Lesson 19. Native materials marry a house to the land

When early American farmers built their stone walls, they simply used rocks unearthed while cultivating their fields. At Carlisle, all the new stone walls, built from local fieldstone, look like they worked themselves right out of the ground.

Landscape contractor Roger Cook prepared their bases well so they won't move an inch when winter frost heaves hit.

He also recycled giant blocks of granite, once used to cap the old ell's foundation, for steps that link the lower and the upper driveways.

Lesson 20. Entryways should signal what's coming

The great thing about the Carlisle house is that it has several distinct spaces, from the broad, earthy barn to the sleeker contemporary ell to the more traditional Greek Revival house. The challenge was to create seamless transitions between these disparate sections of the house, giving a hint of the rooms to come as you move from one part to another. So the wide doorway leading from the house's main entry hall — in the ell — into the barn was framed with rough-hewn beams. Similarly, the barn's quartzite-paved entry court — revealed when the original sliding barn door is left open — was given large-scale dimensions and a two-story ceiling height to prepare visitors for the big, soaring space that lies beyond the French doors.

Lesson 21. Houses need spaces for year-round entertaining

Summer barbecues. Winter holidays. Fall football season. A house with lots of different places that can handle a crowd becomes a magnet at gathering time. The Carlisle farmstead has several, including the formal dining room off the kitchen, the bluestone patio out back, and the barn's great room, which opens onto the porch — a feature once typical of American houses that's enjoying a revival in new home construction. Overlooking the tree-lined backyard, this one has three-season appeal, thanks to screens that can be raised and lowered with the flip of a switch.


Stone wall: O'Hara & Company
Barn lamp restoration: Yankee Craftsman
Quartzite: Walker Zanger
Retractable screens: Phantom Screens
IPE decking: Anderson & McQuaid Company
Ceiling fan: Shades of Light

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