The architect, designer and artist behind the newly formed Schneeberger Collective invites us into her home.Exposed wooden beams are a feature throughout the house
Leslie Schneeberger approaches all of her projects with the heart of an artist, the eye of a designer and the head of an architect. Her latest venture, Schneeberger Collective (schneebergercollective.com), celebrates this holistic approach and welcomes the chance to embrace the unexpected. “I love art and the opportunity to dream up a unique solution in my designs. As the firm grows, I’m hoping to do custom furnishings, art installations and other interesting things,” she says.
A Victoria Albert tub in the bath with backsplash from Ashfield Stone.
The best example of her eclectic and creative style lies just inside the door of her own home, a 1980s post and beam that she recently renovated. “With my own house, I was able to try whatever I wanted, often tracking down the source and working with the artisans and manufacturers myself. I also took the opportunity to test how difficult it would be to be green, source locally and be energy efficient with my choices,” she says.
The live-edge wood bench in the entry
Her push to source locally brought her to the highlight of the kitchen, a slab of schist with a live edge from Ashfield Stone (ashfieldstone.com). The piece reminded her of family weekends at a camp in western Massachusetts where she and her kids would hunt for “gold” on hikes and see specs of mica in the gravel. The stoneyard worked with Schneeberger to keep the edge unfinished and in its natural state. Then she strategically placed the kitchen island (rebuilt with many parts from the original) to sit just under it. “It’s the focal point of the kitchen and where my family eats together. It was a risk, but it came out so beautifully,” she says.
The kitchen counter is a highlight of the space.
Another unique solution came in the form of custom steel doors, created in collaboration with local metal artist Rachel Paolino from Welding Creations (weldingcreations.net), for a newly created dressing room in one of the renovated bedrooms. “I didn’t want to just build a wall. The doors fasten to the posts and freestand, allowing a view into the rooms. It was a bit of a leap, but they’re such an interesting feature,” she says.
The dining room table is from Pompanoosuc Mills and the oil painting is by Carol Maguire.
She worked with the same artist to create an entry bench from a huge slab of live edge wood, salvaged from a neighbor’s basement bar. Whenever possible, Schneeberger reused existing materials, like the remnants of tiles and recycled stones in the bathroom. Other green measures she took were to install an array of solar panels on a hard-to-see dormer roof and she added exterior insulation to the entire shell of the house.
Schneeberger created an oasis in her backyard.
“As architects and designers, we can be a big contribution to the problems currently facing our world. Making sustainable choices is hard because it’s more expensive and more difficult to source. But one of the founding concepts of Schneeberger Collective is to do good by others and by the earth. We’re not going to force impossible choices, but we will always be thoughtful and weigh the options,” she says. Taking the uncommon path and respecting a world larger than yourself? That also takes guts.