An Architect and Designer’s Rightsized Home
August 14, 2022
One designer couple proves that when it comes to building the perfect house, bigger isn’t always better.
Text by Lisa H. Speidel Photography by Ryan Bent
Call it the Goldilocks dilemma, home renovation edition. After a major remodel to their Hyde Park, Vermont, house, architectural designer Milford Cushman and his wife, interior design specialist Terri Gregory, came to a hard realization: with four buildings and 5,000 square feet of gardens to tend, the property they’d called home for thirty-three years was just too big.
Cushman, founder and president of Cushman Design Group, is no stranger to the notion of smartly scaled houses that meet—but don’t exceed—their occupants’ needs. “We are very skilled at designing ‘just big enough’ houses,” he says, which he explains as “a way to describe an in-depth and very intentional design process centered around what we need.” This ethos is a defining tenet of his firm and even has its own page showcasing past projects on the Cushman website.
When it came to being mindful of intention, there were several things that Cushman and Gregory sought in their new build, namely a house, also in Hyde Park, that would capitalize on the winter light, be fully accessible for aging in place, and would adhere to a $230-per-square-foot building cost. “Just big enough,” explains Cushman, “also means being respectful of a budget.”
To hit that goal, builder Gregory Construction used efficient cuts of wood and common materials; all the walls and ceilings of the 2,300-square-foot house are Sheetrock, the windows are cost-effective Andersen 100 Series, and the exterior is eastern white pine. The design, however, is anything but common. Take the roof, for example: Terri Gregory had admired a shed roof on another project and wanted the same for her own house. The standing-seam metal roof slopes and overlaps, and a large triangular-shaped piece connects the house with a three-bay garage while simultaneously creating an exaggerated overhang at the front entry.
Inside, the main level comprises the living and dining rooms, kitchen, and primary bedroom and bath, as well as a screened porch to take in the bucolic views. To tread as lightly as possible on the land, the screened porch and bedroom are both built on posts over ledge in the ground. This same eye to sustainability is exhibited with the furnishings, all of which (except the dining table and chairs) are from the couple’s previous home.
The resulting house—a contemporary take on midcentury modern design—is not too big, not too small. In fact, it is just right.
Architectural, interior, and landscape design: Milford Cushman, Terri Gregory, Cushman Design Group
Builder: Tell Gregory, Gregory Construction