Traditional shapes house a modern family of telecommuting parents and three energetic kids.
Synopsis: In Vermont, a traditional farmhouse has been rejiggered for the 21st century. The kitchen lives at the heart of the house, and daily life swirls around its open floor plan with easy access to the mudroom and family room. But there are also private spaces for work and play, including a small sitting room, lofts above each bedroom, and a central ‘study hall’ upstairs. According to author Michael Hopwood, the most important private rooms are his and his wife’s home offices, equipped with wired and wireless ethernet, videoconferencing, and storage.
Three years ago, our family moved from California to Vermont. We were lucky to find a nice home, but like a borrowed pair of shoes, it never felt like ours. My wife, Beth, and I decided to build a house if we could satisfy a number of conditions: It had to be in the same school district so that our three sons wouldn’t have to change schools again; it had to have privacy and space for the boys to enjoy the outdoors; it had to have views of the Green Mountains; and it had to be wired for high-speed Internet access so that I could continue to telecommute from my home office.
A perfect site, after a little work
We were worried that the search for a buildable lot within the school district would be a real challenge. But one day while driving my favorite road in town, I saw a “Land for Sale” sign nailed to a maple tree. The land looked like it would be challenging to develop: old logging roads and mountain-biking trails crisscrossed the 22 acres of steep, rocky, wooded hillside. Although the trails were interesting, what really grabbed me was the filtered view of Mount Mansfield through the trees. A flat area…