Outside the Box
The house is effortlessly green. It is wrapped in environmentally managed mahogany, a material found on decks throughout the island, and Petrucci designed the three-story, 16-foot wide house “like a ship, in that there’s no wasted space,” he says. He topped it off with a green roof, a series of modular trays filled with plants that keep the house cool and minimize water runoff. Any additional water from the roof is collected in a 1,000-gallon cistern buried on the site, which is used to irrigate the garden. The green roof also disguises the structure on Google Maps, Petrucci jokes.
Growing up in high-modern surroundings—including a stint in Le Corbusier’s Paris apartment—Hejduk learned that “Modernists lived in homes that were filled with both modern furniture as well as antiques. They were not the minimalists we often paint them to be.” She and Petrucci applied that same sensibility to the house’s interior, choosing supple yet sturdy cork flooring and a Benjamin Thompson–designed chair reupholstered in an unexpectedly soft apple-green velvet.
Their unique dining room table was designed by Hejduk’s father, and it served as the faculty table during his long career as dean of the Cooper Union’s School of Architecture in New York. At first Petrucci was skeptical that the large, rectangular table would be able to fit in the small house, but once it was there, “it fit so perfectly that I felt I had designed the whole house around that table,” he says. “It was like a sign from John.”
Hejduk’s teaching schedule allows her to spend the whole summer at the house, while Petrucci commutes back and forth from Phoenix every few weeks. “We enjoy the cross-country travel,” says Hejduk. “Living such disparate lives—the desert versus the lush green of New England—gives us fresh eyes and allows us to view things differently. We’ve definitely got the best of both worlds.”
Petrucci and Hejduk hope that other Vineyarders will follow their example—building small, inexpensive, modern, and very, very green. For them, “the house is the perfect size, and we enjoy the outdoor entertaining,” says Hejduk who replanted many of the Japanese boxwoods, hydrangeas, dwarf cypresses, antique lilacs, and cedar trees found on the site. “Plus, it’s small enough that guests don’t overstay their welcome!”
Insider Tips on What Makes These Spaces Great
1.Guest Quarters “This is like a guesthouse within a guesthouse,” Petrucci says. The suite, which is accessed by an exterior stair, is below the main level of the house, partially underground. To make it more inviting (and less subterranean), Petrucci excavated the ground around the house, creating a guest courtyard and outdoor shower.
2. Private Screening Petrucci moves one of two large sliding wood screens that provide solar and storm protection for the large expanses of glass, and also offer privacy in the evening when the house is illuminated.
3. Art Is In The Details Renata’s father, John Hejduk, gave her this large and detailed drawing of a Berlin housing project that he completed in 1988. It now hangs in the couple’s dining room.
4. Lofty Work The office loft overlooks the living room and takes full advantage of the home’s soaring ceilings. Despite being open to the rest of the house, it feels like a private hideaway. The green velvet chair echoes the foliage outside the windows.
5. The Air Up There The second-floor roof deck was originally designed as a screened-in tree house among the 60-foot-high oak trees. But at that height, Petrucci and Hejduk found that the deck was relatively “mosquito-free,” so they never built the screens.
6. One Smart Table The dining room table, designed by Renata’s father, is made of glass, aluminum, and steel. It was originally designed as the faculty conference table for Cooper Union, but fits perfectly into the couple’s bright and airy island home.