Working with a house created by extraordinarily creative people has been a wonderful experience for us at James A. Cochrane, Inc. For nearly five decades, James Fuhrman’s sculpture and installations have been based on abstract IDEAS. He puts thoughts and IDEAs into concrete terms and invites you to relate and connect with your own experiences. In the Lincoln School conversion and addition, Fuhrman wanted the house to reflect the IDEA and sense of warmth, generosity and openness of his wife Fern Denney.
Fuhrman’s design recognizes that the one room school building is essentially modernist in form— a large open, loft-like, space with 10 ½ ceilings, plastered stone walls with wooden floors that show the marks from the school desk screws and large deep-set windows. The house invites you to touch its 150 years of history and have a ‘modern open space plan’ as well including living, dining and kitchen in one space.
The kitchen area radiates the IDEA of warmth—as a kitchen should. Against a background of all-white cabinetry and appliances, Fuhrman and Denney added rich, warm American cherry counter tops with a tile backsplash made of a pattern of brilliant color that they saw in Rome’s Borghese Gallery. Denney hand-painted each tile during the summer of construction. ‘Italian gold’! The tile pattern reflects a more local character as well: the double wedding ring pattern of Amish quilts.
Even more, Fuhrman has designed a wonderful working kitchen space! Spanning the width of the building, there are two sinks with loosely defined working areas: ‘his and hers’; preparation; cooking; and cleanup.
The kitchen built on the teacher’s dais of the original school room. Most importantly, much of it is open to conversation with the living/dining areas, while the cooking part is shielded. You don’t eat with the dirty pots and pans. It really is a ‘great room’!!!