ORCHARD HOUSE (AZZARONE RESIDENCE), LATTINGTOWN NY - This residence was designed for a middle aged couple who purchased the stone-walled apple orchard from a defunct North Shore, Long Island Great Estate as the site for a secluded but easily accessible country home. The unique property and the couple’s requirements for a leisurely paced lifestyle presented two immediate goals: first, a composition which would resolve the construction of an easily maintained house on a site that lies well below the road with the plan of a home for people whose active days were behind them; and second, the architectural necessity of designing a building which would have meaning and yet not overwhelm the surrounding scale and feeling already set by nature.
A simple two story structure evolved, one which concentrated all the required everyday activities on the Upper Level while the Lower or Garden Level is reserved for more active guests and grandchildren. Formal entrance to the house is reached across a concrete bridge over an evergreen landscaped hillside which blooms in springtime, while easy access to the garage and street is provided directly under covered walks from the house. The feeling of seclusion and privacy is maintained by the hillside which separates the house from the street, by the high stone wall which encloses the garden, and by the great number of lovely trees and double line of tall hedgerows on the West or street side.
Outdoor living is provided on the upper level with two garden oriented terraces. From above, the owners have the enjoyment of the garden from its most exciting vantage point amidst the tops of the trees. By the use of large areas of glass in the form of sliding doors, one can open the whole Upper Level to the out-of-doors, seeing and breathing the continuously changing landscape in all the seasons. In winter, one sees the snow covered hills beyond across the tops of the defoliated trees feeling the sense of security within the enclosed house while experience no difficulty in reaching civilization if one needed. In springtime, the fragrant apple blossoms appear at the glass providing delight for both sight and smell. In the summer, one can pick apples off the trees from the Living Room. And in the Fall, the beautiful color of the leaves form nature’s own wall paper on the windows.
A gradually curving and easily sloped ramp was designed leading from the concrete bridge down through the hillside garden to the existing old iron gates which form the entrance through the stone walls into the enclosed garden and apple orchard. Outdoor living on the garden level is enhanced by the ornamental pool, the gravel lined walks under the apple trees, and the covered terrace. A dumbwaiter was included in the house for easy serving between the Upper and Garden Levels.
In answer to the clients’ request for an easily maintained home, a concrete structure was designed with three vaulted roofs, gently arched to assume the outline of the top shaping of the lines of apple trees. Glass and warm tones of iron spot brick cavity walls were used to complement the concrete of the exterior, while natural cherry paneling was used with the brick and concrete interior. Naturally oxidized copper was used for the large open fireplace in the Living Room.