Project: Dower Farm
Location: Peapack, NJ

Windigo was hired to restore and design additions to this turn of the century farmhouse, originally part of the Blairsden Estate. Because of the complexity involved in the renovation of a historical structure, Windigo was on site throughout the construction process to view the existing conditions and make design decisions on the fly.

Windigo designed a new rear entry to create a better flow between the kitchen and the exterior as well as the renovation of a bedroom and an office with custom built-in cabinetry. The redesign of the bedroom “tower” emphasizes the whimsical nature of the rear facade, while maintaining the language of the existing classical architecture through materials and articulation. The extensive restoration also include a new red tin roof with built-in eave troughs, three fireplaces and chimneys, and upgrades to the HVAC, electrical, and plumbing systems.

The second phase of the project included a new sunroom addition and restoration of the existing conditions. The existing enclosed porch was, perhaps, too much a part of the outdoors: there were multiple leaks, poorly operating patio doors, and lots of cold drafts in the winter. Visually, the sunroom greatly detracted from the historic farmhouse and looked too much like an addition. The design challenge was to create an all season sunroom that melds effortlessly with the existing home.

The new sunroom addition provides the homeowners with an improved flow of space between the kitchen and exterior patio. Windows from the kitchen and dining room into the sunroom allow for better day lighting and views. The sunroom acts as an “outdoor room” which, while protected from the elements and well connected to the interior rooms of the house, is still very much a part of the outdoor patio and opens up into the landscape.

The most prominent architectural features of the sunroom are the large windows that provide sweeping views of the farm. In addition to providing plenty of natural light and passive heating in the wintertime, the windows have been intentionally designed to frame some of the beloved features of the site, such as the old walnut tree. The sunroom also features skylights, which make the room feel like it is truly a part of the outdoors and opens up the space.

Although the sunroom is updated and features larger contemporary windows, the exterior of the sunroom respects the traditional details of existing farmhouse. The room features interior and exterior pillars in between each window, which evoke the classical turn of the century columns that prominently line the front facade. The original clapboard siding and windows on the exterior of the kitchen and dining room walls reinforce the notion of stepping out into an outdoor room.

The existing crawl space was also significantly improved and updated. The original crawl space was unusable as it was too shallow and could easily lead to water damage in the basement. The new sunroom addition incorporated the design of a more functional crawl space (right photo). The new space ensures a drier basement and allows for easier access to the electrical and mechanical utilities.

The completed renovations are part of a larger vision for Dower Farm that includes the restoration of the stone barn and the redesign of the driveway approach and entry sequence.