Here is an excerpt of the article, see more about the Berkshire Residence, including a spectacular video, on our project page. The full article may be found in the Boston Common May 2018 digital edition.
How to design a dreamy Berkshires getaway with luxury decor, sweeping views and, above all, coziness.
For five years, a particularly nature-loving Boston family escaped to a one-room cabin in the Housatonic River Valley in Great Barrington. That’s right, one room. Designed by Cambridge architect Maryann Thompson, it was a cozy cabin, resting on a slice of the mountainside and overlooking the valley. Still, it was time for a change. The family wanted to live larger. The goal was to replicate the design and feel of their beloved cabin, but to triple the size. Enter Evan Mathison of Mathison | Mathison Architects, who had assisted Thompson on the cabin and who employed a similar approach for the new, 5,600-square-foot low-slung home. Inspired by the stunning Berkshires landscape, the property follows the contours of the ridgeline; captures spectacular light and views; incorporates a warm materials palette; and blurs the line between indoors and out. Upon entering, visitors encounter the back side of a monumental chimney, built with horizontally stacked shimmering Valser stone, which may seem unexpected but was deliberate. “We didn’t want to give away the view immediately,” Mathison says. “We wanted the experience of discovery as one moved around the sculptural stone wall.”
When the space opens up, the mountains are revealed. The homeowners can slide open a 40-foot expanse of five mahogany-trimmed glass doors to breathe in the alpine air. For an indoor feel, the push of a button will produce screens from an exterior sot, descending and transforming the space into a giant, light-filled room.
To enhance the Zen quality, Cheryl Katz of Boston-based C&J Katz Studio designed the interior furnishing scheme using refined forms in natural hues. “It evokes a feel of serenity that celebrates the setting,” Katz says, “and the pieces support the architectural integrity of the space.” The fireplace anchors the seating area on one end, adjacent to the cedar-framed screened porch with a Valser stone floor. On the other side, a stunning 9-foot-long BDDW dining table with a bronze base and oxidized oak top stands under a handblown white glass and vintage brass chandelier by Lindsey Adelman. The dining area opens onto the kitchen with board-matched walnut veneer cabinetry and a center island. Mathison inserted an 11-foot high ceiling plane to delineate the room, which creates a sense of intimacy and allows for recessed lighting. Above the plane, clerestory windows stretch to the roof. “As the sun goes down, warm dappled light reflects off the wood ceiling and filters into the space from above,” Mathison says.
Beyond the dining area, giant horizontal cedar slat pocket doors designed to look like an extension of the exterior wall reveal the family room. A television is mounted on a walnut slat wall that seems to float, and the sloping roof and window seat that wrap around the room make for a cozy cantilevered reading nook. Two bedrooms and a master suite with a blackened steel front replace and spa-like bath are tucked farther south. A beautifully detailed steel stringer stairway leads to the lower level, which boasts a play space with a pingpong and lounge area, bunk room, wine cellar and sauna with a view of the Berkshire Hills. The space flows out to the pool, surrounded by a patio made from reclaimed granite curbs, and meandering reclaimed granite curb stepping stones lead back to where it all began—the cabin.