In the pantheon of late-twentieth-century architecture gods, Philip Johnson occupies a particularly lofty throne. Like few other individuals, Johnson helped the Modernist aesthetic take root in America thanks to his position as founding head of MoMA’s Architecture Department during the 1930s, as well as the buildings he designed over his subsequent career as an architect.
Among Johnson’s most celebrated structures is “The Glass House,” a country getaway he built for himself in New Canaan, Connecticut, in 1949. That same year, the architect produced a very similar but much less well-known residence on the shores of Lake Champlain in the Adirondacks.
Only the fifth house of his career, and one of just 12 Johnson-designed single-family dwellings that still exist, the Lake Champlain home was commissioned by a young couple, George Eustis Paine Jr. and his wife, Joan Widener Leidy Paine, both of whom hailed from immensely wealthy families prominent in East Coast society.
Located far from the madding crowd on a lushly wooded 20-acre lot, the Paine residence consists of a pair of rectangular structures connected by a walk-way. All told, there are six bedrooms and four bathrooms within the home’s 3,812 square feet of living space. As with the architect’s famous New Canaan residence, the most crucial element here is glass and plenty of it, in deference to the greatest architect of all — Nature.
At the rectangular residence’s center, a long bank of floor-to-10-foot-ceiling glass panels frame heart-stopping views of the lake and Vermont’s Green Mountains on one side and of the sylvan setting on the other. Other notable features include a substantial masonry fireplace, hardwood floors, and a kitchen that’s been updated with Viking, Bosch, and JennAir appliances, but still has its original soapstone and steel sinks.
Per the listing, a third structure in a complementary architectural style was added to the grounds in 2006, providing a game room and boat storage. There’s also a large floating dock system and boat launch ramp.
Last sold in 2006 for $999,000, the pedigreed property is listed with JoAnna Giltner of Covered Bridge Realty at an asking price of $3.5 million.