A major upgrade to the Emmet Carter website incorporating recent green design projects prominently features Rosslyn. I’ll excerpt a few descriptions and some of photographer Nancie Battaglia’s interior images in the post below.
Welcome to Rosslyn
Rosslyn is a stately Federal home on the shore of Lake Champlain in Essex, NY. This circa 1823 property, includes a turn-of-the-century Eastlake inspired boat house, an expansive carriage house, an ice houe, and thirty acres of sprawling Adirondack gardens, orchards, meadows, forests and cross country ski trails. (Emmet Carter)
The detailed trim work and built-ins throughout the room are all new, customized to match existing Federal wood patterns in the home, and comprised of FSC woods and with no toxic glues. Green design details throughout including: rugs are hand made wool from Tibet, the floors are new FSC beech wood, the couches are custom and entirely organic, the white upholstered chairs are sustainable from Lee, and the French chairs are antique and re-upholstered with natural linen and a cotton jute batting. The coffee table was handmade of walnut by the owner’s brother. All the fabrics in the room are natural and organic and all the wood and paint finishes are natural and non-toxic. Two original fireplaces transformed into gas stoves heat the room on demand for company and in-floor hydronic radiant heat stands by for additional warmth though even in frigid winters has never turned on because of the efficient and warm rooms that surround on all sides.
The west wall of the living room and the Xian Warrior replica from China look onto the screened porch addition. The paneling is new and inspired from the house’s existing trimwork and other historic Federal precedent. The windows and french doors are new, efficient, double glazed from Marvin. The sconces are antique from the Federal period, and the side chairs are antique french (from a Parisian flea market), re-upholstered in a french inspired cotton toile fabric. The floors are FSC beech with a non-toxic sealer. (Emmet Carter)
Rosslyn’s dining room served as the previous owner’s wood working shop in the decades prior to our rehabilitation, but enough details remained (or were reconstructed from drawings and photographs) to return this elegant space to its former glory.
Dining Room Cabinet
The custom built-in storage piece by a local craftsman was the perfect solution for a small space and a great need for barware storage beside the bar and dining room. It mimics the shape and detailing of the window opposite it, as does the new trim around the new door to the dining room. The lovely painting completmenting the area is by local artist Liz Wilson. The floor is new, local FSC cherry wood with a non-toxic finish. All the paints are non-toxic, no VOC. (Emmet Carter)
The fireplace is original and the mantel was a reproduction of the original trimwork from 1823, finished with no-VOC paint. The painting above the fireplace is by local Adirondack artist, Paul Rossi. The curtains are inspired by Federal patterns, and comprised of an embroidered silk from Kravet and tassle trim by Samuel and Sons, and are doubly interlined with natural cotton for thermal barrier from lakefront wind. The chair is antique French from a Parisian flea market, upholstered in a green silk velvet. The corner piece of salvaged wood was handcrafted in the Adirondacks by the owner’s brother. It opens to reveal a mini bar, glassware and bottled spirits. (Emmet Carter)
This eight foot wide new addition, in the footprint of an historic porch, now mirrors the existing wing on the other side of the house to add symetry to the Federal house. Additionally, it offers space for a bar, half bath, mudroom and staircase to the finished basement. Green design features include the double paned Marvin windows which offer nice views of the lake and south yard, allow large amounts of sunlight to warm the house in winter, and large breezes to enter in the summer. The new addition also insulates the large, historic living room. The honed marble floors conceal efficient radiant heat, and the customized bar cabinet is recessed into the area where an exterior window once stood. Recycled PaperStone tops the bar area and half bath vanity down the hall. (Emmet Carter)
This is our favorite place for meals during the day, with a view of the north lawn, stone walls, birdfeeder and lake. The table is antique, probably from a farm, complete with multiple knife indentations, the placemats are handmade from sea grass, the irregular ceramic dinnerwear is from Viva Terra and the glass candle holders that are continually used are made by the nearby and talented Vermont company, Simon Pierce.
Four framed art pieces depict the four seasons of China, and the Marvin double paned windows depict our four seasons of the Adirondacks. The seat cushions were custom made of organic cotton, the background bench was hand carved in the Adirondacks by the owner’s brother and organic fruit and drink complete the natural setting. (Emmet Carter)
Though the architect insisted that the existing kitchen be bumped out for a better lake view, and alternatively suggested putting it in the historic living room for an open kitchen, family space, we reminded him that we would not be disturbing the historic footprint of the Federal home and that our “family” consisted of the two of us and a dog. Therefore, though he thought the space entirely too small for a kitchen, we used it as such, as it had been for many years, and it is the perfect size for two people who do a great deal of cooking and entertaining.
Our eight year old nephew chose the color, which reminded him of green apples and grapes. It worked, and around the green walls we added custom wheat board non-toxic cabinetry and trim with Federal details, and granite from India (Okay, the only green design aspect of these countertops is the color, considering the fossil fuels that it took to haul the stone here, but the surface is very practical, beautiful and resembles marble more than granite, and we’re big fans of India having recently visited there). The floor is new FSC beech wood, the fabric all linen from Schumacher and Zoffany, and the stove is a white Viking. We achieved the lake view after all by putting a second sink in the island which faces onto the adjoining rooms’s lakefront windows. (Emmet Carter)
Rosslyn’s master bedroom spent several decades as a demo’ed-to-the-studs, leaky, uninsulated storage space for construction materials, firewood, tools, and miscellaneous household odds and ends. I’ll add a post eventually that chronicles the full evolution of our bedroom, from dismal dump into our favorite room in the house. With windows on three sides, matched fireplaces, elegant but functional built-ins, a private balcony and a magnificent morning and afternoon view this space has become an oasis of calm and privacy.
And that sofa at the end of the bed? A cozy seat with a view, yes, but first and foremost it serves as throne for King Griffin, our Labrador Retriever. Although, as you can see in the photo above, why occupy the throne when the bed’s even softer and more spacious?!?!
The master bathroom is an indulgence. All of the bathrooms were well finished, but for our own private space we wanted to capture some of our favorite elements – voluminous, marble mosaic tiled shower, handsome soaking tub, paired sinks, radiant heat and towel bar, and a separate commode room – into a comfortable and minimalist bathroom. We also designed a custom cabinet that now stands between the two windows to store toiletries and balance the white massing. All told, we feel super pampered every time we brush our teeth or wash up.
This room features all natural and organic fabrics, an antique Italian chair and English dresser, paired with a locally made Vermont bed and side tables (with no toxic finishes). The high bed allows guests to look out of the large windows to the enchanting Lake Champlain and Vermont Green mountains. Guests can adjust the window treatments to allow the flood of light at dawn into the room fully with the windows exposed, or to allow a filtered light with sheer linen roman shades, or to witness it at a later hour by closing the doubly insulated full length curtains. In the winter the insulated panels block any drafts from the lake. The matching bedside lamps are repurposed vases brought back by hand from China and inspired the room’s color scheme and the silk rug and curtains. (Emmet Carter)
This bathroom arrived as an afterthought, and was carved out of the room that housed the master bath. Though its adjoining room is a study, it might easily be used as a bedroom by the current or future owners, so it seemed prudent to add an adjoning bathroom for convenience and resale value. At the top of the stairs it also works well as an additional bathroom for overnight guests, dinner guests or party guests. The rich brown limestone and white ceramic subway tiles add contrast, warmth and pep to a small space, and the gentleman who occupies the office next door appreciates the definitively masculine room complete with some of his favorite artwork and reading materials. (Emmet Carter)
Attic Guest Bedroom
We removed the dropped ceiling in the attic guest bedroom, trimmed out the beams and added built-ins (with FSC wood and no toxic glues) for maximum storage and efficiency.
Green design elements include the solid wood bed and tables are were custom made nearby in Vermont with a non-toxic natural oil finish while the chair is a re-upholstered antique, and the decorative dresser was made in India.
All paints and finishes are non-toxic and VOC free, all the fabrics are from natural fibers and the wool rug is completely non-toxic as well.
Because the stairway to the attic is very narrow, a normal king mattress would not fit, so we purchased an organic natural rubber king that comes in pieces, enabling easy transport up to the room.
This quiet bedroom, surrounded by in-wall sugar beet foam insulation and the inviting bed, wrapped in soft organic fabrics ensure that guests never want to leave. (Emmet Carter)
Attic Guest Bathroom
The attic guest bathroom is popular with guests. The inspiration, from the owner’s love of the Caribbean and the Lake Champlain waters that lie beyond its walls, led to a waterlike color scheme with recycled glass tiles and nautical fixtures. The deep tub, hand friendly fixtures and large tiled surrounding allow easy bathing for visiting children and luxurious soaks for visiting adults (the floor features a suite of kid and adult guest rooms). The large surrounding also distributed the weight of the tub over a larger area in the third floor of an old home. The double sink vanity features a clean white marble. A seperate third sink and toilet are down the hall allowing multiple guests access to sinks at the same time. Everyone’s favorite feature is the recycled floor tiles, which, with rounded edges feel delightful under bare feet. (Emmet Carter)
What Did I Miss?
There are other spaces (like a small gym, a pantry/laundry and a “bunk room” for visiting children) that aren’t included in this post. I’ll include a few additional interior photographs from this series below, and one of these days I’ll also add a post with all of Nancie Battaglia’s exterior photographs of the house plus her images of the outbuildings. But for now, I’ve already maxed out the page load time, right? Onward!
- Mallard Jacuzzi (rosslynredux.com)
- Vintage Photo: Kestrel at Rosslyn Boathouse (essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Essex Ferry to Vermont (rosslynredux.com)
- About the Adirondack Coast Wine Trail (timesunion.com)
- Toxin Alert: Common Household Items to Avoid for Better Indoor Air Quality (onegreenplanet.org)