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Q Farms

Redefining the farmhouse image to be swank, sustainable, and soul-searching



Jeff McNamara

Erase all your preconceptions of a farmhouse. Scratch all your images of the hardscrabble plantings that generally reside along bumpy drives where farmers dwell—because Q Farms is the polar opposite of all those clichés. Five years ago, when Linda and James Quella bought the hundred acres destined to become Q Farms in Sharon, they had a very different aesthetically driven vision for their farmhouse and its surroundings. Not only did they want to survey their rolling pastureland, but they wanted to see swathes of pollinator-friendly plantings swarming right up to their door.

They hoped to host beehives within buzzing distance of those flowers. And they strove to craft an unassuming landscape that flows into and partners with the unspoiled vernacular. What they planned was something “simple, honest, and authentic” according to Cory Jorgensen of Wesley Stout Associates and senior project manager for the Quella’s site and landscape architecture. Working together with the New Canaan–based firm, they achieved the entire agenda-with-a-conscience. But they also created something so majestic that the scene arrests all your sensibilities. Not everyone links sustainable with sensuous, but Q Farms forged that rare union.

Although we often think of flower gardens when a landscape architect is connected with new construction, a designer’s role starts long before the first root ball is tucked into the soil. As Wesley Stout pointed out, a landscape architect’s work ideally begins at ground zero, collaborating with the client and architect to find the optimal location, siting, elevation, and exposure for a house prior to construction. And in this case, the house designed by Reese Owens Architects of Washington Depot is a meaningful mix of farmhouse style and conscience.

A 365-degree view of the land plus a giant window-concealing sliding barn door in addition to a bank of several-story tall arched glass panels overlooks the views. The resulting solar-powered structure is a headturner from the road. But it’s not just another good-looking façade. Most importantly, the Quellas wanted connections. Everything has significance, and the exterior was approached with similar earnestness. 

A house with a view isn’t only about distant vistas. Ideally, it calls for framing immediately around the house. In this case, all components were deftly planned from the swank metal wood storage bins that bring fireplace fuel up a notch to the Zen sand garden and lowbush blueberries that substitute for the typical foundation shrubs. “Linkages” is what the team at Wesley Stout Associates calls the series of plantings with a purpose, crafted to provide a lifestyle that elevates farming to an art as well as a science. 

The experience begins before you arrive at the parking court. To immediately dissipate work-day burdens, the Zen garden stands beside the parking area with huge boulders laying in the dry sand with rake at the ready to turn thoughts contemplative. Similarly, there’s a shallow pool with squared stepping stones seemingly floating on the surface to help transcend daily cares before entering the abode.

A row of granite fence posts define the parameters of the parking area, but also mark rows of espaliered apples, pears, and grapes. Further up the hill is a freeform orchard housing peaches, apples, pears, Japanese plums, currants, and gooseberries as well as an herb garden. And a large 30-hive bee yard serves as a teaching classroom for farm interns. Rounding the house to the view side, curvaceous beds are filled with large swaths of Joe Pye Weed, perovskia, liatris, goldenrods, salvias, agastache, and daisies to make bee forage streamlined—when blocks of pollen/nectar plants are offered, pollinators can efficiently bob from flower to similar flower. 

Stone-walls segment the spaces, link with the house, and reinterpret the agrarian roots of the land. The topog-raphy rolls down to a pool meant to resemble a watering hole (like an old relic from a farm) with deep-rooted ornamental grasses and flowering plants holding the slope from erosion. Above the pool, a round firepit composed of 24 symbolic stones reflects the Dharma wheel of truth, the dharmachakra in Buddhism (James Quella formerly lived in India and translated Sanskrit), just footsteps from a grilling area for outdoor relaxation at the end of a long farm day.

Throughout the property, the land flows majestically from space to space. The plantings spill down the hillside giving a sense of bounty in a brilliantly understated but voluptuous cornucopia. It feels perfectly natural, but in truth, three years of close collaboration between very invested homeowners and the Wesley Stout team brought together the finest pool contractors, masons, earthmovers, and many other players to bestow this majesty that feels fitting. The result reverberates with the essence of what it means to be a farm. Q Farms celebrates the soul of agriculture, in all its glistening glory.


 

 

 

Custom deer fencing encloses the property.

Radiating steps lead from the firepit down to the pool.

Stepping stones seemingly float in the entry court pond.

Granite posts mark the end of espaliered fruit tree rows.

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November 2017

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Gunn Memorial Library
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Oliver Wolcott Library
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Loft Gallery at The Smithy Store
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Telephone: 860-868-9003
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Cost: Fee for Admission

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Mattatuck Museum
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WCSU Westside Campus
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Danbury, CT  06811
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WCSU Westside Campus
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Danbury, CT  06811
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Cost: Free and open to the public.

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Gunn Memorial Library
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In the summer of 1972 Jason rode a motorcycle from Connecticut to California, with stops in most of the Western States. The beauty he experienced on this trip ignited a lifelong passion for...

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Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
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Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
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Cost: Free

Where:
WCSU Midtown Campus
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Cost: $25

Where:
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Where:
WCSU Midtown Campus
181 White Street
Danbury, CT  06810
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Cost: Free

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Oliver Wolcott Library
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Telephone: 186-056-78030
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WCSU Westside Campus
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The Department of Theatre Arts will present "EVITA" in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury....

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Contact Name: Megan Olver
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Cost: Free

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
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Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
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Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
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Cost: Free

Where:
WCSU Midtown Campus
181 White Street
Danbury, CT  06810
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More information

The Department of Theatre Arts will present "EVITA" in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury....

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Where:
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43 Lake Ave Extension
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Website »

More information

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Cost: Free!

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Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit Thoughts, Words, and Deeds: Exploring the Litchfield Female Academy, on view April 22 through November 27, 2017...

Cost: Free

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
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Contact Name: Megan Olver
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Cost: Admission: Adults: $10 • Children & Seniors: $5• Kids under 5: Free

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18 Old Ridgebury Road
EXIT 2, I-84
Danbury, CT  06810
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Sponsor: Ann's Place
Telephone: 1-866-907-2314
Contact Name: Jack Bouffard
Website »

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Cost: $7.00 pp

Where:
Litchfield Community Center
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Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Website »

More information

In the summer of 1972 Jason rode a motorcycle from Connecticut to California, with stops in most of the Western States. The beauty he experienced on this trip ignited a lifelong passion for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

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Cost: $40

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »

More information

The Department of Theatre Arts will present "EVITA" in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury....

Cost: $25

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »


Website »

More information

Sports and recreation are universal experiences. Whether we make it to the big leagues or never leave our backyards, these activities play important roles in our lives. They help us form...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit Thoughts, Words, and Deeds: Exploring the Litchfield Female Academy, on view April 22 through November 27, 2017...

Cost: Free

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

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On Saturday, November 18, beginning at 9am, Little Free library at StoneHill will present a pop-up event in front of the steps of Morgan-Weir American Legion Post 27, 400 Bantam Road in...

Cost: Free

Where:
American Legion Post 27
400 Bantam Road
Route 202
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Little Free Library
Telephone: 203-770-4156
Contact Name: Rose Buckens
Website »

More information

Come create new memories in a magical setting of over 100 holiday trees, elves and pixie dust. Enjoy shopping, live entertainment, raffle prizes and more! Featuring special kids events:...

Cost: Admission: Adults: $10 • Children & Seniors: $5• Kids under 5: Free

Where:
Crowne Plaza Hotel
18 Old Ridgebury Road
EXIT 2, I-84
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »


Sponsor: Ann's Place
Telephone: 1-866-907-2314
Contact Name: Jack Bouffard
Website »

More information

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Where:
Reservoir
16 West Main Street
Sharon, CT
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WCSU will host a 5 p.m. planetarium show Saturday, Nov. 18, followed by telescope viewing of the sky from 6 to 8 p.m., at the Westside Observatory and Planetarium on the university's Westside...

Cost: Free

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »

More information

In the summer of 1972 Jason rode a motorcycle from Connecticut to California, with stops in most of the Western States. The beauty he experienced on this trip ignited a lifelong passion for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

SALOMON CONTEMPORARY presents A HAZY SHADE OF WINTER Time, time, time, see what's become of me, while I looked around for my possibilities. I was so hard to please. But look around,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Judy Black Memorial Park and Gardens
One Green Hill
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: The Judy Black Memorial Park and Gardens
Contact Name: Katie Morley
Website »

More information

   Get in the holiday spirit and join us for the 3rd Annual Taps & Trees Craft Beer Fest being held on Saturday, 11/18/2017, 6:30 – 10:30 pm at the Crowne Plaza. Taps &...

Cost: Online price: $65.00 Door price: $75.00

Where:
Crowne Plaza Hotel
18 Old Ridgebury Road
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »


Sponsor: Ann's Place
Telephone: 203-790-6568
Contact Name: Jack Bouffard
Website »

More information

The Office of Alumni Relations invites you to attend the “Evita” Cocktail Reception & Production on Saturday, Nov. 18. Cocktail Reception starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Drawing Room of...

Cost: $30

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »

More information

The Department of Theatre Arts will present "EVITA" in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury....

Cost: $25

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »


Website »

More information

Legendary reggae artist Yellowman will perform at 8 p.m. in Ives Concert Hall in White Hall on the WCSU Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. Doors will open at 7:30 p.m. and opening...

Cost: $20

Where:
WCSU Midtown Campus
181 White Street
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »

More information

Sports and recreation are universal experiences. Whether we make it to the big leagues or never leave our backyards, these activities play important roles in our lives. They help us form...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit Thoughts, Words, and Deeds: Exploring the Litchfield Female Academy, on view April 22 through November 27, 2017...

Cost: Free

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

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