Habitat: House above Lake Waramaug brings the outside in
WASHINGTON — Nestled on a wooded mountaintop along the shores of Lake Waramaug, the home at 46 June Road was built to both blend with its environment and protect it.
The exterior is made of Canadian sandstone, meant to complement the stones on the hillside. Inside, geothermal heating and cooling, energy-efficient windows imported from Germany and thousands of feet of mahogany from trees that fell in a hurricane in Nicaragua create an emphasis on sustainability.
This environmentally friendly focus was one of the homeowner’s main goals when he commissioned Tea2 Architects, a Minnesota firm, to build the six-bedroom estate in 2010, project manager Eric Johnson said.
“Before they built the house, they spent a lot of time on the property,” Johnson said. “That’s what drew them to the area — everything around it — so they wanted to be good neighbors and add to that environment.”
The 31-acre property includes a private dock and picnic area on Lake Waramaug and borders one of Steep Rock Land Trust’s open space preserves.
So when building the house, the homeowners wanted to ensure it “grew out of the site,” and would last for generations to come. Johnson and his team began wondering how to take full advantage of the lake views to the north and the sunlight from the south while still creating a durable structure.
“The narrative started coming out, what if there was a stone ruin on this property already, and we started inserting modern, open inserts into this stone ruin?” Johnson said.
Johnson said they started with a design using heavy masonry similar to 15th-century English architecture, contrasting it with “glassy” details such as a living room with walls of windows on three sides.
The kitchen and family room — which the owner calls “the treehouse” for the way it appears to jut out over the trees — also have windows on both sides, Johnson said.
Grace Franjola, the listing agent for the property, said the new home brings her thoughts about the June Road lot full circle from when she first encountered it 15 years ago. She was the listing agent for the lot when it was on the market back in 2003.
Back then, the lot was 24 acres and home to a small 1937 cottage largely surrounded by woods that blocked the house from its view of the lake.
“I thought to myself, ‘Boy, you have frontage on this beautiful lake, you have a potential view here,’ ” Franjola said. “But it was all wooded; you couldn’t really see there was this magnificent view.”
The small cottage still stands on the property, Franjola said.
But the new homeowners had a vision of how to build a house on the top of the hillside and remove selected trees to fully reveal the views, she said. They also added about seven acres to the property.
The home is on the market for $9.95 million.
“It’s quite breathtaking," Franjola said. “He saw (the property) and said, ‘I get it’ — and boy, did he get it.”