An architect-turned-falconer considers animals and nature when designing his own home. Overlooking the Hudson River, Allan Shope’s nearly 3,000-square-foot sustainable home features handmade furniture and an undulating floor, all crafted from the site’s felled black walnut trees. Shope and his wife carefully designed an eco-friendly landscape: For instance, they did not fell any tree with holes that could support an owl’s nest. They also planted flower species that feed hummingbirds and monarch butterflies. Shope laid out the pathway of reclaimed granite slabs that leads toward the Hudson River below. To deter all bird collisions, his home’s Ornilux windows use a specialized inner coating to reflect ultraviolet light visible to the birds but invisible to the human eye.
The interiors strike with adorable rich-colored walnut wood used everywhere, from floors and walls to the furniture. The black walnut floor to fit like a jigsaw puzzle. I totally love all those natural cracks in the wood, they look so natural and so beautiful – beauty is in imperfections, you know. The owner loves to give second lives to things and use reclaimed and recycled materials as much as possible, that’s why simple brass screws that affix the bathroom’s antibacterial copper cladding were reclaimed from a barn roof in Connecticut. Bronze screen frames, salvaged from buildings on Shope’s Amenia property and then cut into small decorative strips, line the bathroom door frame. The home is open to the valley to get maximum of the Hudson River views and fully experience the seasons, even the sound of the Hudson River’s ice cracking in winter. The owner and architect of the house sets ecological responsibilities higher than human needs and he managed to show that following this principle you can still get a marvelous dwelling.