Panoramic Views and Indoor/Outdoor Living: Vermont River House by Wagner Hodgson

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This Norwich, VT, site, sits 30 feet above the Connecticut River — hence the name “River House” — and affords expansive views, so when the owners wanted a modern house and setting to take advantage of the locale, they called in Wagner Hodgson Landscape Architecture. The plan was simple: blur the lines between indoors and outdoors, making for seamless easy living and entertaining. Out of the design came the main house; guest house/boat storage building; terraces, pool, and outdoor shower; plus a putting green and fire pit. Approaching the house is a long concrete wall — wide enough for an informal bench — edging the walkway; notice ornamental grass trim that follows it (and kids on their way to adventure, no doubt). Local boulders, as well as river birch trees, also play a part in the natural décor of the entry.

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From a concrete façade, the house’s walls echo the same material; Ipe wood decking surrounds part of the pool opposite an architectural waterfall. Paving slabs are stepping stones toward the river; freestanding concrete walls provide privacy for the pool. The overall shape is that of squares and rectangles — except for those whimsical curvy chairs and table, set up for a cozy nighttime glass of wine or cup of coffee. Lines are clean, simple, and sleek — and the indoor/outdoor mix is clear, looking from an interior lounge area with relaxed leather chairs straight out to a deck with a parallel lounge set in wood and plush cushions. Finally, low-maintenance plants are the order of the day — thereby affording the family more time to enjoy a swim, a starlit river night, and the warmth of a fire around which to gather.

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Written by Janet Butler

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Janet W. Butler is a freelance writer, editor, and editorial consultant by day and a “small soprano” by night. An RWA Golden Heart Winner, she is the author of the inspirational romance From the Ashes (“the best little book no one’s ever heard of”), published by SANDS Publishing in 2001; and a romantic suspense, Voice of Innocence, from Desert Breeze Publishing. She is a Chicago native transplanted to northeast Indiana, where she lives with her husband, daughter, and Cassandra “Trouble” Butler, S.R.C. (Spoiled Rotten Cat).