Washington New Construction

Image by Bo Crockett

Depot House—Washington, Gray Organschi Architecture

When two architects come together to design a home for themselves, the results are guaranteed to be impressive. That was the case when Elizabeth Gray and Alan Organschi, partners at Gray Organschi Architecture in New Haven, decided to build a dream home for themselves and their children in Washington.

The couple had owned the property, which is situated along the Bantam River, for 15 years before deciding to build on it in 2012. At the time of purchase the land housed two small shacks. The pair believes the structures were put there to house residents displaced by a 1956 flood. The stone foundation of a much older building was also on the property—perhaps an ice house used to assist the milk train that used to run from Northwest Connecticut to New York City and stopped at a nearby depot. There was a lot of history attached to the property and the architects wanted to honor all of it in the design of their new weekend home.

“When we went to renovate, we knew we wanted to have a building relationship to an older agricultural past,” says Gray. “It’s still a contemporary house, but we came up with the idea of gable structures situated perpendicular to each other . . . [like] two barns at right angles with a connected space that is very glassy.”

Lisbett Wedendahl

Bo Crockett

From the quiet country road, which is located just feet from the foundation as was typical with old New England agricultural service buildings, the home reads like a barn—something that was very important to both the family and the town’s planning and zoning department.

Between the two barn-like structures, where the bedrooms are housed, an open space walled with windows allows sunlight to stream inside. Gray and Organschi wanted to place the emphasis on shared spaces, choosing to make the bedrooms smaller and the living spaces larger.

“There is a feeling of going in and out of these barns. It’s pleasing,” says Gray. “People really like to live, not in a more traditional room-based plan with a kitchen, a living room and a dining room. There’s a flow of space.”

Lisbett Wedendahl

Lisbett Wedendahl

The customary kitchen appliances, like the refrigerator, are tucked away in the pantry to allow for clear sightlines and agreeable views throughout the living space, and all of the appliances and décor are modern—a welcome juxtaposition to the home’s largely traditional exterior.

In the backyard, a sleek pool takes center stage surrounded by a modern wooden deck and shaded by a strategic roof overhang to “shield the summer light.” An original stone wall, covered with beautiful patina and moss, was preserved and reinforced to evoke more of the property’s history.

Bo Crockett

(This article was originally published on a different platform. Some formatting changes may have occurred.)

This article appeared in the March 2015 issue of Connecticut Magazine

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