Eileen Naughton longed for an old farmhouse that her family could claim as a weekend escape from city living. After a fruitless round of house-hunting, the Manhattan media executive and her investment banker husband, Craig Chesley, discovered a sylvan acreage (and no house) overlooking the Hudson River Valley. "I had goose bumps," Eileen remembers. "We said 'We've got to do this!'"
They hired architect Jimmy Crisp to create a modern farmhouse that fits into its pastoral surroundings.
Crisp designed a 3,800-square foot, two-story clapboard home that melds traditional style with kid-friendly conveniences. It also offers a variety of indoor and outdoor family gathering areas for relaxing and entertaining. "Craig and I have high-pressure jobs," Eileen explains. "But the minute we get here, the whole world slows down. Weekends feel longer."
The house and gardens encourage laid-back living. "I wanted a touchstone that would be a great place for family joy and gatherings with friends," says Eileen, whose weekend passion is gardening. Patrick, 14, Leah, 12, and Emma, 11, splash in the pool while Craig swims laps. And the whole family enjoys time on the wide wraparound porches – 1,500 square feet in all.
The farmhouse exterior belies the loft-inspired open floor plan inside, designed with kids in mind. Rooms flow seamlessly into one another, allowing the parents to easily keep tabs on the children. "You can basically stand at one end of the house and almost see end to end," Crisp says.
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