Design Elements & Features
The home features countless architectural gestures and small details, many of which are not initially evident. The present owners describe having lived in the home for several years, while still discovering pleasant new surprises that had revealed themselves only over time. It is impossible to get a true sense of what this home offers without actually having the experience of visiting and touring the home to take all of this in. Below is just a very small list of some of the highlights that the owners and design team were focussed upon while creating the home- and these would certainly be of interest to a prospective buyer. Also- it is difficult to convey the overall sense of exceptional craftsmanship which went into building the home and is found both inside and out. The home has been exceptionally well-maintained by its owners and has held up well over its 17 years. It has proven to be a timeless and durable home for these original owners, and is waiting for its next owner to make it their own!
Courtyard: Courtyard: Kansas Limestone walls and ledge rock, Pennsylvania Bluestone ground slabs, Mahogany Doors. Before building their new home, the owners solicited alternative design concepts from several competing architectural firms with acclaimed reputation. Ultimately, they chose their home’s architect in large part due to the inclusion of this square stone courtyard, around which the homes design is organized. They loved the idea of guests arriving at the home through this elegant and very private outdoor room. Over the years the space has filled nicely with the growth of lacy trees and other low plantings at the ground. The limestone pathway which begins out of the hillside winds across the driveway and through the courtyard, then into the house and out to the lawn beyond. During the design process it was referred to as a “river of rock” by the design team- as if exposed on the hillside by an ancient glacier or avalanche. Within the tall walls of the courtyard is a real sense of tranquility and protection, while the sounds of a recessed bubbling fountain fill the space. The focussed view out from the courtyard is the sight of Hawk Mountain framed through the opening between the two giant chimney masses.
Roof: Terne-coated stainless steel standing seam roof. This material is one of the most corrosion-resistant roofing and flashing materials available today. The architects and owners wanted a metal roof for its durability but had concerns about reflectivity of sunlight and its potential effect on migratory birds flying nearby. This material was selected as an answer to address that concern for its dull, matte-gray finish but also for its extreme durability.
Walls, Fireplaces, & Chimneys: Kansas Limestone. This particular stone was selected by the architects for its beautiful, rich appearance, but just as importantly because the supplier was able to provide and transport massive slabs of stone large enough to serve as lintels in the large openings of the wall, as well as ledge stone pieces in the outdoor courtyard and within the parlor room. Look carefully at the narrow joints between the stone pieces and you are given a glimpse into the high level of craftsmanship that went into assembling the pieces and carving them to fit snugly together. The overall thickness of the lintel pieces is exactly that of the limestone vein as it was quarried. Limestone quoins are carefully placed and project outward from upper portions of the walls to support wood roof framing members. A total of three chimney masses and six fireplaces were carefully designed to celebrate angular lines with larger pieces spanning the openings and creating visual depth to the fire boxes and log storage below. A keen eye will discover many ancient and beautiful fossils visible throughout the home within the limestone surfaces.
Wood Slat Wall: Red Cedar & Aluminum Extrusion. In plan, this long, wood slat wall slices adjacent to the stone square and extends in an angular direction to and beyond the guest house. The wall at various times is both an interior and exterior feature, and helps to organize the spaces. This wall is made to appear thin and light, to play against the weight and mass of the limestone walls. The architects chose tight-grain Red Cedar boards, installed in a clean, horizontal manner. Between each board is placed an extruded aluminum member, to articulate the horizontal quality of the wall, but also as an homage to the homeowner’s personal history in the aluminum industry.
Staircases: Douglas Fir, Stainless Steel. Two massive feature staircases connect the main and lower levels of the home. The structure of the stringers are cut from glulam pieces with steel plates bolted between for additional rigidity. The open design includes thick, horizontal wood tread pieces blindly secured to the structure. A stainless steel guiderail system is capped with two custom-shaped wood rails each with different profiles- a familiar round shape on the inside and an eased, hand-shaped grip toward the exterior views- to encourage one to pause and enjoy the scene. This rail theme continues outside to the decks and other rails.
Stone Floors: Pennsylvania Bluestone. The stone pieces used throughout the floors of the home were quarried north of here in the Endless Mountain region of Pennsylvania. Inside particular areas of the home and courtyard, irregularly-shaped stone pieces were arranged informally and the mortar joints are expressed. Elsewhere, rectangular stones are laid in a more formal field pattern.
Hardwood Floors: Solid Brazilian Cherry.
Windows & Doors: Fully-custom mahogany windows and doors with insulated glass, tempered where required. Operable hopper-style crank panels tilt in to allow screened ventilation into rooms when desired. Windows span floor-to-ceiling in some instances, and in others are placed on top of the limestone wall as a clerestory to create the illusion of the ceiling structure “floating”. Other windows are strategically placed to frame desired views; there is even a window placed specifically low to allow the family dog to have its own window through the main wood slat wall!
Exposed Wood Structure: Solid and glulam Douglas Fir members, premium grade. The architects chose to express the structural skeleton throughout the home virtually everywhere. This material was preferred over old-growth, solid timber in part because of its sustainability as a resource. Much of the joinery has also been purposely exposed, allowing the steel bolts and custom connective hardware plates to remain visible.
Millwork and Cabinetry: Cherry. Every piece of millwork and cabinetry within the home is custom designed and built for this home. The architectural team developed a language of hardwood “stick” elements which is a theme you see carried throughout the home. These stick frames hold cabinet boxes and support counter surfaces of various stone materials. This theme is carried throughout the home and is visible in built-in elements within nearly every room. Bathroom and Master Suite Stone: Vermont Green Slate. Slate was used throughout much of the bathroom spaces, both in tile and slab form. Countertops were cut from singular, beautiful thick slabs of stone with varying honed finishes. Smooth and elegant to the touch, these pieces add great richness to the home while displaying lovely and unique veining in each piece.
Counter Surfaces at Bar, Parlor: Kansas Limestone. Limestone originating from Kansas, similar to that used in the walls and ledge slabs, but these pieces were cut and polished to a smooth finish to form counter surfaces. Thick slabs were hand-selected to showcase their remarkable visual texture and abundant fossil content. The bar surface is a tremendous yet subtle focal point in this showcase room.
Guest House: There is a completely detached guest house which offers your guests the very most in comfort and privacy, with truly exceptional views. The guest house features a large bedroom and bath, as well as a living room with its own kitchenette, and an elevated deck. The guest house is connected to the main house by a covered walkway offering full protection from the elements.
Garages & Auto Court: The home has two 3-car garages with a heated auto court between. The garages are connected to the main house and fully finished. They are large enough to contain large sport utility vehicles, as well as all the outdoor gear and equipment you might wish to store.
Elevator: An elevator linking the main and lower levels was built into this home to provide comfortable movement from floor to floor.
Tunnel: As a way to provide a more direct link for mechanical and other systems from one side of the home to the other, a large tunnel was constructed beneath the courtyard. It is roughly 8’ in diameter, and runs diagonally across the courtyard. This provides an additional area for storage, and could serve as an emergency shelter in a moment of need.