Master Builder's Westchester County Home Offers Privacy and an Oculus

The 1978 modern glass-and-wood home on the market in Bedford, NY, for $1.1 million, allows the natural surroundings to come in, in one case, right through the floor. (More on that later.)

"It was really about bringing the nature in," listing agent Sally Slater says. "From every window, you feel like you're in the woods. It's beautiful, beautiful."

It's also surprising that the man who commissioned such a relatively modest five-bedroom, four-bathroom structure on a little over 5 acres was the formidable builder John Tishman, who recently died at age 90.

Put it this way: Tishman's obit in the New York Times described him as the "builder who shaped American skylines." They included Madison Square Garden, Manhattan's twin towers, and the John Hancock Center in Chicago, to name just a few.

Yet the master builder known for his 100-story-plus high-rises chose to live outside the hubbub of the city, in a home adjacent to a 755-acre nature preserve. The location ensured "he was guaranteed quiet and privacy in perpetuity," Slater says.

"What's so amazing is you're 50 minutes from Manhattan and yet you feel like you're in the middle of Vermont," she adds.

Except that in Vermont, you probably don't have celeb neighbors such as Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, Martha Stewart, and Ralph Lauren, who also must relish the access to the Big Apple and the privacy afforded by the great outdoors of Westchester County.

This secluded site allows for floor-to-ceiling windows in just about every room. And in one, just off the master bedroom, there's even an oculus, not exactly an everyday feature.

In the otherwise empty, carpeted room, a round cutout in the floor is filled with greenery. Overhead, a round skylight focuses light toward the circle below. A relic of a 1970s conversation pit? A start of a greenhouse? Not exactly, but also, very much of the era.

The hole in the floor originally held what must have been one groovy hot tub. "I think it broke, and he stopped using it and turned it into a planter," Slater says.

Either way, it's a shining example of architectural ingenuity.