Oprawa: Hardcover with jacket, Format: 24x28 cm, Stron: 220 pages, with gatefold, More than 300 color illustrations, 2016 r., Photography by Eric Piasecki
Nestled amid the lush, gently rolling hills of cattle and horse farms in Millbrook, New York, is a handsome Greek Revival house that looks like it’s always been there. In fact, it is brand new—the collaborative effort of architect Peter Pennoyer and his wife, interior designer Katie Ridder. In this irresistible book, exquisitely illustrated with specially commissioned photographs by Eric Piasecki, finely rendered plans, hand‑painted illustrations by Anton Glikin, and a gatefold pullout of the garden plan, complete with a comprehensive key to flowers and plantings, Pennoyer and Ridder tell the story of the conception, design, decoration, and landscaping of their dream house.
The couple had been thinking about building a getaway country house for years before they found the six‑and‑a‑half‑acre Millbrook site, which had all the features they had been looking for. Located off an old dirt road at a high point in the landscape, with views of a lake and distant hills, it was the ideal spot for a house, a formal garden, and a cutting garden. The site did pose significant challenges, however. They had to demolish the existing asbestos‑clad ranch house, clear the land of overgrowth, rocks, and farming debris, and excavate a new pond to replace a fetid bog. But as they restored the land, they were continually rewarded, as new vistas were revealed and the site itself seemed to grow larger.
The design of the house followed Pennoyer’s conviction that historical examples are a springboard for the imagination and offer compelling solutions for new architecture. So, though many characteristics of the house are classical and more specifically Greek Revival, it is also thoroughly contemporary. Each of the four façades is symmetrical in the classical manner, but each has a different character. The interior architecture has traditional moldings and symmetry, but a central atrium topped by a laylight (ceiling window) brings natural light flooding into the middle of the house, and the layout of the ground floor is virtually open plan, making the rooms less formal yet clearly defined by their ceilings and proportions. The house is also environmentally friendly, incling such energy‑saving elements as a rain‑screen siding layer, a two‑part insulation system, full radiant flooring, a high‑efficiency boiler, and high‑efficiency LED lighting throughout.
The decoration is exuberantly colorful, textured, and layered in signature Katie Ridder style. The rich colors and eclectic patterns play off the antique wood furniture, incling some classical pieces. Ridder also designed the gardens, for which she drew inspiration from Wave Hill, the public garden in the Bronx, among others. The centerpiece of the formal flower garden—with its lush, dense mix of more than two hundred perennials, annuals, rare plants, shrubs, and bulbs—is a rose‑ and white wisteria–draped pergola that serves as an outdoor living and dining room. A cutting garden features both ornamentals and edibles, and she has planted a woodland garden in the shade of existing oak and maple trees.
A House in the Country offers readers not only a virtual getaway but also a cornucopia of fresh design ideas.
"[Peter Pennoyer and Katie Ridder] have made a mess of my afternoon, since [their] exquisite new book arrived today, and I made the mistake of opening it for a moment before I turned back to my work. An hour later, I was still reading: it was so compelling that my intention of flipping through the pages for a minute turned into a long and thorough reading. I found [their] memoir at the beginning to be absolutely enthralling—it was warm, gracious and full of insight. And the house was not only beautifully photographed, it clearly is beautiful. It is so rare that a serious house gets the documentation it deserves, and its story gets told so fully and so well."
--Paul Goldberger, Pulitzer Prize–winning architectural critic
“It’s hard to know whether to effuse about [Peter Pennoyer and Katie Ridder’s] impeccably elegant and entirely inviting house, or about this impeccably elegant and entirely inviting book about it.”
--Andrew Solomon, National Book Award winner
"Run, don't walk, to get this book!"
"When Katie Ridder met Peter Pennoyer, it was an encounter of minds so unalike that the only reasonable outcome was marriage. Ms. Ridder, and interior designer, favors Moroccan textiles and flamboyant color, while Mr. Pennoyer a classical architect, is all white columns, rigor and flow. Together, they built a Greek Revival-style retreat in Millbrook, N.Y., that is more than a sum of their philosophies. In A House in the Country, the building dazzles with purple tiled floors, 19th-century busts arrayed under star-patterned glass and an exterior frieze of dachshunds chasing a rabbit."
--The New York Times
"Because of their substantial talents and unique point of view, when the couple—after years of looking for just the right spot—decided to design a weekend house for themselves and their three children in Millbrook, New York, the results were positively enchanting. A seamless union of Pennoyer’s elegant Greek Revival architecture and Ridder’s sophisticated, comfortable interiors (she also designed the extensive gardens), the house offers a fascinating look at how two people with distinct design outlooks can weave them into a coherent whole."
"Architect Peter Pennoyer and designer Katie Ridder's Greek Revival-style house in upstate New York looks like it has stood there for a century. And yet—as told in A House in the Country—it's a newly created classicist's dream, filled with historically apt detailing and set in a garden inspired by England's Sissinghurst, among others."
"See how architect Peter Pennoyer and his wife, designer Katie Ridder, created a contemporary home with a classic look in this beautifully illustrated book that offers compelling insights for new architecture."
". . . A House in the Country is an engaging book that chronicles both the practical and creative sides to creating a dream home from the ground up. What struck me was how personal their house is . . . Ridder’s love of color, pattern, and exotic flourishes shines through, as does Pennoyer’s attention to the sometimes-quirky-but-always-delightful details, both of which make this house, and this book, something truly special."
--Peak of Chic
"[This] is the story of a dream house, conceived by a creative couple . . . who are convinced that historical examples are a springboard for the imagination and offer compelling solutions for new architecture."