North Salem Farm updates local vernacular for the 21st century

North Salem Farm by New York-based architecture studio Worrell Yeung offers a new take to the region’s agrarian vernacular for the 21st century

North Salem Farm by Worrell Yeung hero exterior
(Image credit: Naho Kubota)

A North Salem Farm has been thoroughly updated for the 21st century by dynamic New York architecture practice Worrell Yeung. The project, a collection of renovated existing and new build structures, offers a new take to the local agrarian vernacular through minimalist architecture in its elegant transformation and blend of old and new. 

North Salem Farm by Worrell Yeung hero exterior in daylight

(Image credit: Naho Kubota)

North Salem Farm by Worrell Yeung

‘The house is at once simple and complex – something we are continuing to explore in our work,’ says practice partner and co-founder Jejon Yeung. 'The gabled forms are familiar but also multi-layered in the way they engage the site, engage with each other, creating spaces that reframe the site and the experience both inside and out.' 

North Salem Farm by Worrell Yeung dusk exterior of entrance area from outside

(Image credit: Naho Kubota)

The scheme unites three separate structures for a single family home in a triangular Upstate New York plot. It was important for the design to feel harmoniously integrated with the landscape, which led the architecture team to explore the area's existing architectural typologies to draw on. At the same time, they worked closely with Raft Landscape on the wider site's green offering and outdoor areas. 

North Salem Farm by Worrell Yeung exterior showing pitched roof shape

(Image credit: Naho Kubota)

The studio gutted and renovated an old dairy farm on site as the main home. Two new structures house a garage/studio, and spa shed. While all structures offer a nod to the typical American barn, varying cladding colours and material details ensure each volume has its own character. 'We didn’t want a monotonous experience of moving from one dark-clad building to the next,' says Yeung. 'As a whole, we read the collection of buildings as siblings that are closely related – like cousins.'

North Salem Farm by Worrell Yeung living space interior view

(Image credit: Naho Kubota)

The whole brings together dark metal roofing, custom dark green stained cypress wood siding in a varied batten pattern, exposed Douglas fir ceiling rafters, freestanding Douglas fir objects, terracotta-hued encaustic tile floors, soft grey Douglas fir millwork, and slate-coloured ceramic tiles in various places. It all composes a graceful, pared-down design that bridges refinement and homely relaxation. 

North Salem Farm by Worrell Yeung kitchen and dining area

(Image credit: Naho Kubota)

The result exemplifies the emerging studio's fascination with 'detailing complex and sophisticated systems that require ingenuity and collaboration but look quite simple', says co-principal Max Worrell. 

North Salem Farm by Worrell Yeung living space interior with dark feature wall

(Image credit: Naho Kubota)

North Salem Farm by Worrell Yeung living space interior

(Image credit: Naho Kubota)

bedroom vistas from inside looking out at North Salem Farm by Worrell Yeung

(Image credit: Naho Kubota)

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Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture Editor at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018) and Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020).