We’re glad Robert Keller listened to his heart and not his high school guidance counselor, who didn’t think he should attend architecture school. Luckily, this AIA award-winning architect was accepted, and excelled, at Pratt Institute without her help. In fact, Keller was so respected there that one of his design professors hired him just before graduation and another faculty member recommended him for a loft project shortly after. One project led to another, and, within three years of graduation, Keller had his own independent architecture practice.
Lofts led to apartments and brownstone renovations; New York City clients became suburbanites with young families and they hired Keller to design or renovate their homes. Young homeowners became prosperous vacation homeowners and Keller designed those as well. Now, Keller says 20 percent of his projects are for empty-nesters moving back to Manhattan, which is convenient. While his practice followed his client base into Westchester, Keller still lives in New York City. He says the majority of his new clients are the next generation of young families moving into Westchester, in neighborhoods where the properties are historic homes built closely together and where context is key. Even though many of the exteriors are historic, “I do consider myself a modernist, so the interiors are done in a updated, cleaner way,” he says, and new residences can be modernist or traditional depending on the client’s wishes and the neighborhood context.
The House: This Victorian in Larchmont Manor sits at the corner of two quiet streets in a neighborhood developed in the late 1800s, close to Long Island Sound. The client actually grew up in this home, which had fallen into disrepair over the intervening years. He bought it back, and hired Keller to restore it, enlarge it, and correct its flow, which stopped making sense when the old servants’ hallway was turned into a kitchen.
Project Manager: Dianne Eaton, Robert Keller Architect
Contractor: Noonan Construction Corp, Yonkers (914) 373-4672
Interior Decorator: Lyn Peterson, Motif Designs, Mount Vernon (914) 633-1170