From a distance, the Tudor-style house appeared fittingly majestic for its one-and-a-half-acre site on the Hudson River. But at 6,500 sq.ft., with views of the George Washington Bridge and Manhattan beyond, its appearance deceived. Up close, any illusions of grandeur, cohesion or warmth disappeared; ill-conceived renovations had obscured the exterior, and with its odd circulation and obsolete spaces, the interior was stuck in the past. The house lacked a story, or a sense of progression. However, an Arts & Crafts-inspired renovation by Timothy Bryant dispelled the gloom with light, replaced the heaviness with whimsy, and lightened the austerity with easy elegance.
Bryant began by restructuring the featureless façade, giving the impression that the house had been added to over time. Timberwork and brick surrounds break up the massing, and give the house the detail and depth it promises from afar. New and expanded window openings hold glass-transom windows, a staple of the Arts & Crafts movement, that allow the house to breathe and flood the interior with much-needed natural light. And completing the exterior transformation, a new stone base bonds the house with the site and the region.
But the transformation is even more compelling within. In its original configuration, the house’s many small rooms, unusable space, and expanses of dark mahogany were particularly unwelcoming for a client with a young family. Bryant brought the house up to the times, with an inclusive interior plan that reflects the patterns of modern family life. Cramped upstairs balconies were reused for a new master bathroom, a sunroom and a work area became generous rooms for the children, and a cumbersome servant’s staircase was removed to provide added space and improve circulation.
With delicately muted walls and floors, interior designer Victoria Hagen helped bring lightness to once somber spaces. Her work allowed Bryant’s interior detailing to standout while remaining under-stated, ultimately enhancing and unifying once disparate spaces. In keeping with the Arts & Crafts story, fabrics and artwork enliven the house with pattern and color, but do not overwhelm.