17430 Shelburne Road (1984)
The key to this house is its setting - a front yard with a drive that snakes through a grove of trees and a gracious, garden-bordered back yard. The original owner chose the lot for its many trees and commissioned Ernest Toth to design and build a sturdy, modestly proportioned house that would get along well with its site. The fieldstone band on the exterior of the house evidences the care taken by the architect/ builder: he hunted at length to find stones of just the right color for the visual transition from garden to wood frame.
When completed in 1954, the house, with no basement, had a split-shingle roof, parquet floors, a pottery studio, a darkroom, a screened porch, and a master bedroom on the first floor. This master bedroom remains unchanged and is an important feature for the current owners of the house who, with the help of architect Steve Bucchieri, undertook extensive renovation elsewhere on the first floor when they moved into the home in 1976.
To enhance the existing focus on the back yard and to give the living room a more open feeling, they tore out a wall and converted the pottery studio into a dining room with a full wall of glass overlooking the rear patio and, at the other end of the living room, turned the screened porch into an attached room with tall windows. The darkroom evolved into a roomy utility closet, while a cabinet-lined room was added on the north end of the house for quilt-making and other hobbies.
This compact house in the woods has been distinctively shaped by each of the families that have occupied it.