Any home designed with an expert “gizmologist” is bound to be a head turner.
Vergelegen, the stunning Tom Kundig-designed estate at 2128 Canaan Southfield Road, sits on nearly 300 acres in the Berkshires and is currently on the market for $15.5 million. The owners, two art historians, were drawn to New Marlborough, Mass., by connections to the Tanglewood music venue.
After searching for the perfect parcel for 10 years, the couple acquired the property and hired Kundig and acclaimed British landscape architect Tom Stuart-Smith to build their Eden, including their own Paradise garden, of course.
Nestled in an “ecotone” (the place where two adjacent ecological systems meet) where a meadow touches the forest, this iconic modern house not only commands jaw-dropping views of the Berkshire Hills and Taconic Mountains from every angle, but frames those picturesque views with its form.
One of the home’s most distinctive features are its cantilevered decks and glass walls that open mechanically, seamlessly fusing the inside and out.
Operating the glass wall mechanics is where the gizmologist (an expert in the use of complex devices), Phil Turner, comes in.
Kundig’s “resident genius” has more than 35 years of experience in the exhibit fabrication industry. The hand-crank, industrial-looking wheels are so easy to use they can be guided by a light touch.
The cantilevered I-beams support the glass walls as they extend 10 feet above the ground. There is a dumb waiter, also employing the same Turner mechanics, that effortlessly transports items from the ground level to the main level.
Lead listing agent Elyse Harney waxes on about the unexpected softness of the interior of the house despite its use of concrete, steel, and other seemingly harsher materials.
“For a modernist building, the textures of the house are earthy, and you have an immediate sense of time passing. The steel shows the markings from its industrial beginnings, and features like the leather-wrapped desks in the offices are luxurious and understated. Surfaces inside are matte, so the sky and the water outside really bring the sparkle,” said Harney.
As music aficionados, the owners built a music room with an acoustically engineered ceiling. Additionally, the home is filled with world-class paintings, photography and drawings.
The estate romantically unfolds as the driveway leads all visitors through its own covered bridge, a newly renovated 1840s farmhouse and barn.
The driveway then weaves by two full-season and full-service guest cabins, an art storage building, state-of-the-art equestrian facilities (including indoor and outdoor arenas, a seven-stall barn, 11 paddocks and miles of trails) and a lined swimming pond (lined so swimmers don’t encounter any unwanted pond muck).
In total there are over 5 miles of estate roads, bridle paths, marked and groomed footpaths and many sites for picnicking and cookouts.
And, if that’s not enough, there is even a lot cleared and ready to construct a thoughtful writer’s cabin.
The Paradise garden, equipped with nail-free stockade fencing inspired by 1619 Jamestown, was designed in a circular shape with an apple tree in the center (how tempting!). Multiple gravel paths encircle the apple tree-lined with numerous herb, cutting flower and vegetable beds.
Co-listing agent Kenzie Fields adds, “Tom Stuart-Smith is known for his ability to ‘ungarden,’ and this undulating piece of New England property has woodglens, meadow, and forest in proportion to the buildings and farm activity. The paradise garden is an example of ‘hortus conclusus,’ an enclosed garden, bringing together the practical and artistic elements of cultivated earth in perfect balance.”