Architect Hugh Hardy restored Radio City Music Hall, put a new gloss on baseball’s shrine in Cooperstown – and made a mistake in his Berkshire retreat that he does not regret one bit.
Hardy loves that the small kitchen, with its propane stove, is part of the hallway connecting the home’s wings, additions to the original retreat. This utilitarian kitchen is such a success because hungry diners can quickly load their plates and head down the hall of one wing and into the two-level exposed-beam living room, a space that offers views of the 26.5-acre compound that Hardy and his architect wife, Tiziana, have been perfecting over the past 40 years. Or partygoers can head the other way, into the wing where a loft that serves as the master bedroom (or a perch for a band) overlooks a large open space now used as a living and dining area.
Hugh Hardy’s architectural mark is evident throughout the house: Two plaster decorative pieces from his renovation of New York City’s New Amsterdam Theatre hang above the wood-burning stove, and he constructed towers in the main house and outbuildings that are reached by narrow internal ladders. Those towers reward the courageous with a glorious view of the gardens, the his-and-hers toolsheds (hers is the larger), and sculptures. The house is in the village of Ashley Falls, about two hours from both New York City and Boston as a really juiced-up baseball flies.
Roughly three-quarters of the main house is truly a summer home; it’s not insulated. The space was designed to expand for three-season living and contract to a few rooms in winter to conserve energy.
But when the days are lovely, there’s an expansive deck, perfect to share a lunch complemented by home-grown tomatoes and basil, that lines the back of the house and overlooks the compound. Past the tree swing is an in-ground pool and the guesthouse (yes, it has a tower).
Attached to the guesthouse by a deck, the laundry building sports a secret office with the door cut into the shingles, making the entry invisible to all but those in the know.
Mimi Harson and John Harney of William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty are the Connecticut brokers and Tim Lovett of Berkshire Property Agents in Great Barrington is the Massachusetts broker.