Spaces & Places

Native Plants Form a Meadow-Like Habitat for a Rustic New York Home

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After hands-on study, a Northeast landscape architect sows a free-growing meadow.

Maybe Dan Sternberg was half-joking when he said, “I don’t want to own a lawn mower,” but landscape architect Jamie Purinton took him seriously. After she heard his wish, she wandered the former horse pasture he had bought in the Hudson Valley and five hours later came back with a fistful of little bluestem grass, penstemons, goldenrods, and asters. From that moment onward, her mantra was: “Let the meadow be the star.” Dan signed on without hesitation, as he would to many of her out-there ideas. 

Landscape architect Jamie Purinton blanketed Debbie Cooper and Dan Sternberg’s Hudson Valley property with native species. Among them are purple love grass and prairie dropseeds, which grow by the Cor-Ten garage.

Landscape architect Jamie Purinton blanketed Debbie Cooper and Dan Sternberg’s Hudson Valley property with native species. Among them are purple love grass and prairie dropseeds, which grow by the Cor-Ten garage. “Both have wonderfully airy flowers and fall colors that connect well to steel,” says Purinton.

Photo: Kindra Clineff

The land had been the lure for Dan and his wife, Debbie Cooper, from the moment they spied the For Sale sign while cycling through Millerton, New York, in 2012 and set off to explore the sloped 18-acre property in Spandex. There was much about the region the couple liked, including its agricultural heritage. When they approached local architects Elizabeth Demetriades and Patrick Walker of Demetriades + Walker about building a house on the land, “blending” and “harmonizing” with the rolling landscape were words repeated often.    

Riffing on local farmhouses, architects Patrick Walker and Elizabeth Demetriades covered the 4,000-square-foot house in rough-sawn red cedar and capped it with a standing-seam galvalume roof.

Riffing on local farmhouses, architects Patrick Walker and Elizabeth Demetriades covered the 4,000-square-foot house in rough-sawn red cedar and capped it with a standing-seam galvalume roof.

Photo: Kindra Clineff

Clad in stained red cedar with an attached Cor-Ten steel garage, the three-bedroom dwelling, built in 2015, seems to melt into the hillside. Demetriades speaks of “lantern-like windows” capturing “meditative views.” She designed glass doors that slide open and disappear into pockets to erase the boundaries between inside and out. In summer, Dan and Debbie—both lawyers, he retired—practically live outdoors.

Like the windows, the large pocket doors are by Jeld-Wen. Alchemia chairs by Archirivolto are arranged on a deck near the courtyard, which is planted with fragrant thyme.

Like the windows, the large pocket doors are by Jeld-Wen. Alchemia chairs by Archirivolto are arranged on a deck near the courtyard, which is planted with fragrant thyme.

Photo: Kindra Clineff

See the full story on Dwell.com: Native Plants Form a Meadow-Like Habitat for a Rustic New York Home

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