Archive for the 'Historic Buildings' Category

Jen’s Community at Wildcliff

Our latest project… a new LEED certified restoration of an 1850′s Alexander Jackson Davis Gothic Revival manor house overlooking Long Island Sound. It’s the future home to Jen’s Community at Wildcliff; a new sustainable, nature-based nursery school.

Check out our facebook for more images; vintage photos and current conditions.

Stay tuned for updates and progress.

Zenda Farm

Throughout the many years I’ve been visiting the river, I have always admired the silvery steel barns arranged along Rt.12 in Clayton.

Today, I had the opportunity to get a little closer.

Zenda Farm, a “modern” farm operated throughout the 1950′s, is now owned by the Thousand Islands Land Trust.

From Thousand Islands Life:

TILT, the simple name for the Thousand Islands Land Trust, is a non-profit organization that owns over 3500 acres of land, much of which is open to the public. TILT is dedicated to protecting the unique character of the Thousand Islands region while trying to provide a balance between preserving natural areas and ensuring that responsible development may continue to occur.

Read more.

Here’s a recent article about Zenda Farm from the Watertown Daily Times.

The River

I am back up at the St. Lawrence River for 10 days.

The river is a great place to rest, relax and regroup… and it’s loaded with amazing architecture. Stay tuned and I will share some of my favorite houses on the banks of Millionaire’s Row.

A Day Off with New Castle Historical Society

Peter Wing is an eccentric man. Forty years ago, he and his wife claimed the high corner of his father’s dairy farm and started building a home. Today… they’re still building.

Wing’s Castle, located in Millbrook, New York is a home like no other. With inspiration from local agriculture buildings and architectural references borrowed from Gothic churches, Asian pagodas, medieval castles and the free form Art Nouveau towers of Antonio Gaudi, Peter Wing has created, one stone at a time, an architectural masterpiece (if not only in his own mind) among the rolling  hills of Dutchess County.

This past Thursday, Annmarie and I joined the entire Fivecat Studio crew for a bus tour guided by the New Castle Historical Society. It was a great day of interesting people and inspiring places.

Following the tour of Wing’s Castle personally guided by Peter Wing himself, we headed to Charlotte’s restaurant for an early lunch and some relaxing sunbathing in their blooming flower garden.

Then back on the motor coach, and off to the global headquarters of Harney & Sons Master Tea Blenders for a tour of the factory floor personally guided by founder and CEO, John Harney. I wonder is Mr. Harney ever met Peter Wing. I think they’d hit it off. John is another very interesting character.

Half informative narrative, half sales pitch (being an entrepreneur myself, there’s a part of me that enjoyed the sales pitch more), the tour lead us through the tea blending bays, past the packing machines (they make Rube Goldberg’s contraptions look simple and straight forward) and between the tall mountains of labeled cartons ready for shipping around the world.

A quick trip around the corner, we ended the day at Harney’s & Sons’ tasting room and gift shop in Millerton. After a quick sip of fine tea (yum), we had free time for a leisurely stroll up the hill and through the village. Millerton may be a place we return to take in the antiques and artisan shops.

The ride home is always quiet, as we rest our eyes and enjoy the view through the bus windows. Joe the driver did a stellar job navigating the small country byways and muddy parking lots.

We appreciate the kindness of all the members on the trip. It was clear that most of the people on the tour were veterans of Historical Society events. Being “interlopers”, as the tour leader referred to us with a smile, our crew felt a bit out of place when we left Chappaqua early Thursday morning. By the end of the day, we made several new friends and felt welcomed by all.

The fall NCHS tour will be out to Oyster Bay and a visit to Sagamore Hill, home of Theodore Roosevelt.

We can’t wait!

House Museums on Squidoo

A few months back Katie Hutchison posted a piece about my Squidoo lens, Your Complete Guide to Residential Architecture, on her informative blog, House Enthusiast. Within her very kind post regarding my work online, Katie suggested that I add a new section to the page linking users to house museums.

Well, I thought that was a great idea; an idea that I was surprised was not already on the lens. As a child, Mom would truck my brothers and me to dozens (maybe hundreds) of house museums during summer weekdays. I am sure it was mostly to stay sane and keep us kids busy and focused on something other than tormenting one another. I am also quite certain that all that exposure to historic properties lead me straight to architecture school.

It has taken me some time to add the section, but I would like to announce tonight that the section is live and ready for your perusal. Be sure to scroll through the first several sections to find the new list of house museums. It follows Honor Awards. If you do not find your favorite property, please leave a comment below or drop me an email (there’s a link at the top of this page). Send me a link and I’ll add it to the list.

Thanks again to Katie for the post, as well as the suggestion.

Harlem Valley: Modern Ruin


On my road trip up to Westchester Modular Homes for a factory tour yesterday (more on that another day), I passed through the village of Wingdale, home of Harlem Valley Psychiatric Center. Shut down in 1994, nature has quickly reclaimed much of the site.

If you are a long time reader of the Living Well blog, you are familiar with my facination with modern ruins. An abandoned pychiatric hospital? It doesn’t get better than that.

Anyone interested in a midnight tour?

Visit my Picasa web album for a few images shot from road side.

For more photos, click here.

The Glass House: Visited

On January 25, 2005, architect Philip Johnson passed away. In June of that same year, his partner David Whitney passed too, leaving their entire New York and Connecticut estates to The National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Two years later, Philip Johnson’s Glass House was opened to the public.

Unfortunately, unless you would like to purchase tickets for a Private Tour ($500 per person) or an even more exclusive Patron Tour ($1000 per person), you will need to wait at least 12 months for a visit.

Lucky for us, Katie Hutchinson has prepared an amazing review of her recent trip to the iconic New Canaan residence. When you’re finished reading her post, you’ll feel like you were there with her.

In photos, the Glass House has always struck me as smallish, perhaps because the landscape is so vast. In reality it’s much larger than I expected. It’s 1,728 square feet. The floor is brick, laid in a herring-bone pattern. The ceiling height is ten-foot six-inches. It’s a bit like a patio with a lid. The plan is a simple rectangle with full-height glass doors on both central axes. No-nonsense, black, steel I-beams stand as columns around the perimeter. A brick cylinder toward the northeast houses a private full bath and a fireplace facing the seating area.

Read Katie’s entire review here.

For more information, or to purchase tickets for the 2009 tour season, visit the Glass House website.

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Living Well in Westchester is a trademark owned by Mark R. LePage, AIA, LEED AP | © 2006 - 2013 Mark R. LePage, AIA, LEED AP | All Rights Reserved.


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