You Have to See This Ultramodern Home Near the Shawangunk Mountains

The house encourages socializing with a third of the space devoted to entertaining guests.

By John Hill, Houzz


A house in upstate New York can be a great respite from the big city, but it can also be a bit lonely at times. That’s why this house, at the base of the Shawangunk Mountains, is designed not only to embrace nature but also to encourage socializing. An attorney owns it, and about a third of the space is devoted to guest quarters. Architect William Reue even went so far as to create separate entrances for the homeowner and her guests, so that both can come and go as they please or socialize together in the ample living space.

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Houzz at a Glance
Upstate New York
Size: 4,800 square feet (446 square meters); 4 bedrooms, 4½ bathrooms
Photography by Steve Freihon


Photo by Steve Freihon, original photo on Houzz


Need a reason to leave the city? How about the stars? A two-hour drive from the Big Apple puts you in touch with the forest and celestial bodies.

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A curving wall covered in Cor-Ten steel makes for a mysterious first impression. But it has a practical purpose too: The wall shields the house from cold north winds. In this view we see the guest “wing” in bluestone on the right.

The house sits on a roughly 8-acre parcel with plenty of trees and a little bit of water. The Cor-Ten makes an artistic statement in the landscape, particularly in the snowy months, when the leaves are off the trees.


Photo by Steve Freihon, original photo on Houzz


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Not surprisingly, the living space is oriented to the view through the large wall of glass. Operable upper panes allow for cross ventilation, while the curtains cut down on direct sunlight.

The house is super insulated, with 14-inch-thick SIPS (structural insulated panels) and quadruple-pane glazing. According to Reue, the house is “over 55 percent more energy efficient than a typical new home” and has earned LEED Silver certification for these and other measures, including underground rainwater storage, natural cotton insulation, geothermal heating and an energy recovery ventilator.


Photo by Steve Freihon, original photo on Houzz


Reue’s modern interiors hide most of the kitchen behind flush wood doors and flush white cabinets. The door on the wood volume opens to the utility room, which also acts as a mudroom; the garage is just beyond.

The colorful kitchen backsplash is stone wood. The floors are 4-inch-wide white oak planks set at random lengths of 6 to 10 feet with a dark stain and a polyurethane finish.


Photo by Steve Freihon, original photo on Houzz


The main bedroom continues the clean lines and quiet atmosphere of the living space. The bed is angled relative to the walls to provide a view oriented to the path and to the gap in the trees to the east.


Photo by Steve Freihon, original photo on Houzz


The custom tub in the main bathroom protrudes from the glass shower, both of which have the potential for views through the glass walls.


Photo by Steve Freihon, original photo on Houzz


The guest quarters are no less sumptuous, as is evident in this guest bathroom. Floor-to-ceiling slabs of Pecan Brown stone with a polished finish set a striking backdrop to the stand-alone tub.

Related: Orange County’s Historic Sengen House Listed Publicly for the First Time

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