Material considerations transform modest cottage

Material considerations transform modest cottage

by Barbara Capella Loehr

It's easy to talk the talk, but when Charles Hayman-Chaffey inventor of Nevamar, International Paper's Vitricor decorative acrylics redesigned his small, three-season cottage, he put his money where his mouth was. Or, in this case, he put his material where his home was. Unique and varied applications of the product became the focal point of the redesign, which aimed to transform the "modest woodland cottage into a showplace for entertaining."

Hayman-Chaffey enlisted the help of New York, NY-based architect Paul Buckhurst and Elizaville, NY-based E & D Construction, which took on the role of general contractor for the extensive project.

According to Buckhurst, Hayman-Chaffey not only wanted the new design to include several different applications of the Vitricor material, but to also reflect his interest in Feng Shui building and space design, integrating the concept's "harmonic elements into [the] home." Thus, the new front door faces true East, and the river it overlooks flows past and away from the home, says Buckhurst. The choice of yellow and red interior accent colors was also influenced by Feng Shui, adds Buckhurst.

Starting from scratch
Buckhurst took the existing floor plan of the original structure, and opened it up to form a 36'x42' great room. It now acts as the "hub for gracious living and entertaining," comments Buckhurst, and accommodates the busy lifestyle of Hayman-Chaffey.

Buckhurst maintained "an air of openness" in the great room by dividing the space into several areas, each with different focal points, via the room's furnishings. The layout seamlessly incorporates several integral, yet distinct, areas into this grand space: a fireplace area, an entertainment center, a semi-private sitting area and a kitchen.

The great room also offers a spectacular view of the surrounding woods and lawn, bringing the outdoors inside with its sliding glass doors and solid maple flooring, constructed from trees cut and milled in the local area, and finished with a "basketball court" gloss, notes Buckhurst. "The great room opens out into a full-size swimming pool on one side, and a large 90' deck on the other," notes Buckhurst.

Since Buckhurst's design called for the sprawling great room, the cottage's existing bedrooms and bath area which occupied the area had to be removed. So, Buckhurst created a completely new wing that features a master bedroom with a bath, a guest room with a bath and a utility room.

A new look surfaces
Buckhurst, under the guidance of Hayman-Chaffey, turned his attention to where, exactly, he would apply the Vitricor surfacing material. Hayman-Chaffey wanted to employ it throughout the design of his newly expanded cottage, noting the material's soft, reflective quality, which could easily be incorporated into many areas of the home.

With that in mind, Buckhurst utilized a great deal of the material in his design, applying it to walls, countertops and tables, as well as other furnishings even using it on the vertical blinds that adorn 
the home. Together with Hayman-Chaffey, Buckhurst "created a fanciful space that literally dances with light," according to Hayman-Chaffey. Even the beams and joists in the great room showcase the material, notes Buckhurst.

In the kitchen area of the great room, Buckhurst placed plain white Vitricor panels on the walls, "making them extremely easy to clean," notes Buckhurst. "The cabinets feature a remarkably life-like black marble Vitricor pattern, contrasted by a bright yellow countertop surface that also serves as a breakfast bar," explains Buckhurst.

The Vitricor applications blend well with Buckhurst's choice of a Garland range, a GE refrigerator and Maytag dishwasher which all accommodate Hayman-Chaffey's penchant for entertaining. Says Buckhurst, "Since much of Hayman-Chaffey's entertaining revolves around dinner parties and cooking, the kitchen area is visible, and easily accessible, to the rest of the great room."

Expanding on the Vitricor theme, Buckhurst also fashioned several large furniture pieces throughout the home, including a vanity in the master bath "that incorporates a highly reflective woodgrain pattern," says Buckhurst. That same vanity is accented by a faucet supplied by Grohe.

Vitricor was employed in all of the bathrooms in the home. Adds Buckhurst, "Bathroom showers are flanked by floor-to-ceiling Vitricor shower surrounds that feature photographic or abstract designs, such as tropical fish, providing the otherworldly sensation of taking a shower while under water."
Buckhurst's liberal use of the unique material throughout the woodland cottage, combined with an extensive redesign, resulted in the transformation of a basic weekend get-away home into an entertaining showplace. 

Notes Buckhurst, "The new wing of the 'Vitricor House' has been designed to provide a more private space for the family and their guests."

Indeed, Hayman-Chaffey agrees, remarking, "Together with the construction of a guest apartment and garage on the property, [the home is] a surprising and stunning residence [set] in the heart of the Hudson River Valley."