Center Street Guest House–New Construction

July 2 2021

Located in a historic district in the center of the Village of Rhinebeck, the clients wanted to build a modern two-bedroom guest house but were constrained by historic requirements that regulated both the look and the size of the building. As a result, a design was chosen that was unusual in form but very traditional in its language.

The primary gesture of the design was to shift the second floor forward to create a front porch underneath. This allowed the building to remain under the 700 square foot requirement while opening interior space to allow for a double height ceiling for most of the main living area. This shift also created a front porch which created visual interest and allowed the building to read as a fanciful 19th Century carriage house. Although carriage houses normally would have the gable facing forward, here the gable was turned to face the side to allow for solar panels on the back (south) slope of the roof.

On the interior, plywood wall cladding wraps half the main room with a built-in plywood kitchenette and dining table to match. A traditional stair was hidden behind a less than full height wall to save money while creating a stairway that feels more open and dramatic than a conventional enclosed stairway. A water closet and shower room were kept separate both to allow the bathroom space to only take up a three-foot corridor of the building and allow for a more usable interior space for the small building.

Design: The Art of Building
Build: The Art of Building


The Art of Building is a design-oriented construction and development firm. We are not licensed architects or engineers. We use third-party licensed architects and engineers whenever required or otherwise appropriate, and provide our clients with full transparency as to their involvement in the development process and their payment for these services.