Limonaia on a French Country Estate

Tucked away in the estate’s extensive gardens, the limonaia was inspired by the client’s many sojourns through the gardens of Italy. The building, like a Palladian Villa, is a tripartite composition with attention focused on the center pavilion. Flaring stone scrolls draw further attention to the arched stone entry of this bay. On either side of the main entrance, decorative lead urns with bronze foliage sit atop Doric columns, whose capitals are inscribed with “A Day in a Garden” and “A Day in Paradise”. Fenestrated loggias link the center bay with two end pavilions with arched openings. Hand-crafted bronze gates, accented with lemon tree branches, fill the arches and complement the center urns. The sophisticated metalwork adds a sense of detail and grace. Rusticated stonework and graduated slate roofs unite the composition and relate the building to its bucolic setting.

The interior of the limonaia reflects the building’s composition in terms of its layout and simplicity. The center pavilion and loggias become a linear space for the storage of citrus trees during the cold-weather months. Flagstone floors and stucco walls are carried throughout. Stucco arches, with decorative stone impost blocks, delineate the space. Operable picture windows flood the pavilion with both light and air. Reclaimed hand-hewn wood rafters and ceiling boards add a rustic feel to the limonaia. The timber ceilings continue into the two end pavilions. One pavilion serves as the Potting Room and features an antique English carved limestone sink. The other pavilion is finished with stone walls and floors and serves as a passage to the estate’s garden paths and Main House.

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“This project touches on several design points: it is clear, simple, and beautiful, with exceptional materiality, detailing, and craftsmanship. It is a folly, but has a purpose:  it is the ultimate gift to the arts, in that the client was willing to engage an architect and artisans to realize and put forth a classical folly….”
— AIA CT Alice Washburn Award Juror

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