Homes designed by leading architects are usually only for the wealthy. However, beginning in 1994, Life magazine started what they called the Dream House project, in which six name-brand architects, Robert A.M. Stern, Michael Graves, and Hugh Newell Jacobsen among them, were tasked to design beautiful and affordable homes for the American middle class with plans that could be ordered through the mail. This house, located in unsung Ossining, N.Y., a suburban community along the Hudson River in Westchester County, about an hour and half’s drive out of midtown Manhattan, incorporates the plans for the 1997 American Dream House, which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright protégé John Rattenbury.
The owners of this house ordered the plans and set out to build the house of their dreams. And, everywhere you look, the house incorporates the kind of high-style Prairie architecture for which Wright is known, from its long, low rooflines, to its generous use of natural stonework and woodwork, curved lines, huge windows and an easy indoor-outdoor flow.
“The priority of a house is to honor the family within, not to impress the neighbors,” Rattenbury told Life back in 1997. Why not both? The property is now for sale, listed with Douglas Elliman agents Stacey Oestreich and Nancy Strong. Asking $1.25 million — ironically enough, more than most middle class Americans can nowadays afford — the property size is a generous 1.2 acres. There are serene views of Stillwater Lake from the covered deck, and the lake, just across the street, is private, swimmable, and can be used for non-motorized watercraft.
Inside the more than 4,300-square-foot spread, there are three bedrooms, four bathrooms, a study and an open-concept great room. Midcentury decorative nods include an iconic Poul Henningsen Artichoke light over the dining room table, dining chairs that resemble a mashup of Wright’s famous Barrel and Robie House chairs, and, hanging on the massive stacked stone fireplace, a contemporary artwork by Ashley Longshore. In the lower level there is a gym, a screening room, a multi-person sauna, and a wine cellar.
Though Wright would probably be shocked the kitchen is so visible to the main living spaces, he would still likely feel right at home in this house.