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Little Harbor House

Guilford, CT

A multi-generational family heirloom; neighbors who became both client and general contractor; a modest mid-century home turned contemporary gem. Nestled into a wooded cove with views over a small harbor toward the Long Island Sound, this house was designed by Carleton Granbery, whose work we have had the opportunity to reinterpret on several occasions, and built in the late 1950s by our client’s grandparents. 60 years later, our client, and her husband, approached us seeking an update to her childhood home. She was the third generation to have lived in house and wanted to renovate and update it for her own young family.

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Striving at once to retain some of the organizational logic and informal spatial qualities of Granbery’s original design, and to reinvigorate it with 21st century simplicity, elegance, and performance, the house was reimagined from the ground up, keeping intact the existing carport. The building’s minimally abstract volume, articulated by an undulating, folded roofscape, is anchored atop granite outcroppings quintessential to the Connecticut coastline. To the southwest, the massing erodes, revealing expansive glazing and terraces which offer dramatic views over the added pool to the harbor and beyond, shielded by large, louvered screens for privacy.

Beyond the glazing lie the living, dining, and kitchen areas, which are tall and celebratory, yet open and relaxed. The kitchen and bathroom core, a vestige of Granbery’s design, is flanked along the northwest perimeter by bedrooms and a family room, made more intimate in relationship to the roof above by a shift in section. Several skylights, placed carefully around the house’s deep interior spaces, wash wall surfaces with daylight.

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