A magnificent glass house designed for a retired couple in the Berkshires

minimalist glass house exterior at dusk

Specht Novak Architects crafted this glass house for a retired couple seeking simplicity, nestled on a sprawling 9.75-acre grass field in the Berkshires, Massachusetts. Designed and built as a glass framed minimalist dwelling, a complete 180 from their previous ornate and fanciful cluttered home — a historic mansion.

The couple decided to furnish the new home with some of their found antiques and rare art collected over the years, creating an incredible juxtaposition between old and new. Continue below to see the rest of this sensational glass dwelling…

minimalist glass house exterior at dusk

They had a unique agenda for what they wanted in their new home. They had been living in an ornate, immaculately decorated 18th-century historic mansion on a large 40-acre property in Sheffield, Massachusetts. They decided they wanted to make a dramatic post-retirement change by simplifying and downsizing their lives.

modern great room

Embracing a minimalist, modern, aesthetic in their new living space, they hired Specht Novak Architects to design their new modern 2,000-square-foot home. Interestingly, they decided to keep and display the priceless art, antiques, and found objects collected over the course of their lives. This presented a unique architectural challenge of how to merge these contradictory aesthetics.

modern living room open to the kitchen

The property site was also unique. When selling off most of their original 40-acre estate, they kept a 9.75-acre parcel on which to build the new home. It was largely a fallow agricultural parcel fringed by large old-growth trees. The property site was a huge open field serving as a blank canvas for anything Specht Architects proposed. 

modern dining room and kitchen

“The architectural solution started with the approach sequence. From the main road, the property is entered through a grove of large trees and after cresting a gentle rise in the land, a pastoral field opens up before you,”  says Scott Specht, founding principal, Specht Novak.  “We decided to make the most of this procession by locating the house at the far end of the field, as distant from the entry as possible. We also created a symmetrical house that is oriented on axis with the entry road, so that as you emerge from the trees you see a perfectly balanced composition before you.”

modern kitchen

The house itself is an extreme departure from the owner’s previous residence. It is a 2,000-square-foot single-story pavilion that is largely glass, with a thin floating roof that cantilevers 15’ from the perimeter walls. This protects from the sun and wind, limiting the need for AC and heating. A wraparound porch mirrors the roof and also “floats” above the landscape. The interior is very open and spacious as the living, dining, and kitchen spaces form the center of the house with a bedroom suite on each end.

Above: The kitchen features high-end appliances from Sub-Zero and Wolf, Miele, and Liebherr. The plumbing fixtures are from Kohler.

modern kitchen

The house is a gallery for the owners’ vast collections. The finishes include huge, seamless porcelain wall and floor surfaces from Fiandre Architectural Surfaces and Transceramica, and European oak cabinetry throughout by Vormer Cabinetry, along with sleek quartz in the kitchen. Lighting is provided by tiny, high-output recessed LED fixtures that are nearly invisible, sourced from Flos. Light switches from Lutron. outlets and other devices are concealed to allow for as pristine a space as possible.

modern living room

The contrast of this minimalism with the heavy collection of ornate art and objects is dramatic and adds to the otherworldly aspect of the house. In-wall built-in storage holds many additional objects so that the owners can rotate the collection frequently.

modern fireplace

“We always questioned ourselves if we were up to the challenge of a new project and a new way of life, especially in our retirement. We evolved and refined our goals, becoming much more minimal — leaving behind all window treatments, privacy, clutter of wall switches and have embraced a new world of induction ovens, Google control lighting, and an app-controlled house,” says homeowner, Patrick Annunziata.

modern bedroom

“Scott gave us the suggestions and avenues of how to best utilize the homeowners’ antiques —- such as the 16th and 17th century forged fireside/kitchen tools hanging on the master bathroom wall and the ‘ Pantry Gallery Wall’ of the 17th, 18th, 19th-century paintings.  He created the corridor closets (behind the 10’ doors) where the overflow of precious personal treasures could be stored on glass shelves with LED  lighting, ‘showing off ‘ for all to enjoy. Our minimal modern glass house does not feel minimal, but rather spiritual. The living experience is full and ever-changing with the seasons, weather, and daily animal activity,” says Patrick.

modern bedroom with glass walls

What We Love: This modern glass house in the Berkshires not only offers a sanctuary for the homeowners but also serves as a harmonious extension of the surrounding natural landscape, creating a truly immersive living environment. With its minimalist design and expansive glass walls, it seamlessly integrates indoor and outdoor living, allowing its inhabitants to feel connected to nature at all times.

Tell Us: What details in this home do you find most interesting? Please share your thoughts in the Comments below!

Note: Be sure to check out a couple of other amazing home tours that we have highlighted here on One Kindesign in the state of Massachusetts: Luminous modern home surrounded by beautiful woods in Massachusetts and Modern countryside retreat nestled on idyllic landscape in the Berkshires.

minimalist glass house exterior at dusk

The windows throughout this home were sourced from Western Window Systems.

modern bedroom

modern bathroom vanity

modern hallway

modern laundry room

minimalist glass house exterior at dusk

minimalist glass house exterior at dusk

minimalist glass house exterior

minimalist glass house exterior


One Kindesign has received this project from our submissions page. If you have a project you would like to submit, please visit our submit your work page for consideration!

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3 months ago

Look at me! My proportions are silly, and my insides are stuffed with relics!