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Nancy Felcetto

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Essay In Transparency Hudson Valley Glass House For Sale

As you drive a quarter-mile past farmland and head into a dense New York forest, you might expect to come upon a ranch or farmhouse, not a glass house.

But this single-story, 2,638-square-foot house is just that—glass. Called the Gefter-Press House in Ghent, NY, it could be yours for $1,950,000.

“It’s stunning,” says Nancy Felcetto Horowitz, sales director of Halstead Property in Hudson Valley, NY. “The glass creates a lifestyle; it makes you feel like you’re outside.”

Horowitz likens the three-bedroom, two-bathroom home to “going underwater in a glass box.” You feel like you’re part of the sea but protected from the elements.

Michael Bell, an architect and a professor at Columbia University, built the house in 2007. The homeowners, Phillip Gefter and Richard Press, commissioned Bell after seeing his work in the “Un-private House” exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art

Although the house is made of glass, you’ll never feel truly exposed. It is situated in what Gefter describes as “the center of a doughnut,” with the forest creating a natural barrier for privacy.

“The shower faces a 9-by-5-foot pane of glass, and we shower there all the time without worry of being seen,” Gefter said. So you could walk around the house naked if you like, according to the listing notes.

The design of the house was inspired by Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House in Plano, IL, and Phillip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan, CT.

“We used the Farnsworth House as a point of departure,” Gefter said. The owners wanted their home to be like the “next iteration of the Farnsworth House.”

The house forms a kind of U shape around a patio area that’s perfect for entertaining guests or enjoying late-night cocktails, says Gefter.

“By day, and particularly at night, [you] can see rooms from one side of the house to the other. But sitting on the patio, you can look into the bedroom wing, and it’s lit up like a diorama. It’s its own exhibition in a way,” says Gefter.

The house’s natural setting and workspaces are ideal for creative types—and the owners speak from experience. Gefter is a photographer and writer, and Press is a screenwriter. They are selling the house to pursue business opportunities in California.

“I love the way my perception is constantly being challenged depending on where I’m standing. The reflections against the glass are always changing depending on the weather, the season, the clouds, the sunlight,” Gefter said.

In this house, nature isn’t just seen through a window. The rural property envelops you in nature—all 12.7 acres of it.

The house is located in Columbia County, which is about a two-hour commute to New York City. Many homes in the area are ranches and farmhouse, but modern-style houses are popping up more often, according to listing agent DeWayne Powell.

“We’re starting to see a lot of creativity,” Powell said. “The landscape is so beautiful, it lends itself a more modern approach to building.” Powell notes it could be a perfect vacation home for those seeking to be closer to nature.

If this is the home for you, bring your toothbrush and check your privacy hang-ups at the (glass) door.

Monday, April 20, 2015