Be Charmed by Jens Risom’s Summer Home
At northern portion of Block Island, where Risom and his famly would spend their summers in the late 1960s, sits this stylish A-frame prefab family home, a brainchild of the the Danish furniture designer. Taking pride in full control and ownership, Risom sourced for the customized A-frame; he also got Stanmar, a Massachusetts-based company, to produce the cedar shingles, an entire wall of glass, a 20-foot high ceiling, and a 10-feet in footprint, all customized to Risom’s specifications and delivered in parts to his remote island site at Block Island.
At the time, prefab suffered from a public-perception problem—the post–World War II housing boom and the subsequent need for quickly produced, kit-assembly structures had given the landscape of “ready-mades” a “dreary sameness” and a “cheapjack reputation.” Risom’s structure, with its use of weathered wood, soaring cathedral ceiling, and expansive openness tied to its bucolic location, set a new standard for what prefab could look like.
Risom conceived the nearly 700-square-foot house to comprise two floors. On the first level, there are two bedrooms, a bathroom, and an open kitchen, living, and dining area. Above, a large loft held the boys’ quarters.
After decades of wear and tear, the glass sheets of the north façade were dangerously shrinking back from the frames and were replaced with new safety glass. To date, the Jens family is still enjoying the house, while its timeless beauty stood the test and time and remained an inspiration for us.
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