Architects Sarah Jefferys and Stewart Osborne, for about five years, would leave Brooklyn, New York, for Cornwall, Connecticut, renting a winter weekend getaway with their three young boys. They fell in love with the unique, unspoiled timelessness of the bucolic Litchfield Hills and wanted to buy a house. But with little to no real estate turnover in the area, they found a small three-bedroom, stone cottage with gorgeous mountain views and incredible potential.

The home showcases a unique approach to Connecticut countryside design, marrying the charming 1948 English-style stone cottage with a new, ultra-modern passive home addition. With very few modern, energy-efficient homes in the area, Sarah Jefferys Architecture + Interiors created a stunningly dramatic union of old and new that maximizes natural light and beckons in the lush landscape of the property and surrounding Mohawk Mountain State Park. 

Color, Character, & Contemporary Choices

Meticulously renovated by Sarah Jefferys, the 74-year-old stone cottage features two second-floor bedrooms and two bathrooms, each with unexpected details. A large living and dining room with a vaulted cathedral ceiling and original exposed wood beams serve as a cozy place for the family to gather in front of the minimalist fireplace. A bright orange and pink Jonathon Adler rug, along with Fabindia cushion covers, and sleek CB2 black pendants bring a unique character and warmth to the room. 

The stone cottage and addition become one where the original stone den, which features a teal and gold David Hicks honeycomb wallpaper, exposed joists, and an old fireplace, meets the new modern kitchen. This connection is a celebrated first-floor focal point of the home created to maximize views while bridging the differing ceiling heights between the old and new structures. 

Open Concept Kitchen & Dining

The open concept kitchen and dining room in the addition, which adjoins the den, features oversized Ikon windows and doors on both the north and south sides of the room, drawing the landscape through the house from front to back. The kitchen features Miele appliances and exclusively utilizes under-counter cabinetry to support this unobstructed intentional sightline, with the disappearing refrigerator tucked behind integrated pine panels.

Indoor/Outdoor Experience

Locally-sourced wide-plank pine flooring throughout the house wraps up the kitchen cabinets and forms vertical slats, screening the new stairway up to the second floor in the addition. A minimalist countertop design runs parallel to a generous four-seat Carrara waterfall island, while a playful modern dining table and bright yellow Eames chairs rest next to a grand floor-to-ceiling sliding glass door and under a translucent yellow oversized Kartell pendant, creating the illusion of dining with nature. The seamless indoor/outdoor experience is continued by the first-floor deck which extends off the kitchen, located under the cantilevered second floor, wrapping around to the back of the home. 

The second floor of the modern addition features two bedrooms, a study nook, and one full bathroom. Clad with horizontal cypress siding, the highlight of the modern addition is the two oversized corner windows, one off of each bedroom, that blur the lines between indoors and out. The minimalist, Scandinavian-inspired interior design of the addition allows the surrounding nature to dominate visual interest from every vantage point.

Energy-Efficient Construction

The passive home modern addition is airtight and features a fully-insulated building envelope using high-performance triple-pane Ikon windows and thermal bridge-free construction. This energy-efficient construction saves more than 70 percent of heating and cooling compared to typical code-compliant buildings in the USA.

A minimal heating and cooling system are used along with heat emissions from appliances and occupants to help keep the home at a comfortable and consistent indoor temperature. As a result, the passive design offers wonderful long-term benefits in addition to energy efficiency, including improved indoor air quality and a quiet, healthy home. 

Photos by Morten Smidt