Located on the edge of the Ashokan reservoir, just below the Catskill mountain summit in Ulster County, New York, the large expanses of windows on all four sides of Shokan House allows the industrial style architecture to blend into the surrounding landscape. The glazings also allow the expansive vistas to fill the interior zones, creating a fascinating foil for the 6,000sqft Jay Bargmann designed house.
Shokan House has views that extend south as far as the eye can see, with its remote location accessed via a half-mile gravel road that curves around a grass-banked pond before arriving at the western elevation.
The gravel road continues around the long and linear home, creating a gravel circle as it finally comes to a stop at the southern elevation.
Since Shokan House is visible from the sky, Jay Bargmann designed the home to be as beautiful from the air as it is from the ground.
With the driveway encompassing both the east and west sides of Shokan House, foot and car access is available on both sides of the 1-storey concrete foundation.
The foundation extends out from the hillside in a stepped fashion allowing each of the two stories to have ground level access.
The concrete garage has huge doors with no pillar supports so that when left open it appears to be beneath an open bridge rather than in a closed structure.
This same principle was applied to the foyer, but here the opening is completely square and takes on the aesthetic of a tunnel.
The foyer is completely clad in book-matched vertical grain walnut millwork, except of course for the fireplace.
A fireplace in the living room is back to back with the foyer fireplace. The living room is a double volume room that includes a stairwell leading to the dining area above the foyer.
With corrugated steel ceilings and exposed steel structural elements, the industrial style architecture is a beautiful foil to the surrounding oak, fir, spruce and birch trees.
The industrial style architecture continues within the stairwell which has a continuous stainless steel perforated tread and a balustrade made from steel framing and stainless steel tension cables.
Upstairs, in the dining room, the downstairs fireplace flu makes a dramatic industrial statement.
The steel, glass, concrete, ceramic tiles and fireplace flu are purposely left exposed as a way of story telling and this visual recording of the home’s history was an important and integral design decision to establish the essence of Shokan House.
Aside from the massive dining area, this level also holds the kitchen, a library and two bedrooms all contained within “island” rooms so that the views stay front and centre. (There is a third bedroom off of the foyer downstairs).
The dining table is a huge, custom-made stainless steel industrial style design that easily sits 14 people. The kitchen is vertical grain, book-matched walnut similar to the foyer.
The library also has a custom stainless steel table and book-matched walnut millwork.
The office windows are fitted with perforated glare reducing blinds that blocks the sunlight without blocking the view and a back to back stainless steel vanity is built into a wall void framing the office.
The vanity is shared with a quiet room that includes a Murphy bed built into the wall cabinets.
When the Murphy bed is closed the only thing that gives it away is the horizontal hand pulls built directly into the woodworking. The white cube next to the chair is where a washroom is located.
The master bedroom is a similar design and is in the back of the building where there is 2nd storey ground level access.
Outside the master suite is a concrete terrace fitted with a large table and bench seating.
Below the master suite is where the downstairs guest room is located, with land on two sides and the garage behind it; this room has only one small window.
The downstairs guest room has everything a guest could want, a bed, TV viewing, a place to sit and work or eat and plenty of storage.
The concrete foundation sits on rock and the large expanses of glazings are fitted into Steel T sections, which are bolted into the foundation and support the open web joists that are spaced at 4ft intervals.
Photography by Brad Feinknopf
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