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Tree Hugger

The Kent design blends in and pops from its surroundings



Photos by David Sundberg/Esto

At first sight, it might seem that the Bridge House—a minimalist, modern house situated on a 300-foot ridge in Kent—is jarringly out of place with the pastoral countryside of Colonial farmhouses and rustic barns. But it was the very heart and soul of the landscape that inspired Greenwich architect Joeb Moore to design a 5,000-square-foot weekend home that blends ethereally into the natural environment. 

The project began more than seven years ago when the current homeowners were looking for a getaway retreat from Manhattan. After discovering Kent, they found a 15-acre lot surrounded by meadow and woods with panoramic views of boulder-crested mountains. They decided almost instantly to purchase the property, but building a residence to suit the terrain would take another several years to complete from design to finish.

The owners wanted the house to have plenty of natural light and to be modern, with a nod toward architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright believed in designing structures that were in harmony with humanity and the environment, a philosophy that is referred to as “organic” architecture. One of Wright’s strongest examples of organic is Falling Water, a private residence he designed near Pittsburgh that was constructed with a stream and waterfall running under part of it. “My ideas of ‘organic’ are quite different from Wright’s,” Moore says. “Each of the our projects is unique, but each has a key idea or spatial concept that is the driver behind the form and spaces.”

Moore developed the concept for the Bridge House after thoughtfully studying the topography in Kent. The ridge on the property parallels the Houstonic River and Kent Falls State Park. Moore’s impression of the Kent Falls and the more historic covered bridges of the area largely inspired the conceptual bridge design. But one challenge in designing the house was making it fit into the existing landscape and its natural surroundings. At the same time, Moore wanted to transform the view and site so that the house would have unexpected views and connections to both near and far landscapes.

“So we invented a strategy where the building becomes a bridge, springing out of the sloping topography. As the house takes on form and volume it turns and spans across the landscape, which rolls directly under it and down the hillside,” he says. “Much like old New England barns or houses that were built buried into the slope of a hill, the Bridge House burrows into the hill and natural landscape and then leaps above the land and bridges over it.”

On the lower-level, where there is an outdoor living room, homeowners can burrow into a space, that includes an outdoor kitchen facility, dining, and a remote movie-screen; above, in the living area, you feel as if you are in a tree. The house design also protects the surrounding environment because the structure was positioned to minimize disturbance and to optimize natural light without excessive solar gain. Planted swales, permeable paving, and natural stone work to filter storm water, and an extensive irrigation and drainage system was also installed. Radiant heat, high efficiency cooling, filtration and water systems also keep the environmental impact low.

Bringing the outdoors inside was central to the design. A series of floor-to-ceiling panes of glass along walls of the living and dining areas create a light screen with panoramic views. The covered porches and horizontal louvers control solar and light and to help soften the space, and prevent overheating.

Interior spaces are also minimal in design, and decorated with the work of local artists including Kent painter Ed Martinez. “We designed and selected furnishings that had straight lines, classic proportions, made with elegant materials,” says interior designer Ann Nicholas, of CRC, Inc. Recessed walls, sleek, dark-stained wooden floors, and architectural features like a floating coat closet at the foyer entrance, evoke a clean and open feel. 

“On a experiential level, we wanted to have the entrance foyer both to allow you to see right through the house into the distance but also turn your eye up toward the blue skies and clouds promoting a feeling of being suspended in mid-air as you entered the house,” Moore explains. 

The powder room is vibrant visual experience in itself. With a massive skylight, it also has a similar effect of drawing your eyes upward, while allowing light to flow downwards. It is a striking example of what Moore defines as “one of the house’s paths of discovery and mystery.” The giant skylight achieves the effect of shimmering, soft gold, and red sunlight beams. Moore describes the space as  “truncated pyramidal room.”   

Tree house, camp or cave, the Bridge House is a house that is like no other in Kent. It blends into landscape as if it belongs there, bridging the past with the present.

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May 2017

On Saturday, May 6, the Washington Art Association & Gallery will present Objectivity, an exhibition of sculpture and photographs. This exhibition will explore how five artists working in...

Cost: free

Where:
Washington Art Association & Gallery
4 Bryan Memorial Plaza
P.O. Box 173
Washington Depot, CT  06794
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Sponsor: Washington Art Association & Gallery
Telephone: 860-868-2878
Contact Name: Barbara von Schreiber
Website »

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Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
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Cost: Free!

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Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
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Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
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Contact Name: Megan Olver
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Cost: Free!

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Cost: Free!

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Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
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Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
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Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
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Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Tricia Messenger
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Cost: Free admission

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Kent Memorial Library
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Kent, CT
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On Saturday, May 6, the Washington Art Association & Gallery will present Objectivity, an exhibition of sculpture and photographs. This exhibition will explore how five artists working in...

Cost: free

Where:
Washington Art Association & Gallery
4 Bryan Memorial Plaza
P.O. Box 173
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Washington Art Association & Gallery
Telephone: 860-868-2878
Contact Name: Barbara von Schreiber
Website »

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There are several Memorial Day parades occurring throughout Litchfield. Come honor those who sacrificed to defend our freedoms. Bantam Memorial Day Parade 2:00 pm Bantam Center Goshen...

Cost: Free

Where:
Various Locations
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Cost: Free for Kent residents

Where:
Kent Land Trust
170 Kent Rd
Kent, CT  06757
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Website »

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Carol Moore is a lifelong resident of Litchfield, currently residing in Bantam. She is well-know in the area for her colorful, energy-charged paintings and pottery. Carol has always been drawn to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
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Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Tricia Messenger
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Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St.
Litchfield, CT  06759
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Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Tricia Messenger
Website »

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Cost: FREE

Where:
Litchfield Community Center
421 Bantam Road
Litchfield, CT  06759
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Telephone: 860-567-8302
Contact Name: Litchfield Community Center
Website »

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Sports and recreation are universal experiences. Whether we make it to the big leagues or never leave our backyards, these activities play important roles in our lives. They help us form...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
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View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit Thoughts, Words, and Deeds: Exploring the Litchfield Female Academy, on view April 22 through November 27, 2017...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

Carol Moore is a lifelong resident of Litchfield, currently residing in Bantam. She is well-know in the area for her colorful, energy-charged paintings and pottery. Carol has always been drawn to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Tricia Messenger
Website »

More information

On Saturday, May 6, the Washington Art Association & Gallery will present Objectivity, an exhibition of sculpture and photographs. This exhibition will explore how five artists working in...

Cost: free

Where:
Washington Art Association & Gallery
4 Bryan Memorial Plaza
P.O. Box 173
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Washington Art Association & Gallery
Telephone: 860-868-2878
Contact Name: Barbara von Schreiber
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On Saturday, May 6, the Washington Art Association & Gallery will present Objectivity, an exhibition of sculpture and photographs. This exhibition will explore how five artists working in...

Cost: free

Where:
Washington Art Association & Gallery
4 Bryan Memorial Plaza
P.O. Box 173
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Washington Art Association & Gallery
Telephone: 860-868-2878
Contact Name: Barbara von Schreiber
Website »

More information

Sports and recreation are universal experiences. Whether we make it to the big leagues or never leave our backyards, these activities play important roles in our lives. They help us form...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit Thoughts, Words, and Deeds: Exploring the Litchfield Female Academy, on view April 22 through November 27, 2017...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

Carol Moore is a lifelong resident of Litchfield, currently residing in Bantam. She is well-know in the area for her colorful, energy-charged paintings and pottery. Carol has always been drawn to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Tricia Messenger
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Litchfield Historical Society is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit Thoughts, Words, and Deeds: Exploring the Litchfield Female Academy, on view April 22 through November 27, 2017...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

Carol Moore is a lifelong resident of Litchfield, currently residing in Bantam. She is well-know in the area for her colorful, energy-charged paintings and pottery. Carol has always been drawn to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Tricia Messenger
Website »

More information

On Saturday, May 6, the Washington Art Association & Gallery will present Objectivity, an exhibition of sculpture and photographs. This exhibition will explore how five artists working in...

Cost: free

Where:
Washington Art Association & Gallery
4 Bryan Memorial Plaza
P.O. Box 173
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Washington Art Association & Gallery
Telephone: 860-868-2878
Contact Name: Barbara von Schreiber
Website »

More information

Sports and recreation are universal experiences. Whether we make it to the big leagues or never leave our backyards, these activities play important roles in our lives. They help us form...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Carol Moore is a lifelong resident of Litchfield, currently residing in Bantam. She is well-know in the area for her colorful, energy-charged paintings and pottery. Carol has always been drawn to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Tricia Messenger
Website »

More information

On Saturday, May 6, the Washington Art Association & Gallery will present Objectivity, an exhibition of sculpture and photographs. This exhibition will explore how five artists working in...

Cost: free

Where:
Washington Art Association & Gallery
4 Bryan Memorial Plaza
P.O. Box 173
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Washington Art Association & Gallery
Telephone: 860-868-2878
Contact Name: Barbara von Schreiber
Website »

More information

Sports and recreation are universal experiences. Whether we make it to the big leagues or never leave our backyards, these activities play important roles in our lives. They help us form...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit Thoughts, Words, and Deeds: Exploring the Litchfield Female Academy, on view April 22 through November 27, 2017...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

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PRIVET HOUSE BACKYARD SALE ONE DAY ONLY Steals and deals for the taking at the annual Privet House Backyard Sale. Shop antiques, vintage & mid-century furniture, as well as lighting,...

Cost: No admission fee

Where:
George Platt Field
16 Church Street
New Preston, CT  06777
View map »


Sponsor: Privet House
Telephone: 860.868.1800
Contact Name: Suzanne Cassano
Website »

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Anita Healy’s First Solo Show  “Breathe” June 3 through July 22 in Gunn Memorial Library Stairwell Gallery Reception June 17, 12p-2p Gunn Memorial Library...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gunn Memorial Library
5 Wykeham Road
Washington, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Gunn Memorial Library
Telephone: 860-868-7586
Contact Name: Sharon A Morrissey
Website »

More information

On Saturday, May 6, the Washington Art Association & Gallery will present Objectivity, an exhibition of sculpture and photographs. This exhibition will explore how five artists working in...

Cost: free

Where:
Washington Art Association & Gallery
4 Bryan Memorial Plaza
P.O. Box 173
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Washington Art Association & Gallery
Telephone: 860-868-2878
Contact Name: Barbara von Schreiber
Website »

More information

Torrington Historical Society will be partnering with the Connecticut State Library’s Remembering World War One project to hold a Digitization Day at the Society. They will be digitizing...

Cost: Free

Where:
Torrington Historical Society Carriage House Gallery
192 Main Street
Torrington, CT  06790
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy this great opportunity to visit amazing gardens, buy the best plants, enjoy special programming, and to spark enthusiasm in gardeners of all ages. Four gardens will be open on this...

Cost: $7 per garden

Where:
Locations Vary
, CT


Sponsor: The Garden Conservatory
Website »

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Come and learn the art of fresh pasta making with former Chef instructor at Lincoln Culinary Institute and Connecticut Culinary Institute, Chef Joe Mele. MENU: Ravioli al Uova w/ Sage Butter...

Cost: $65

Where:
The Silo
44 Upland Road
New Milford, CT  06776-2199
View map »


Website »

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Please join us as we celebrate our talented Young Writers of 2017. The event begins at 5:00pm with a festive cocktail reception and silent auction followed by the readings of exceptional...

Cost: $75 and up

Where:
The Gunnery
22 Kirby Road
Washington, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: ASAP!
Telephone: 860-868-0740
Contact Name: Jenn Pote
Website »

More information

Sports and recreation are universal experiences. Whether we make it to the big leagues or never leave our backyards, these activities play important roles in our lives. They help us form...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

Carol Moore is a lifelong resident of Litchfield, currently residing in Bantam. She is well-know in the area for her colorful, energy-charged paintings and pottery. Carol has always been drawn to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Tricia Messenger
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit Thoughts, Words, and Deeds: Exploring the Litchfield Female Academy, on view April 22 through November 27, 2017...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

Show More...
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