family living takes place in the kitchen, however.

"We always design the kitchen to be the piéce de resistance, the true hub of the home," says Gleysteen. "This room, as with the dining room and mud room, has a dropped soffit around the perimeter of the ceiling, which pops back up in the middle. The design helps to make these spaces more intimate."

Curb appeal is assured with this New England cottage, estate, farmhouse, grass, historic house, home, house, manor house, mansion, plantation, property, real estate, residential area, window, green
Curb appeal is assured with this New England Colonial house designed by architect Jan Gleysteen. The house features a traditional Pennsylvania fieldstone siding on the front elevation. The symmetry is reinforced by large pilasters and chimneys on both sides. The smaller volume on the left accommodates the library, while to the right is a colonnaded loggia that wraps around the outside of the mud room.

The kitchen ceiling is coffered as well, with the beams centered above the island. This is on the main axis for the entire open-plan family living area.

"One end of this axis is anchored by the cooking center, which has an arched mantel. This is the symbolic hearth the heart of the home. The cooking center bookends one end of the entire space the opposite end is bookended by a fireplace."

Gleysteen says the island separates the circulation area from the main food preparation area. However, the space in front of the cooking center is part of a passage through to the breakfast room.

"We made this space a little wider, so the circulation would not interfere with cooking operations."

In keeping with the traditional styling, there are large 6in paneled pilasters on the corners of the island, with smaller versions on the perimeter cabinets. Curves are another classic feature helping to soften the linear form of the cabinets. These appear in the hood brackets and arch, and in the arched millwork that frames the window above the sink. The wood bar top on the island is also curved.

To maximize the spectacular green outlook at the rear of the house, the breakfast room resembles a glass pavilion. Johnson specified navy blue and spring green accents for both the breakfast room and the family room, which bring a touch of whimsy to the informal living areas.

Green furnishings reappear in a screened porch, where wicker furniture, a beadboard ceiling and exposed siding enhance the informal ambiance.

Beyond the house, the landscape is terraced to create two flat areas of lawn, with space for a kitchen garden that is netted to keep out rabbits and deer. There is also a 30ft by 40ft outdoor sports court.

Mar 31, 2015

Credit list

Architect
Jan Gleysteen AIA, Jan Gleysteen Architects, Inc (Wellesley, MA)
Landscape architect
Elliot Brundage Landscape Design
Kitchen manufacturer
Walter Lane Cabinetmaker, LLC
Roofing
Asphalt Colonial Slate shingles from CertainTeed
Flooring
Jaobean and Special Walnut blend with analine dye from JJ Hardwood Floors
Paints and varnishes
Benjamin Moore
Furniture
P Henry House, Formations, Bausman, Artistic Frame, Lewis, Mittman, British Khaki
Kitchen cabinets
Lacquered in Benjamin Moore Blush
Backsplash
Calacatta marble subway tiles from Tile showcase
Bathroom accessories
Harrington Brass Works & Ginger
Interior designer
Mollie Johnson, Mollie Johnson Interiors (Boston, MA)
Builder
Kistler and Knapp Builders, Inc
Siding
Connecticut stone
Doors and windows
JeldWen custom line
Wallcoverings
Grasscloth in sable/Blue strié from Larsen and Custom Strié Paper
Lighting
Chandelier from David Latesta; lantern from Formations; decorative flushmount from Niermann Weeks
Drapes in living areas
Wool and linen fabrics from Custom Draperies
Countertops
Calacatta marble from Olympia Marble & Granite on island; Nero Assoluto black granite on perimeter cabinets
Bathroom flooring
Limestone with decorative inset from Tile Showcase
Bathroom drapes
White Brisbee sheers on nickel rods with pale blue silk Roman valance by Custom Draperies
We know the specialists