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.
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.
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.