Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Edge

Engaging the landscape from the inside out



House Photographs by Andrew Mandolene / Portraits by Rana Faure

Ten years ago, John Docherty discovered his personal Shangri-la when he was looking to relocate from White Plains. The Bedford property he found, known as Quarry Lake, was simply magical to him. The 18-acre lot boasted a 15-year-old contemporary home that was spectacularly sited on the edge of an old pegmatite quarry. “I loved the setting,” explains the psychiatrist and entrepreneur, “but the interior design was peculiar—rooms were chopped up, tiny windows looked out on the lake, and large windows had views of the driveway.” The original owners sold the house in 1997 to Zen Master Rama, the “yuppie guru,” who authored books such as Snowboarding to Nirvana and reportedly had a cult following in Hollywood. Docherty bought the house from the late Rama’s estate in 2000.

After living in the home for five years, Docherty knew the old dark kitchen needed to go and wondered what other changes might improve functionality and allow the house to embrace its setting more fully. Intrigued by a New York Times article about a beach house designed by Manhattan-based architect, Lynne Breslin, Docherty invited her to pitch a master plan. Breslin, whose clients include The U.S. Holocaust Museum, The Whitney Museum, and The New-York Historical Society, took the original footprint, opened it up, and pushed it out. “John had a collection of Japanese decorative art and an appreciation of Japanese architecture. He was enthusiastic about long lines, vistas, and playing with horizontal space,” explains Breslin, who has worked in Japan and teaches Japanese architecture and landscape design at Columbia University. Inspired by simplicity and the setting, Breslin specified natural materials and large expanses of glass to blur the line between indoors and out. To engage the landscape, she expanded the space by cantilevering and adding decks. The result is an entirely new, light-filled 6,000-square-foot retreat. Docherty had a few specific requests when it came to designing his retreat. Some were somewhat sensible, such as adding a front entryway and a side mudroom. “Lacking little practical things like that didn’t make sense for a house in the country,” he points out. Others items on his wish list, like an outdoor shower, were simply for fun.

The process of designing and constructing the new space took about two years, and the result is nothing short of magnificent. A long driveway lined with ornamental trees leads to a parking court where the expansive, modern home is revealed. The new entryway provides guests with a sheltered space for removing coats and boots before stepping into a mezzanine that overlooks the three-story atrium and connects the public areas of the first floor. To the right is a living room featuring two walls of sliding glass doors that can be opened to create an indoor/outdoor living space. It is here that Docherty plays his grand piano as he watches the sun set.

Stepping out on the cantilevered, wraparound deck is rumored to have blood-pressure-reducing effects, thanks to the dramatic views and the soothing sound of falling water. Frustrated by the lake’s overabundance of algae and insects when he first moved in, Docherty had a waterfall installed to oxygenate the lake. Now filled with potable, clear water, he finds it is a great place to swim and kayak.

The original living room, divided in two by a fireplace, doubled as a family room. The layout made it impractical for entertaining, so Docherty asked Breslin to move the location of the fireplace to a new adjacent media room.

To the left of the entryway, the dining room showcases a storage chest, referred to in Japan as a mizu tansu, by the entrance to the new kitchen where Docherty enjoys cooking and entertaining. “I was very involved in the design of this room,” says the single father of two. “I wanted the kitchen to have clean, simple lines and an open, terrazzo feeling.” The lagos azul flooring and oversized sliding glass doors contribute to this desired ambiance.

The home’s minimalist decor and strategically placed windows allow the views to take center stage, however special souvenirs from Docherty’s international travels are exhibited throughout the house. “These, I got in Malaysia when I was lecturing there,” he notes, pointing to two framed prints. “And, this is called a ‘baku,’” pointing to a statue. “Its function in Japanese mythology is to eat bad dreams.”

The second floor features bedroom suites designed to accommodate Docherty’s grown daughters’ families and other guests. An antique tansu sits opposite an oversized picture window in one bedroom, while a bookcase and chair handcrafted by Docherty’s grandfather furnish another.

Just down the hall, in the master bedroom suite, Docherty wakes to incomparable vistas, or, with the flick of a switch, he can draw the blackout shades. His stainless-steel bed frame, custom made by a Brooklyn artist, mixes eclectically with yet another Japanese antique treasure—a sea captain’s tansu. “The word 'tansu' refers to a chest,” Docherty explains. “Japanese houses were historically so incendiary that they often put handles on the ends of their tansus, so they could pick them up and take them out quickly.”

“John wanted an outdoor shower in the master suite,” says Breslin, “so we designed an indoor shower with an outdoor feel.” The result is a cantilevered space with three walls of glass and a glass ceiling. Green glass tiles cover the heated floor and the one remaining wall. “Lynne made it possible for me to have a year-round outdoor shower,” Docherty says with a grin. “It’s great in the winter; I can watch the snow coming down all around me.” When he prefers to recline, a stainless steel bathtub from Urban Archaeology provides a sleek, soothing alternative.

One of Docherty’s favorite interior spaces is his office, to the left of the atrium. Breslin designed it to her client’s specifications, so that he can easily transition from work to play. Sliding doors open to a stone terrace with a fire pit and hot tub. “I spend a lot of time here,” notes the doctor who lectures internationally on a variety of pharmaceutical subjects. “The light is great, and the view is amazing. Plus, I really like my work.”

At the opposite end of the atrium is a gym with access to Docherty’s favorite deck. Its triangular shape and smaller size makes it seem cozy compared to the sprawling alternatives upstairs. “I like it because of the roof,” he says, pointing to the underside of the upper deck that features exposed steel beams.

One of the advantages of having such compelling views when working from home is that Docherty is regularly drawn outdoors. He added paths through the woods that lead to his herb garden and a second, smaller lake. Whether gazing up at the stars from his glass shower or down at the paths in the woods where twinkling nuggets of shiny mica and milky quartz peek out from under leaves, Docherty can’t help but be dazzled by his earthy paradise. 
 

Add your comment:

Connect With Us

             

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Catch the Vibe Newsletter

See this weekend's events in the area!
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Bedford Shout Outs––Holidays 2018

This, that, and other things

Trees for Good

Where to get your tree in the Bedford area

Bedford Out & About - Dec

Upstairs Downstairs

Bernard’s and Sarah’s Wine Bar serve excellent food in both an elegant and casual setting

Where do competitive equestrians train in winter?

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading Local Professionals

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

December 2018

The magic of the season is tangible throughout the Rosen House! Take part in Caramoor’s great tradition of holiday music with charismatic musicians, festive decorations, and tea service in...

Cost: $65

Where:
Rosen House Music Room
Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
149 Girdle Ridge Rd
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Sponsor: Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
Telephone: 914-232-1252
Website »

More information

Sunday, December 9th at 3:00 PM. Open to all ages. Come to watch several short silent comedies at this fun event hosted by renowned silent film accompanist and historian Ben Model. Ben Model...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ruth Keeler Memorial Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

Meet friends and neighbors at the KMA for a day of fashion fun! Show off your wearable art at a Pop-Up Runway Show directed by artist and author Lesley Ware. Enjoy activities throughout the Museum;...

Cost: Member price: Free Non-Member price with Museum admission: Free

Where:
Katonah Museum of Art
134 Jay Street
Katonah , NY  10536
View map »


Sponsor: Katonah Museum of Art
Telephone: 914-232-9555

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

James Lancel McElhinney, journal-artist, author, Yale alumnus and  Pollock-Krasner Grant recipient will unfold the epic story of painted books, from the Age of Exploration to the digital era. He...

Cost: 0.00

Where:
Ridgefield Library
472 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Library
Telephone: 203-438-2282
Contact Name: Laurie McGavin Bachmann
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The magic of the season is tangible throughout the Rosen House! Take part in Caramoor’s great tradition of holiday music with charismatic musicians, festive decorations, and tea service in...

Cost: $65

Where:
Rosen House Music Room
Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
149 Girdle Ridge Rd
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Sponsor: Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
Telephone: 914-232-1252
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Using graham crackers, icing, and candy we'll create fun little gingerbread houses for decoration! Ages 6-10 Registration required - call 914-864-0130 Sponsored by the Friends of the Mount Kisco...

Cost: No Cost

Where:
Mount Kisco Public Library
100 East Main Street
Mount Kisco, NY  10549
View map »


Telephone: 914-666-8041

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Ayurveda advocates seasonal detoxing to strengthen your immune system and help your body function at its best. Weather shifts can wreak havoc on your entire system. “Spring-summer-fall-winter...

Cost: Free

Where:
North Castle Public Library
19 Wippoorwill Rd E
Yellow Monkey Village
Armonk, NY  10589
View map »


Sponsor: Dr. Kaushik's Ayurvedic and Naturopathic Clinic
Telephone: 914-875-9088
Contact Name: Dr. Kaushik
Website »

More information

The magic of the season is tangible throughout the Rosen House! Take part in Caramoor’s great tradition of holiday music with charismatic musicians, festive decorations, and tea service in...

Cost: $65

Where:
Rosen House Music Room
Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
149 Girdle Ridge Rd
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Sponsor: Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
Telephone: 914-232-1252
Website »

More information

Join Us for Botanical Jewelry Making - Great Holiday Gift! Tuesday, December 11th 6:30pm to 8:30pm Create your own wearable succulent art. These botanical bracelets make beautiful and...

Cost: $100

Where:
Kahlo
65 Westchester Avenue
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: KAHLO
Telephone: 917-604-5596
Contact Name: Tami McCarthy
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

You'll have fun welcoming winter when you cut out your very own snowflakes using model clay and cookie cutters! Materials will be provided.  Ages: 6-12 Registration required - call 914-864-0130...

Cost: No Cost

Where:
Mount Kisco Public Library
100 East Main Street
Mount Kisco, NY  10549
View map »


Telephone: 914-666-8041

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Wednesday, Dec. 12. The Bedford Chamber Concert Series continues its 2018-19 season, featuring an all-Vivaldi holiday program. Anthony Newman and the Bedford Chamber Ensemble will perform “The...

Cost: $45 per person

Where:
St. Matthew's Church Fellowship Hall
382 Cantitoe Street
Bedford, NY  10506
View map »


Sponsor: St. Matthew's Music Committee
Telephone: 914-522-5150
Contact Name: Anthony Newman
Website »

More information

The magic of the season is tangible throughout the Rosen House! Take part in Caramoor’s great tradition of holiday music with charismatic musicians, festive decorations, and tea service in...

Cost: $65

Where:
Rosen House Music Room
Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
149 Girdle Ridge Rd
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Sponsor: Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
Telephone: 914-232-1252
Website »

More information

Sign up for this community workshop to get important year-end info.  www.martinhouseworkspace.com/event-listings

Cost: no charge

Where:
Martin House Workspace
69 Westchester Avenue
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Martin House Workspace
Telephone: 914-764-3128
Contact Name: Erin Trostle

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The magic of the season is tangible throughout the Rosen House! Take part in Caramoor’s great tradition of holiday music with charismatic musicians, festive decorations, and tea service in...

Cost: $65

Where:
Rosen House Music Room
Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
149 Girdle Ridge Rd
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Sponsor: Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
Telephone: 914-232-1252
Website »

More information

Attend 1, 2 or all 3 of this three part series giving you to the tools to help find you the right job!  Session 1-How to Nail that Job–Thursday, November 29th–5:30-6:45 pm Session 2–Resume...

Cost: No Cost

Where:
Mount Kisco Public Library
100 East Main Street
Mount Kisco, NY  10549
View map »


Telephone: 914-666-8041

More information

Mario Tacca – Music Director Mary Mancini Tacca – Artistic Director/Manager OUR MISSION STATEMENT: To have fun and gather with friends! To make great music together! To...

Cost: $33.00

Where:
Taormina Restaurant
59 Hudson Avenue
Peekskill, NY  10566
View map »


Telephone: 914-737-8872
Contact Name: Mary Mancini
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Please join us Friday, December 14, 2018 at 7pm for our annual concert of joyful Christmas music at the Church of the Assumption in Peekskill, NY.  Performers include Internationally Acclaimed...

Cost: $17

Where:
Church of the Assumption
131 Union Avenue
Peekskill, NY  10566
View map »


Sponsor: Church of the Assumption
Telephone: 914-737-2071
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Join us as the Traveling Lantern Theater brings a beloved classic Christmas story to life - The Story of Ebenezer Scrooge or: "A Christmas Carol". Light refreshments will be...

Cost: No Cost

Where:
Mount Kisco Public Library
100 East Main Street
Mount Kisco, NY  10549
View map »


Telephone: 914-666-8041
Website »

More information

This a cappella vocal quartet brings their exquisitely blended voices to the Music Room in Sing Thee Nowell, a program of sacred Christmas music spanning seven centuries. The Rosen House,...

Cost: $25, $35, $50, $65

Where:
Rosen House Music Room
Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
149 Girdle Ridge Rd
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Sponsor: Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
Telephone: 914-232-1252
Website »

More information

This a cappella vocal quartet brings their exquisitely blended voices to the Music Room in Sing Thee Nowell, a program of sacred Christmas music spanning seven centuries. The Rosen House,...

Cost: $25, $35, $50, $65

Where:
Rosen House Music Room
Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
149 Girdle Ridge Rd
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Sponsor: Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
Telephone: 914-232-1252
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags