The award-winning firm of Haver & Skolnick Architects has been creating stunning country homes, both inside and out, in the Northwest Corner (and elsewhere) for over 20 years.
Charles M. Haver, AIA and Stewart R. Skolnick, AIA, are partners in the Roxbury firm Haver & Skolnick Architects. Their projects have included New York city apartments, historic country homes, restorations, and new homes, but they are known for their work on classic New England houses and barns. From the stone work to the colors, to the smallest architectural detail, Charles and Stewart deeply understand how to achieve the whole look of a well-kept traditional New England home while making it a contemporary place to live. They handle flow and ease with all of the comforts of a modern home. This is timeless design at its best.
They have won numerous awards and the firm’s work has been published in Architectural Digest, The New York Times, Garden Design, New York Cottages & Gardens, Litchfield Magazine, Connecticut Cottages & Gardens, Connecticut Magazine, Connecticut Home & Garden, East Coast Home + Design, Hudson Magazine, Passport Magazine, The Litchfield County Times, Greenwich Time and was featured in Leah Rosch’s book American Farm Houses.
Offfering their clients a full range of services including the architectural design, interior design, and landscaping, Haver & Skolnick have created some of the most beautiful homes and properties in Litchfield County. Here’s what they had to say about their beginnings and their path to success doing what they love:
What is your background? Where did each of you grow up, and tell us about your education?
Stewart was raised on Long Island and headed west to the University of Arizona for undergraduate architecture school and then back east to Cornell for his Masters program. Charles traveled south from his home town of Sewickley, PA to the University of Virginia with its inspirational Jeffersonian campus. After receiving our architectural degrees we each wanted to be a part of New York City’s vibrant design community, training in a number of large architectural and interior design firms, each of us eventually becoming design directors.
How did you end up here, in the Northwest Corner of Connecticut?
Although we loved living on Manhattan’s upper west side, we eventually longed for more green than Central Park could provide. We scoped out several locations for a weekend getaway, including eastern Long Island and upstate New York, but fell in love with Litchfield County on our first visit. We bought a tiny cottage in Sharon, overlooking a pond, and began plotting ways to move to Litchfield County full time. In 1994 we purchased a neglected historic home on Roxbury’s green and its very visible restoration attracted clients, jump starting our practice.
Did you always know you would become architects?
Charles had a very early interest in architecture which was furthered by several years of art study at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh. Stewart’s interest in architecture peaked when he spent a college semester on a ship viewing the skylines of Asia’s port cities.
It is unusual for an architectural firm to not only design the home but also be involved in tableware and interiors. Does this happen with all of your projects?
Since we both have training in interior design as well as architecture, we find it very natural to flow from one discipline to the other. When we’re designing a home or addition we’re always envisioning how it will be furnished, down to the smallest details. We also are envisioning the development of the site and landscape and find that to be a natural extension of our services. So many of our clients have such busy lives that they prefer to have one firm handle all these aspects.
Do you have an antiques business as well?
In the world of antiques, most avid collectors eventually become dealers. Charles has been collecting Americana since a teenager and for over 20 years has been selling colorful country furnishings and folk art from the ground floor gallery of our restored carriage house. Over the years he’s developed a wide network of sources allowing us to find the perfect distinctive pieces for our clients.
What do you look to for inspiration?
We find inspiration wherever we go, often in unlikely places. On a recent ski trip to Telluride, we stumbled upon a home furnishings store offering the perfect rustic dinnerware for a client’s Connecticut weekend retreat. We ended up shipping a set back home along with unique bedding we never would have found in the east.
How do you describe your style, your philosophy, your signature?
Although we’re best known for creating relaxed country homes that recall local vernacular architecture, our work has also included more formal homes as well as some very contemporary interiors.
Although much of our work is inspired by history, we both have modernist roots which is reflected in the clear organization and flowing interior spaces of our work.
About how many projects could you be potentially working on at any given time?
We pride ourselves on personal attention to our clients so rarely take on more than three or four projects at once.
Who or what are your influences?
Our influences vary depending upon the assignment. We’re currently working with a client who loves country English homes. We find the rambling homes created by architect Harry Lindbergh in the 1920’s to be the perfect inspiration for this project. Often we’re also inspired by the simple, bold forms of the rural buildings dotting the local hillsides.
What are your future plans for the firm? Is there
something you would like to do but haven’t yet?
Although doing projects in Litchfield County will always be our first love, we’re also doing work in Fairfield and Westchester Counties. We were recently fortunate to have the opportunity to create an award-winning contemporary interior in a Central Park West duplex, which was a refreshing change of pace. Currently we have a Fishers Island seaside cottage on the boards and we would love do work in more exotic locals. Our passports are current and we like to travel!