The Bedford 7
Defining local architecture for the 21st century
While the historic hamlets of Bedford and Pound Ridge reflect our reverence for 18th- and 19th-century home design, venturing farther afield down our country roads reveals the influence of a variety of 20th-century architects, such as Mott Schmidt, who designed grand Colonial revivals on large Bedford estates. At the same time, Hiram Halle was making his mark in Bedford, and even more so in neighboring Pound Ridge, by transforming dozens of Victorians and simple cottages into his one-of-a-kind, eclectic country homes.
The first mid-century modern homes appeared locally in the late 1930s thanks to Edward Larrabee Barnes and his contemporaries. Three decades later,Vuko Tashkovich brought a unique vision to Pound Ridge where he designed and built 28 late-century modern homes.
Which local architects are putting a 21st-century stamp on our communities? We polled our readers and found that seven names were repeated again and again. Here are the professionals who make up our architectural circle of influence for the next generation.
Carol Kurth, FAIA
Carol Kurth Architecture + Carol Kurth Interiors, Bedford
21st-century stamp: (below) Art House 2.0, above, exemplifies the use of clean modern lines, elegant forms, and the project’s oneness with the site.
Designing for Bedford: As they say in real estate: “Location, location, location”—the backdrops are one-of-a-kind.
Local trends: Sleek, modern elements contrasted with rustic materials; the mixture of classical architecture with the “modern barn” aesthetic; and the use of new LED lighting to create exciting shadows and textures that enhance the architecture.
Fantasy Bedford project: A modern-yet-classic farm-to-table enclave of sustainable homes with a vibrant community of eateries, shops, a bookstore, spa, and other amenities—including a getaway resort, a “hotel at home” experience with a wellness component, embracing nature, art, food, and the entire community.
Thomas O’Brien, AIA
O’Brien Architecture, LLC, Bedford
21st-century stamp: (below) A new equestrian property in Bedford Corners, above. The main house and outbuildings have their roots in the American farmhouse/barn with clean Scandinavian-inspired detailing.
Designing for Bedford: Taking care to make them seamless and feel like they are new but were always there.
Local Trends: Smaller homes, smart-house technologies, sustainable materials and mechanical systems, large and efficient mudrooms, dog—and even cat—rooms.
Inspiration: For 25 years, my motorcycle tours have taken me from Alaska to Budapest. Seeing the grand architecture is a thrill, but it is the unexpected small details that always inspire. A barn door outside of Dublin, a window in Dawson City, tiles in Lithuania, those are what inform my architecture.
Carol A. Cioppa, AIA
Cioppa Architects LLC, Pound Ridge
21st-century stamp: (below) I sited this Pound Ridge pavilion to give it a presence in the landscape and designed it to complement a mid-century home. The horizontal wooden screens on two sides give a sense of intimacy and drama, and the new patio and retaining walls create a beautiful and peaceful place to rest.
Designing for Bedford: People are knowledgeable, tasteful, and are typically not looking for something huge.
Local trends: Living in the kitchen.
Inspiration: A wonderful client with creative ideas and a real problem of an existing house they want to re-inspire.
Fantasy Bedford project: A simple, classically modern house—harking back to my Bauhaus roots!
Ralph R. Mackin, Jr., AIA
Mackin Architects, North Salem
21st-century stamp: (below) A shingle-style cottage on 80 acres amidst open pastures and bridle trails. The design is turn-of-the-century inspired, to evoke the feeling of a country cottage that has been in the family for generations.
Local trends: The sharing of ideas in the design community, through websites such as Houzz and Pinterest, has raised design awareness and has assisted clients in expressing ideas.
Inspiration: Clients who appreciate the value of good design.
Fantasy Bedford project: Recently we have been given an opportunity to sensitively renovate and restore a home in a spectacular lakefront setting in a mid-century modern style.
Michael DeCandia, AIA
Michael DeCandia Architects and Planners, South Salem
21st-century Stamp: (below) The conversion of a 1970s, flat-top contemporary into a 21st-century farmhouse for chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s family. I completely redesigned the exterior as well as two upper floors, while keeping the open flow of the original interior, as it is so conducive to the way that families live today.
Designing for Bedford: The residents are less egocentric and more concerned about fitting in than standing out.
Local trends: Providing viable housing options for the empty nesters, aging population, and others who are just looking for a simpler, more affordable lifestyle.
Fantasy Bedford project: The perfect “small” house that is just large enough and has net-zero impact on the environment.
Robert Siegel, AIA
Robert Siegel Architects, Katonah
First Bedford design: I designed an addition to a house originally by modernist architect Edward Larabee Barnes to complement the existing architecture while using high-performance building materials and systems.
21st-century stamp: (below) Located in Katonah adjacent to the historic John Jay Homestead, the scale, form, and material of this new modern house was designed to feel like it has always been there.
Designing for Bedford: Clients are looking for sophisticated design that blends with its surroundings.
Local trends: Emphasis on sustainability and using locally sourced materials and craftsmen.
Fantasy Bedford project: A new house on the property line between Martha Stewart’s and Ralph Lauren’s: a timeless American classic that would be achieved using state-of-the-art technology.
Teo Siguenza, AIA
Teo Siguenza Architect PLLC, Bedford
First Bedford design: Rockledge Farm, a main house on a Bedford estate. A French Tudor revival giving age to an established setting.
21st-century stamp: (below) Robin Hill, the main house on a Waccabuc estate. American vernacular in the shingle style.
Designing for Bedford: Bedford’s bucolic landscape and intimate setting invites a more grounded and romantic architecture.
Local trends: Use of reclaimed materials with a clean, interior approach.
Inspiration: Interior day lighting and exterior views
Fantasy Bedford project: A modern library inside the frame of an old barn, filled with changing, natural light.
Photo credits: Carol Kurth Headshot: ©Peter Krupenye / Carol Kurth Architecture, PC; Art House 2.0: ©Albert Vecerka / Esto
Maria Curtis, Brian Eddolls, Ted Horowitz, Philip Jensen-Carter, Curtis Ryan Lew, Albert Vecerke/Esto, Phillip Ennis, Ginnel Real Estate