This dual weekend getaway and workshop allows a New York City architect and her husband to recharge and create.

In New York’s Hudson Valley, two hours outside of New York City, architect Marica McKeel of Studio MM and her husband Brock fell in love with the idea of building their own private retreat from the city. They looked at several properties, but ultimately settled on a wooded parcel in Kerhonkson, New York. In addition to proximity to the city, making weekend getaways practical, the couple was drawn to the parcel’s 10 acres, serene creek running through the property, and undulating wooded terrain.

More than simply a relaxing place to escape, the home would be a creative sanctuary for Marica and Brock to get their hands dirty designing, making, and tinkering. With both a dedicated workshop and garage in the lower level, Marica would have space for woodworking and furniture making, and Brock for working on antique cars. “This house is about the things that we love to do, my husband and I. It’s about our hobbies, and what we can do here that we can’t do in the city,” says McKeel. It is for this reason the home was aptly named Tinkerbox.

Positioned on a sloping hillside, the home is built into the land. The lower level is reserved for Marica and Brock’s

Positioned on a sloping hillside, the home is built into the land. The lower level is reserved for Marica and Brock’s “play” space, a workshop and garage, while the upper level houses the bright and airy living quarters.

22 Waves Creative

The initial challenge, placing the home on the site, proved to be one of the biggest. Considering the sloping hillside, and their basic need for a two-level home, Marica and Brock decided to build the home into the land rather than on it. This would allow them to gain benefits of passive heating and cooling from the earth, as well as create the opportunity to place the rear deck on ground level, granting unrestricted access to the natural landscape beyond.

Many competing factors had to be carefully examined to position the home optimally in the hillside. Marica and Brock spent a lot of time on the property before finalizing any designs to observe the sun’s movement, and discover their favorite orientation and views. “In the evening where the sun sets is our favorite spot on the property,” says McKeel. “We kind of knew we wanted to open the house in that direction.” To capture these views, the team had to shift and tweak the home’s orientation like a puzzle, fine-tuning the placement within the context of the site. Eventually, they were able to reconcile competing elements to maximize the southern exposure, allow access to the garage on flat ground, and preserve some of the biggest oak and maple trees on either side of the home.

The south-facing facade, where the sun sets in the evening, is the couple’s favorite spot on the property. Creating expansive openings with this exposure allowed an intimate and inspiring connection with the wooded landscape.

The south-facing facade, where the sun sets in the evening, is the couple’s favorite spot on the property. Creating expansive openings with this exposure allowed an intimate and inspiring connection with the wooded landscape.

22 Waves Creative

The home

The home “is really about place, how it sits on the site, how it responds to the sun,” reflects McKeel.

22 Waves Creative

See the full story on Dwell.com: A Couple’s Scenic Getaway Built For Creating and Tinkering
in New York’s Hudson Valley

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