This month’s project is a design featuring decorative concrete blocks. These blocks adorn the facade of the home and attempt to evoke the image of pre-Columbian Architecture. Frank Lloyd Wright dabbled in this style in the early 1920s with his commissions for the Ennis House, the Storer House, and the Hollyhock House all located in the Los Angeles area. Each of the Wright concrete houses had its own unique block created just for that house. Below is the design used in the Ennis house which has recently been adapted by Offecct into an acoustic ceiling tile. The renderings for my design show a generic decorative tile used on the facade, but like Wright I also designed a custom motif to represent the major design elements and design ideas expressed in my design. Below is a photo of my custom concrete block.
The most unique feature in the house is its custom elevator and shaft. Unlike most elevators, my elevator car has glass walls while the shaft in encased in a grid like structure. As you travel from floor to floor, you are able to get a glimpse of the room you are being conveyed to from inside the elevator. The elevator shaft is also illuminated from below and at night acts almost like a lantern broadcasting light into the surrounding spaces.
This block house has 3 bedrooms, 2 full baths, and 2 lavs with parking for 4 cars in the basement. There are fireplaces in the kitchen/dining area, the living room, the rec room and in the master bedroom/master bath. An infinity edge pool with hot tub is adjacent to the living spaces if you want to cool off from the summer heat. Upstairs is a large rec room with a home theater and its own concession stand/snack bar. The entertainment possibilities continue outside with an outdoor fireplace, bar and giant outdoor cinema screen to enjoy movies under the stars. This block house is ideally suited for a hillside lot overlooking a city or a sea view. See photo gallery below for images and plans.
A Point In Design returns after a long hiatus with new designs and design news for you. The December photo story features buildings with arches or archways, so in keeping with that theme I have created an archway house. The archway was placed into the front facade of the home illuminating the service hall and grand living beyond. Underneath the arch is a rock garden with water feature that can be admired from inside and outside the house alike. Features in the home include his and hers offices, a 2-car garage, an in-ground swimming pool, a screened porch, 4 bedrooms, 4 full baths, and 2 lavs. There is also a separate library and rec room on the 3rd floor. The home’s most dramatic feature is its 3 story vaulted living room making this home a great host for large family gatherings or parties. The rendering shows the living area decorated for the holidays. Enjoy and welcome back readers.
UPDATED 12/1/18 WITH NEW RENDERINGS & UPDATED PLANS
Hello again readers,
This month I am devoting my blog to Victorian architecture in its various incarnations. Today’s post focuses on a property that I am very familiar with, a historic Victorian formally located in the city of Brookline, MA. I say formally as it was lost to fire back in 2007. A photo of the original house is shown below. The house was originally built in the late 1890s as a single family home, but was converted into apartments in the years that followed as the rental rates rose in the city and subdivided rental space proved more profitable to the home’s owners. In this recreation, I have restored the home to something close to its original state but completely reworked the layout of the floors to make this historic property work for today’s lifestyles. I added a 1st floor sun room and a swimming pool to the property as well as a period garage and a pool house. I also created a rooftop widow’s walk for views of the city at night. Guests can enter the home from the front entry facing the street or if arriving by car can park out back and walk through the pool house which leads to the outdoor deck and entertaining spaces. The house has 4 bedrooms on floor 2 and an additional 2 bedrooms on the 3rd floor for a total of 6 bedrooms and 4.5 baths. This is a big house any way you slice it. When the house was built the attic was used as staff quarters and that option was preserved in the recreated home as well as there is a separate back stair spanning all floors of the house to allow servants to come and go unseen. The house has a total of 4 fireplaces as well.
Every effort was made to make the house as accurate as possible in keeping with period Victorian detailing, for example a historically accurate Victorian is painted with 5 distinct paint colors covering the exterior walls and trim. This home uses a dark green trim, a lighter green for the main body of the house, and yellow, white and red for accent trim colors. Multiple types of shingling are also a common feature. This house uses both scalloped as well as wood shingles for its exterior sheathing. The widow’s walk, walkout bay windows, stained glass, turrets and detailed fretwork are other details associated with the style. Victorian homes also had a very prescribed entry layout where one would enter a foyer from a vestibule with the foyer being of a square shape often containing a fireplace, with a stairwell off it and that stair would be illuminated by stained glass windows. I tried to maintain that text book formula for this house as well.
Every once in a while I like to revisit older projects that I created to see if there is opportunity for improving them. Back in 2014 I designed a house which I entitled a modern take on a central chimney. It was a modernist design using a chimney as the focal point of the house. While the staircase around the chimney was compelling, (see photo below) most of the house was not particularly functional and many of the spaces were downright ugly.
I reworked the design significantly integrating the separate architect’s office into the main house while giving it its own entrance. I also moved the chimney that was formally in the front entry to a corner which now acted as a symbolic guard of the front door. This new design has 3 bedrooms, 2 full baths, 2 lavs and a pool house bath. A two-car attached garage is included as is an attached screened porch. The living spaces are much more airy and less dungeon-like in the new scheme. The benefits of iteration and experience.
After yesterday’s tiny house that was only 970sq ft, today I offer something a bit larger, a 2 story version of the tiny house that has 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths and comes in at about double the sq ft, but is still small enough to be considered a starter house. The first floor is very similar to the first design with a couple of notable exceptions. The lone bedroom has now become an office and the laundry closet has moved upstairs into its own room. On our second floor there are 2 bedrooms, a master bedroom and a second bedroom each with its own bath. The master bedroom also opens onto a second story deck where you can enjoy the morning sun. The central light well from the tiny house is retained and extends upstairs illuminating the upstairs hallway.
After the last design which featured a large and opulent seaside palace, I figured that something at the opposite end of the spectrum was in order. Tiny houses have been popular for Millennials who lack the funds to build a typical suburban single family dwelling. So with those needs in mind, I offer for your consideration this tiny house at a mere 970sq ft. The size of good sized apt in NYC, only as a single family home. This is a one bedroom, one bath home but has a queen sized Murphy bed for visiting guests. The living and dining spaces are actually quite spacious in this house so one never feels cramped. The central light well acts to visually divide the space as well as acting as a focal point for all the spaces in the home.
Efforts were also made to visually isolate the more private spaces in the house (the bathroom and bedroom) from the public spaces. Also included is a deck off the kitchen for outdoor dining. The deck could be eliminated and the roofed deck area could easily function as a carport if desired. This is a single floor house with high 10′ ceilings which helps to create the feeling of spaciousness despite it small size. The roof could potentially be carved out to add a second floor if desired and stair access would be added via a spiral stair where the current laundry closet is located. If one did require future expansion, I will be posting a slightly less tiny home in my next post that features a second floor based on this model. Enjoy.
Hello again readers.
This month I am featuring my grandest and most ornate house to date, which I am naming the peninsula palace. This house was situated on a point overlooking the ocean on 3 sides. This house has it all; every feature, every detail, every desire that you could possibly want in a dream house by the sea. The design was developed using the shape of Max Bill’s Ulm stool to layout the different spaces in the house. While there is nothing about this house that evokes Bill’s work or the Bauhaus style, the simplicity of Bill’s stool ended up serving as an excellent driver for the design and layout of the rooms. The house is inherently symmetrical which gives it its pleasing shape and facade. Some might be reminded of Palladio’s Villa Rotunda with its 4 porticoes. The house features a 1st floor master suite, a paneled study, a formal dining room, an eat-in kitchen, a large living room, and a grand foyer with a total of 6 fireplaces in the house. Upstairs are 4 good sized bedrooms each with its own bath centered around a grand rotunda lit by a large cupola. There is a 3 car garage, a pool house, and a tea house with a unique elliptical window that is connected to the main house via a gracious loggia. All these buildings are located around the swimming pool with its eternal flame overlooking the sea. A set of stairs descend down to the ocean with a small boat dock for sea-faring guests arriving by boat. The house uses all of the land on the peninsula to its full advantage, yet still kept enough space open for a sunken water garden on the North side of the house which one can gaze at from the tub in the master bath. Below are renderings of the different spaces inside and around the house.
It’s March and time for another update. Today I am featuring a design based on the idea of overlapping, specifically the overlapping of roofs. Typically roofs are not overlapped on residences, one only sees this detail executed on concert halls or perhaps in a modernist church (see the Meyer Jubilee church below). On this house the main gable is built up with multiple roofs layered on top of one another acting to visually draw the eye upwards. From the side view this roof overlapping has the opposite effect to show the building degrading. Either way the overlapping roofs create an interesting effect on the inside of the house within the master bedroom creating an implied enclosure to the bed area. Speaking of bedrooms, the house has 3 bedrooms and 3.5 baths with a separate pool house and an observatory for astronomy lovers. An in-ground swimming pool and tennis court round out the feature list for this house.
The main living hall takes advantage of the steeply pitched roof with soaring ceilings, while a portion of the room was kept at a more modest height creating a more intimate spot for tv viewing.
The living room features a 5′ W1 Hale wooden clock as the focal point for the space along with a wall of windows looking out onto the pool deck just outside. Check out my image gallery below for photos of the different spaces within this coastal farmhouse with its overlapping roofs.
For more information on wooden clocks, check out Rick Hale’s website. The URL is below.
The fourth house in this week’s new houses for 2018 is a design that I created after pondering Max Bill’s Ulm Stool. The stool, a project Bill created at the Bauhaus school in Dessau, Germany was unique for its simplicity. Despite having only 4 pieces, the stool could be transformed into multiple objects depending on how it was positioned. Using the bracket shape of the stool, I created a house with wings and walls that mimicked that shape. The house was aligned on two parallel central axis both passing through the chimneys in the design, resulting in a highly symmetrical and ordered layout. The house has a strong German influence echoing the work of both Mies and Spear. Features include an in-ground pool with pool house, an outdoor pergola covered dining area with firepit, a master suite with his and hers dressing rooms, a guest bedroom with bath, a separate staff apartment with its own entrance, a 3-car garage, his and hers offices, a kitchen with pantry and a Miesian tea house situated at the end of mall.
The third house in on our series to start the new year is a 3-floor art deco town house. I was inspired by this Rolex wristwatch, the Cellini Prince and its art deco styling. The Rolex Prince was originally produced in the 1930s and kept with the styling of that era. Rolex created a re-issue of their Prince line in 2005 which remained in production until 2015. While the watch was never a best seller it was a standout for its design qualities. In addition to its deco lines, the watch’s concentric circles on the dial reminded me of the lines created in the sand in many Japanese zen gardens.
Fusing both the Japanese and art deco influences I was able to create a 3-story townhouse befitting a stylish city family. The ground floor has a 1-car garage plus additional off-street parking for guests. Upon entering the glass block lined foyer you are greeted by a hall that leads to the kitchen and dining room. The kitchen/dr open onto the rear yard with its own patio and a small yard. Floor 2 has a study/library, the main 2-story living room, a billiards room with its own wet bar, and a lav. The top floor contain the master suite, 2 bedrooms, a laundry, and an additional bath. An elevator was also installed to ferry food from the kitchen to the entertaining spaces on the second floor. See the image gallery for photos and plans.