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desired What really gets to the heart racing? Beauty and speed. Throw in some good-for-theearth features, and you have what some might call a dream car. Indulge yourself, and the planet, with the coolest hybrid on the road—the Fisker Karma.

New American Luxury September/October 2011



New American Luxury September/October 2011

good KARMA Although a relatively new brand, the Fisker Karma is backed by a long history in the automotive industry. Previously working with BMW and Aston Martin, among others, principals Henrik Fisker and Bernhard Koehler were inspired by the hybrid-electric stealth vehicles built for the US military. With a distinct solar roof and more torque than the Bugatti Veyron, in addition to 10 times the gas mileage, the Karma is the first extended-range high-performance vehicle of its kind. With zero emissions, the Karma embodies Fisker’s commitment to creating responsible luxury vehicles.

New American Luxury September/October 2011



pure form Tom Dixon’s Copper Shade highlights the dynamic and flexible properties of copper. Pure copper is applied as a vacuum-metallized film, only microns thick, on the interior of each polycarbonate globe, creating an enriched and softened light source. The Copper Shade brings a sculptural sophistication to any interior, either alone or grouped as a dramatic chandelier cluster.


New American Luxury September/October 2011

COOL COPPER Bright, dynamic, unexpected: copper stands out as an eye-catching material this fall—in all the little details for home and for fun.

classy clutch Made of copper with all-over filigree pattern complement with a crystal-embellished clasp, this museum-quality clutch looks like a million dollars. It has a very unique design and material that you can’t find them anywhere else. It’s beautiful yet expensive but a tough economic times will not last forever. This copper clutch has good corrosion resistance so it will last forever. $1,650.00 via Net-A-Porter.

DIP in style This is not your ordinary fondue set. Created by French-heritage brand Mauviel, the foremost manufacturer of professional copper cookware in the world, the Cupretam Pour La Table has a 1.2 to 2mm thick copper exterior and is lined with a tin-wash interior that creates the ultimate cooking surface. A timeless product, Cupretam Pour La Table embodies the traditional process and professionalism utilized by Mauviel.


CLASSIC CURVES The 1958 molded-plywood armchair by Norman Cherner is now available to a new generation of furniture collectors. Reissued in exact detail from the original drawings and molds, the armchair combines the best of both molded plywood and solid bent-wood construction, and it available in a variety of veneers. With curves like these, the Cherner Chair will never go out of style.


New American Luxury September/October 2011

WARM WOOD Nothing is more classic than wood—natural, inviting, and chic. Whether it’s the main event or the icing on the cake, these wood details hit the right note.

top it off Looking for something more unique that a standard decanter? Look no further: the Oval Oak decanter is a Sagaform classic, created from hand-blown glass and topped with an oak stopper. The combination of the smooth, elegant lines and warm, organic wood make this a standout addition to any bar. The piece stands 9” tall and holds 67 oz.

smooth sounds The Tivoli Audio Model Two stereoradio offers all the features of Tivoli Audio’s benchmark Model One radio—including its unmatched tuner, audio-contouring circuits, and delightful analog tuning dial—with the addition of a second speaker cabinet for true stereo separation. As with all Tivoli Audio products, the Model Two stereo-radio is compatible with the iPod and other players. An external FM antenna and external AC power supply are included. Offered in Cherry/Metallic Taupe, Black Ash/Silver, Cherry/Silver, and Walnut/Beige.

New American Luxury September/October 2011


THE WEEKENDER Gräf & Lantz’s handsome new take on a classic overnighter is roomy enough to carry everything you need (and everything you want) for a long weekend getaway. The classy bag is available in two natural color blends of sturdy wool felt (gray and brown) and accented with handturned leather. With a handle drop of 15”, this duffel can be carried comfortably over the shoulder, and features one pocket with zipper.


New American Luxury September/October 2011

FELTED FINDS Soft yet sturdy, simple yet stylish, felt is timeless in its effortless appeal. The material adds visual interest and a tactile comfort to each of these pieces.

soft light Tom Dixon’s Felt Shade provides warmth to any space through both illumination and texture. Available in two different designs, pendant and floor, it contrasts the abundance of metal and plastic lights on the market. Made through a process known as fabric forming, the double-layered, heat-pressed felt shade adds an unexpected twist to any room.

into the fold Designed by Dror Bershetrit to capture the “magic of experimentation” in Cappellini’s 2009 collection, the crumpled-felt Peacock chair combines whimsy and artistry through the use of a striking profile and doublecolored cloth. Available in either green or blue felt, the chair stands on a powder-varnished metal base and is made of a single piece of felt.

New American Luxury September/October 2011




New American Luxury September/October 2011


Savage Beauty Andrew Bolton (Author), Sølve Sundsbø (Photographer), Tim Blanks (Contributor), Susannah Frankel (Contributor) Hardcover, 240 pages, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011.

genius on display Savage Beauty, in collaboration with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, features McQueen designs such as the gold-feathered dress from his autumn/winter 2010 collection (opposite page); the “Oyster” dress from his 2003 Irere collection (top left); and the unique “Jellyfish” ensemble from his 2010 Plato’s Atlantis collection (top right).

New American Luxury September/October 2011

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty examines the breadth of the designer’s career, from the start of his fledgling label to the triumphs of his own world-renowned London house. The book features his most iconic designs, revealing how McQueen adapted and combined the fundamentals of Savile Row tailoring, the specialized techniques of haute couture, and technological innovation to achieve his distinctive aesthetic. It also focuses on the sophisticated narratives underpinning his collections and extravagant runway presentations. Published to coincide with an exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art organized by The Costume Institute, Savage Beauty includes an interview by Tim Blanks with Sarah Burton, creative director of the house of Alexander McQueen; illuminating quotes from the designer himself; captivating new photography by renowned photographer Sølve Sundsbø; and a lenticular cover by Gary James McQueen. Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty celebrates the creativity and originality of a designer who relentlessly questioned and confronted the requisites of fashion. For more on the world of McQueen, check out the design of his trend-setting flagship stores on page 46. 021



American Beauty


Linda Waggoner (Editor) Hardcover, 328 pages Rizzoli International, 2011

Patricia Mears Hardcover, 192 pages Yale University Press, 2009

John Portman Hardcover, 284 pages The Images Publishing Group, 2010

On the 75th anniversary of its completion, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater remains an important addition to not only the architects expansive portfolio, but also to American residential architecture. As museum director and editor Linda Waggoner observes, “Fallingwater has no progeny; it is a singular work that appeared almost without warning, its legacy difficult to define.” Including essays from Rick Darke, Neil Levine, and others, Fallingwater strives to define the effects the timeless structure has had on its woodland landscape and how it has endured for 75 years. In addition, the collection of essays reveals Fallingwater’s planning process, it’s recent renovation, and the way in which the renovation crew overcame seemingly unsolvable problems that influenced the home’s conservation. The book’s essays introduce in-depth backgrounds on Fallingwater’s history, restoration, and structure, and include a treatise on the influence the sustainability movement had on the home’s setting and plans. In collaboration with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Waggoner, et al. have created a seminal work that will influence Wright scholarship to come.

American Beauty is the first fashion book to examine the relationship between innovation and aesthetics as expressed by American couturiers and fashion designers from the late 1910s to the present day. The title reveals that great design and great style were, and are, consistent elements in the work of America’s best fashion designers. Patricia Mears introduces many great, forgotten figures, as well as familiar names. She discusses work by lesser-known figures such as Jessie Franklin Turner, Ronaldus Shamask, and Charles Kleibecker without neglecting more celebrated creators, such as Halston and Charles James. Mears seamlessly juxtaposes work by designers of the past with that of present-day designers such as Rick Owens, Yeolee Teng, and Maria Comejo. In addition, James’ grand and structurally imposing gowns from the 1950s appear alongside contemporary Infantas by Ralph Rucci; the section on draping compares 1930s gowns by Elizabeth Hawes and Valentina with more contemporary garments by Jean Yu and Isabel Toledo, while World War I–era tea gowns by Jessie Franklin Turner, Claire McCardell’s mid-century rompers, and modern sportswear by Yeohlee and Shamask illustrate clothing cut into pure geometric shapes. While the United States may be known worldwide for its casual, mass-produced garments, Mears demonstrates that artistry, innovation, and flawless construction are the true marks of American fashion.

Form highlights the commercial and residential projects of John Calvin Portman Jr., who Paul Goldberger of The New York Times writes, “is the only architect of his era to create not only a series of significant buildings, but a new urban type.” Including design concepts for Portman’s personal homes, Entelechy I and Entelechy II, Form elucidates his interest in art as architecture in both the commercial and residential markets. Portman’s personal projects have provided him with the freedom to express his architectural and artistic interests with a bit of experimentation, which influences the commercial work also displayed in the book. Internationally recognized as an architect, real estate-developer, and entrepreneur, Portman’s personal commitment to the integration of art and architecture was evident from the start. His first commission was the renovation of the Fraternal Order of Eagles Building, in Richmond, Virginia, on which he envisioned affixing a contemporary metal sculpture of an eagle. The client liked the idea, but was unwilling to finance the art. Portman invested his own money for the sculpture and, thus, began incorporating art as an integral part of his work, including designing lighting fixtures, hardware, and furniture, and eventually channeling his creativity into painting and sculpture. His interests—a love of nature, the merging of opposite forces, the study of human responses—are as central to Portman’s artwork as they are to his architecture. Form explores the intimate relationship of the man, his architecture, and his art.


Tomorrow’s Houses: New England Modernism Alexander Gorlin Hardcover, 256 pages Rizzoli International, 2011

Featuring homes designed by Walter Gropius, Mies van der Rohe, Marcel Breuer, and Frank Lloyd Wright, Tomorrow’s Houses covers modern homes in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. American architectural modernism began, unexpectedly enough, in New England—known for its traditionally conservative architecture. Alexander Gorlin explores this beginning, and traces the evolution and sudden loss of architectural modernism in the region. From Ralph Waldo Emerson’s assertion that America needed it’s own unique art and architecture to the salons Philip Johnson held in his canonical 1949 Glass House, Gorlin traces the flourishing of modern architecture in one of the oldest regions of the United States. As Gorlin writes, “The idea of modern architecture taking root in an area of well-established tradition was similar to the rise of the new architecture in hidebound Europe. As in Europe, the past was to be swept away by the new style…” That new style, however, was not long-lived, and Gorlin devotes his book to exploring the rise and fall of modern architecture in the New England housing landscape. Although the majority of New England homes remain indebted to the Colonial and Georgian styles, the modern imaginings of some of the 20th century’s most prolific architects remain bright spots in the East Coast architectural record.

New American Luxury September/October 2011

House Ad

New American Luxury September/October 2011



DESIGNING FOR THE NBA Betty Duff shares her expertise on creating custom interiors fit for professional basketball’s biggest, tallest stars

words Ruth E. Dávila photos Justin Bullis

design practice Design Innovations 6521 McCauley Trail West Edina MN, 55439, 952.903.5152 principal Betty Duff

Fashion is the foremost predictor of trends— churning out new patterns, textures, and color schemes for tomorrow’s runways before today’s collections have hit the market. So it’s fitting that Betty Duff, interior designer to fast-track professional athletes, got her start in apparel. “I trained as a buyer for Sanger Harris department stores, and after that I worked in sales and marketing for Halston’s fragrances, Ralph Lauren, and Diane von Furstenberg,” says Duff, owner of Design Innovations in Edina, Minnesota. Her roots in luxury fashion led her to interior design, and Duff opened Design Innovations 25 years ago. In 1987, she landed a crucial client, an entertainment lawyer, who opened new doors. By 1998, she had networked her way up to her first NBA client, the Boston Celtics’ Kevin Garnett.


THE DESIGN INNOVATIONS TEAM Betty Duff and her design assistant of five years, Christine Hoene, sit behind Tyronn Lue’s replica “Godfather Desk” (from The Godfather) in his home office.


New American Luxury September/October 2011




NBA-SIZED Master Suite The need for leg space drove Design Innovations to create a custom 128” wide x 120” deep master bed. SOURCES 1_128” x 120” custom bed Design: T.W. Senders (; fabric: Walfab Co. (walfab. net); custom mattress: Restwell Mattress Factory (restwellmattress. com); custom sheets: Eastern Accents ( 2_48”-deep curved sofa Design: T.W. Senders; fabric: Villa Romo (; pillows: T.W. Senders with fabrics by Kravet ( and F. Schumacher ( 3_media cabinet Serenity high-gloss cabinet: Power of Home ( 4_drapery Design: T.W. Senders; stripe effect with 3 Duralee and Wesco fabrics

New American Luxury September/October 2011



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betty duff

Basketball players love texture because they use their hands all day. They are in a lot of hard environments—they play on hard floors, sit on hard benches, and play a hard game. So when they get home they want luxurious, super-soft items.

Family Room A perfect example of how to use color, this Calabasas, CA, family room centers around a custom fireplace. SOURCES 1_custom sectionals T.W. Senders; fabric: Osborn & Little (; pillows: Osborne & Little, F. Schumacher, Kravet 2_ottomans Christopher Guy ( 3_drapery T.W. Senders; fabric: Kravet

Moving through circles of basketball elites, Duff has designed for a host of players, including several Boston Celtics and Tyronn Lue, two-time NBA Finals champion and former Los Angeles Lakers player. Duff’s assistant designer of five years, Christine Hoene, offers a youthful perspective vital for NBA style. Here, Duff looks inside the homes of NBA stars and finds some common themes: bigger is better, and fabrics should be soft to the touch. Sprawling Master Beds

Size matters for NBA stars, especially in a mattress. They want a master retreat to relax, recoup, and rejuvenate. “Most basketball players have long limbs, but some of them are even wider with their arms stretched out than their length from head to toe,” Duff says. With beds averaging 12 by 12 feet, Duff 026

invariably seeks custom-designed headboards and footboards. Her first go-to is TW Senders, a Minneapolis-based custom-furniture and upholstery workroom, and for safe delivery, Duff and Hoene personally drive trucks of custom merchandise to clients’ abodes across the country.

4_custom rug Aubry Angelo, Limited (

Large, Cozy Family Rooms

NBA players are the most avid spectators. “Most (NBA) clients have large-scale family rooms to accommodate their family and close friends to watch the games of the day,” Duff says. She typically installs one or two oversize sectionals, spanning 14–16 feet long and 12–14 feet wide. Walls are covered with large-scale prints or fabrics, matching the stature of her clients and their estates. Footrests and ottomans are a must for players to kick back. Duff’s clients commonly request the incluNew American Luxury September/October 2011






FORMAL DINING ROOM Tyronn Lue wanted a formal dining room, but requested that a TV be mounted on the wall—Design Innovations’ solution was to create an illusion TV that appears to be an elegant framed mirror when turned off. SOURCES 1_framed illusion mirror/TV HI Gallery ( 2_side couches Charles Ray & Associates, Inc. (; fabric: Charles Ray; accent pillows: Magnolia Fabrics ( 3_custom host & hostess chairs T.W. Senders; fabric: Pindler & Pindler ( 4_dining table New Contemporary Design (612.339.2170) 5_chandeliers Restoration Hardware (

sion of home theaters for even more gamewatching options. Comfy seating is paramount in these theaters, and Duff relies on the expertise of Fortress Inc. of Ranch Cucamonga, California, for top-quality products and installation. Duff partnered with the firm on a home movie theater for an NBA MVP All Star, creating a plush gallery of seating that accommodates eight guests flanking the king of the house. Dining Spaces With a Twist

Formal dining rooms can be traditional or contemporary, but one thing’s for sure: he is the king. “All clients want a large-scale host chair—a tall-backed chair that only they can fit in, one their wife or significant other would feel silly in,” Duff explains. Players often request televisions galore, but Duff imposes strict rules. “I will not let them put TVs in the formal dining room unless they can be concealed,” she says. Frequently an illusion mirror or motorized cabinet is just the trick to appease both Duff and the players. Personalized Offices & VIP Lounges

A top athlete can rack up numerous accolades, from trophies to jerseys and memorabilia. For Tyronn Lue, Duff installed 10 custom cabinets to showcase his collector’s items: shoes from various NBA players across the seasons. Most clients also request a room to meet New American Luxury September/October 2011



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Betty Duff shares some of her go-to resources for design products and inspiration from Minnesota to California. Custom furniture

FORMAL LIVING ROOM The physical scale of this Calabasa, CA, living room was a design challenge. Design Innovations created a meet-and-greet VIP area with two large spaces to lounge.

T.W. Senders of Minneapolis Terry Sender, 952-854-7133

SOURCES 1_custom 54” deep sofa Design: T.W. Senders; fabric: Kravet; bolsters: F. Schumacher; pillows: F. Schumacher

Illusion TV/Mirrors

1_custom rug Aubry Angelo, Limited

HI Gallery of Minneapolis Jeff Sturgis, 612.874.7222

2_club chairs Baker Knapp & Tubbs of Los Angeles (; fabrics: Osborne & Little

Fabrics & Trims

3_cocktail table Round Boiler in Santos Rosewood veneer: Robert Allen Group of Los Angeles

Area West of Las Vegas Diana Della Iacono, 702.362.7600 International Market Square Minneapolis, MN,

Scherping Westphal Brenda Scherping Westphal, 612.822.2700

Furniture Fortress Off Broadway Home Theater Seating Pacific Design Center Los Angeles, CA,

Moura Starr of Los Angeles Will Nguyen, 310.854.9100

Baker Knapp & Tubbs of Los Angeles Joey Trbovich, 310.652.7252

Boston Design Center Boston, MA, Century Furniture 617.737.0501


4_lounge chairs Christopher Guy; fabric: Osborne & Little 5_drapery T.W. Senders; fabrics: Duralee ( and Pindler & Pindler; trim: Fabricut (

and greet guests. This VIP lounge is a place to smoke cigars, entertain, and impress. “They need a space to wait for town cars or limousines with their business acquaintances,” Duff explains. “Most people never get past this space—so it’s important it looks hot.” Soft Touches

NBA stars are highly tactile, Duff says; in fact, they’re softies at heart. “Basketball players love texture because they use their hands all day,” she explains. “They are in a lot of hard environments—they play on hard floors, sit on hard benches, and play a hard game. So when they get home they want luxurious, super-soft items.” Duff is there to serve her clients’ every need, and those soft touches make it into every one of her designs.

6_side tables Century Furniture of Los Angeles ( 7_TV cabinet/motorized TV lift Krier Cabinets Minneapolis; finishing: J.Michaels Co. of Minneapolis ( 8_desk Bolier by Robert Allen Group of Los Angeles ( 9_desk chair Ritter dining chair (; fabric: Kravet, Baker Knapp & Tubbs of Los Angeles

A MESSAGE FROM FORTRESS For over 70 years Fortress has been manufacturing custom furniture and providing exceptional solutions for the office and residential markets. Our Off Broadway Home Theater Seating was designed to address the interior elements of the theater from a design and physical perspective. Completely customizable seating, combined with a wide array of accessories, gives you the tools to truly design your home theater. Our commitment to customer satisfaction—which doesn’t stop once the chairs are ordered­— has made Fortress the “go to” company for theater seating. Working with a professional organization such as Design Innovations makes the projects go so much smoother. We at Fortress wish all the best to Betty and the Design Innovations team for their continued success.

New American Luxury September/October 2011



New American Luxury September/October 2011



karin hanke

I think the Chicago marketplace appreciates, wants, and can afford beautiful materials that define luxury and fine living, which is prevalent in their bathrooms.

the walls, floors, niche tiles, and countertops. As the marble used to build Rome’s Pantheon and in Michelangelo’s David, Carrara marble has a storied history—and the level of craftsmanship was perfect for the custom bathroom. The bathroom also includes a radiant-heat system beneath the marble floors—a cost-effective must-have. Hanke adds “heated floors are also relatively easy to install and operate, and warm floors are appealing to anyone living in Chicago in the wintertime. I haven’t had a client yet who didn’t want them, especially in the master bathroom.” Textured Wall Treatments

Chicago’s Private Label Interior designer Karin Hanke customizes intimate personal spaces all over the windy city

words Kaleena Thompson photos Rich Sistos Photography

design practice Karin Hanke, Inc. 434 Naperville Road Clarendon Hills, IL, 60514 630.850.0638

When it comes to home trends, Karin Hanke is a force in Chicago’s interior-design scene. Hanke, who first started a career in international business, says she fancied the commercial and residential architecture of Europe and Asia early in her career. “I realize each part of the world has its own unique characteristics in style and approach to living.” For her designs in Chicago, Hanke utilizes the multitude of high-end design resources, showrooms, and galleries throughout the windy city. “I think the Chicago marketplace appreciates, wants, and can afford beautiful materials that define luxury and fine living, which is prevalent in their bathrooms,” says the design sophisticate. Gone are the days of utilitarian tub/shower combos and sinks. Now, bathroom design boasts amenities that create a spa-like sanctuary. For example, Hanke references the artisans she used in a two-story town home outside of Chicago that she completely remodeled for a single businessman. Custom Marble Baths

With three months to complete, Hanke transformed the home, and gutted the master bath. The client chose a “Trump Tower” spa-like look, which she says is a growing trend among Chicago’s elite. The masculine master bath in that Trump-inspired style features white, gray, and black as its main palette, and Carrara marble in complementary tones clads 030

Hanke notes how textured Koessel Studios wallpaper and deep purple Marcel Wanders wallpaper make a dramatic statement in the living room and master bedroom. In fact, Koessel Studios is based in Chicago, and their accessible, handcrafted designs create an impact not achieved through paint alone. Hanke reveals that wall coverings are making a comeback with her Chicago clientele. Bold, tone-on-tone patterns, glass, shell, and shiny metallic designs satisfy Chicago’s artistic appetite. “There are so many amazing, fun, beautiful papers to choose from, it can make your head spin!” GLOBAL STYLE

So what’s the secret to a luxurious yet livable house in any part of the country? Hanke advises not to sacrifice style for comfort. Whether in Chicago or overseas, her secret is understanding the client’s lifestyle and then designing the appropriate space, incorporating function with timeless trends.

Spa-Retreat Bathrooms Spa-like bathrooms debuted about a decade ago and have continued to grow in popularity across the country. An unremarkable bathroom can quickly become a serene spa that features luxurious materials such as marble and limestone, glass, and other specialty tiles; custom cabinetry made from exotic woods; steam showers, large rainhead showers, multi-shower heads, opulent bathtubs and Jacuzzis, vessel sinks and other types of non-standard sinks, and smart toilets; radiant-heated floors and heated towel bars; and integrated TVs and sound systems. Lighting is key to capture a spa-like bathroom, which is why Hanke uses integrated and custom lighting, beautiful glass, and metal lighting from places such as Italy or specialty artisan studios.

New American Luxury September/October 2011



Karin Hanke shares some of her favorite resources for design products in Chicagoland. bathroom fixtures Waterware 1829 S. State Street Chicago, IL 60616 312.225.4549,


lighting Tower Lighting 1100 Hillgrove Avenue Western Springs, IL 60558 708.246.9429,


wallcoverings & textiles Koessel Studios 4115 W. Ogden Avenue Chicago, IL 60623 773.522.2323 Maya Romanoff 3435 Madison Street Skokie, IL 60076 773.465.6909,



Furniture & textiles Donghia Showroom 631 Merchandise Mart Chicago, IL 60654 312.822.0766, FINE ART


Boulevard Fine Art 217 Burlington Avenue Clarendon Hills, IL 60514 630.468.5500 7416 Madison Street Forest Park, IL 60130 708.771.6600,

Spa Bathroom Retreat Chicago clients are demanding luxurious master baths with a masculine aesthetic. Hanke breaks down her top picks for the spa-inspired look. SOURCES 1_custom vanity Karin Hanke, Inc. and Lagomorph Design (

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2_basin sinks Duravit ( 3_faucets Hansgrohe ( 4_marble and tile Universal Granite & Marble ( 5_sconces Tracy Glover Studio ( 6_shower enclosure Pollack Glass & Mirror ( bold wall textures Wallpaper is coming back in a big way, no longer for the old-lady set. This living room features details that offset the bold papered walls. SOURCES 1_wallpaper Koessel Studios ( 2_chandelier Tower Lighting (

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3_sofa Henredon Showroom ( 4_chaise Henredon Showroom (

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5_ottoman Baker Knapp & Tubbs ( 6_custom artwork above fireplace Peter Skidd Fine Art ( 1

New American Luxury September/October 2011



New American Luxury September/October 2011


Interior designer Suzanne Lovell helps her clients build and showcase priceless fine art collections

THE HOME CURATOR Suzanne Lovell has been a top player in the architecture and interior-design business for more than 25 years. Her firm is listed in the Top 100 Interior Design Firms by Architectural Digest magazine, and she has designed interiors for luxury residences around the world. Not one to rest on her laurels, Lovell recently launched Artistic Collection Advisory, which helps clients build art collections in the context of interior design. We caught up with Suzanne to learn more about Artistic Collection Advisory and one of her recent projects, a waterfront townhome in Chicago. You worked as an architect for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. How has your architectural background inspired your interior-design work? Architecture has informed our organizational logic. For example, we start working with architectural materials, like specialty finishes and wood, at the very beginning of a project. There’s a kind of expertise in textiles, finishes, and in fine-art collection. We take that expertise and integrate it into each project from the beginning. No interior is finished: it’s just a collection of sofas and chairs if you’re not integrating it with the intelligent language of art. How has the language of fine art been woven into your design philosophy? With the formation of my Artistic Collection Advisory, I can help clients think about honoring their artwork and think about where it should go in the context of their homes and their lives. The language of art is so interwoven into architectural elevations, so it felt natural for me to move in this direction. For example, I have a client who is a psychiatrist, so of course she loves looking at faces. We helped her build a portraiture collection that included modern painters like Toulouse-Lautrec and Matisse, but also contemporary artists like Vik Muniz and Candida Höfer. Toulouse-Lautrec and Vik Muniz are an interesting juxtaposition. Do you work with a lot of contrasts like this? It’s very powerful to see juxtaposition at work. And I enjoy helping people be brave and inspired by what we put on their walls. I have one especially interesting client who was building a very important and well-studied contemporary collection. They were starting the collection as we were creating the interior, so we were able to work together New American Luxury September/October 2011

interview Laura M. Browning project photos Tony Soluri headshot Jessica Tampas

design practice Suzanne Lovell Inc. 4021 Wacker Dr. Chicago, IL 60606 312.394.9583 publication Artistic Interiors: Designing with Fine Art Collections Stewart, Tabori & Chang (2011) project Waterfront Town Home Chicago, IL interior designer Suzanne Lovell

01 WATERFRONT TOWNHOME A millwork alcove frames Salles d’Afrique, 2007, by Robert Polidori, and was designed to display the artwork. The image epitomizes the essence of the residence by portraying the grandeur of another age through a contemporary medium.



New American Luxury September/October 2011

01 DINING ROOM The endless horizon of Egret and White Vase, 2006, by David Kroll, extends dining room space already suffused in beautiful southern light. 02 FOYER AND LIVING ROOM A large-scale, art moderne-style mirror was custom designed to hang above the living room’s handcarved Cabouca Limestone fireplace mantel, imported by Chesney’s. The abstract artwork in the foyer, Blackboard, 2005, by Bernd Haussmann, is a contemporary juxtaposition to the colors and lines of the custom mirror.

New American Luxury September/October 2011


03 MASTER BEDROOM The artwork in the vestibule is a monotype print, Quotidian Notebook #5, 2006, by Katherine Bowling, and the large-format color photograph over the bed is titled The Meridienne, Detail of the Boiseries et Rideaux, #1, 2007, from the Versailles Portfolio, Etats Transitoires, by Robert Polidori. These works of art reiterate the mood of the residence—it is at once classic and contemporary, urban and peaceful, sophisticated and serene.


New American Luxury September/October 2011

It’s very powerful to see juxtaposition at work. And I enjoy helping people be brave and inspired by what we put on their walls.

Photo: Keith Scott Morton

SUzanne lovell

to create a broad range of contemporary art and a space for their collection. We have a Mark Bradford, Roy Lichtenstein, and Robert Rauschenberg hanging near each other. When you plan it, it can be so powerful. Context is also important. I have a client with a series of photographs by Edward Curtis, who worked in the first half of the 20th century photographing faces of the American West and Native Americans. We framed about 24 of the photos and hung them on every wall in a large powder room. It was so powerful to see all those faces together. You’ve also recently designed the interior of the Waterfront Townhome in Chicago. How did you bring the sensibility of a London townhome to Chicago? This is a very personalized business, but it’s not really about my style. We’re always looking for an image that the client might be looking for. It’s about them, and about their homes. After talking to my client, I came to an understanding that they wanted this to look like a London townhouse. To me, the basics of that are a beautiful dark floor and crisp white walls. I always start with the basic architectural colorings, so that became the strand that I wanted to run through the entire residence. The use of blue-gray coloring was very important in this home. The home sits along the Chicago River near Lake Michigan. I wanted a simplicity of color in the home, and the blue-gray reflects both the water and the sky. I kept the stairs dark in the tread and riser, and ran a beautiful blue-and-beige-striped wool carpet up the stairs, which connected to the highgloss lacquer in a sitting room that overlooks the water. You’re always connecting to nature if you can. It’s so inviting to have this blue chair reflecting blue sky and blue water. What else sets Suzanne Lovell Inc., apart? We are a service business first and a design business second. We don’t divide up our staff and put teams on projects—we all have expertise in my office, and we all work on these projects together. It makes for a really sophisticated integration of intelligence. It’s palpable to our clients. Our clients trust us with thousands of very expensive decisions—this business is all about trust. Lacquer sideboard & extending dining table by Jacques Adnet (1900-1984), France, ca. 1955 A MESSAGE FROM BERND GOECKLER ANTIQUES Bernd Goeckler Antiques would like to thank Suzanne Lovell and her talented staff for their continued patronage. For over twenty years, Bernd Goeckler Antiques has supplied interior-design firms and private clients alike with works from the 20 th century’s most-celebrated designers, including Adnet, Arbus, Brandt, Ingrand, Dupré-Lafon, Leleu, Lelii, du Plantier, Ponti, Rateau, Tynell, Ruhlmann, Sornay, and Wabbes. We also carry a large collection of Danish accessories, including works by Axel Salto and Just Andersen. A MESSAGE FROM CHARLES EDWARDS Charles Edwards is considered one of the leading designers and manufacturers of 19 th- and 20 th-century-inspired English, French, and American lighting. Available in a wide range of finishes, and in custom sizes, the lighting has been used by Suzanne Lovell Inc. to achieve a personal style for her clients.

New American Luxury September/October 2011

Chandelier by Maison Veronese, France, ca. 1955 Circular illuminated mirror, Italy, ca. 1940 Rectangular area rug by Paule Leleu (1906-1987) France, ca. 1950 Jar with lid by Bo Kristiansen (1944-1991) Denmark, ca. 1980 Glass Vase Murano, Italy, ca. 1950’s Pair of bronze candlesticks by Garouste and Bonetti France, ca. 1990 30 East 10th Street, New York, NY 10003 · T. 212-777-8209 F. 212-777-8302 · email:



Thomas Clark involves his clients in every step of his creative process—from materials to blueprints, they dictate his direction and inspire his designs

Participatory Architecture interview Julie Schaeffer photos Thomas Clark Architects

Thomas Clark Architects has been named one of the top 50 residential architects in the United States by Southern Living, and with good reason: principal Thomas Clark, who has been in the business since 1961, is responsible for some of the most luxurious designs in the Baltimore area. Clark explains how his approach to architecture has developed over the course of his 50-year career. You’re quite a veteran in the field of architecture. I’ve been around for a while. After college, I moved to Des Moines and worked for Charles Herbert Associates, which was later named the AIA firm of the year. I’ve taught at more than a half dozen schools over the years, and was a lead designer with Baltimore-based RTKL Architects in the early 1980s before starting this firm in 1984.

design practice Thomas Clark Architects 10 N. Calvert St. #LI45 Baltimore, MD 21202 410.539.6830 project Rabin Residence Washington, DC

Do you take on a certain type of project? We’ve worked on projects renovating someone’s master-bedroom closet and projects designing multimillion-dollar homes. The size of the project doesn’t make any difference to us, and the style isn’t all that important, either. We’ll take on anything as long as the client wants to do something interesting. What do you consider interesting? We like to be involved in many aspects of design. We do site planning, architecture, landscape design, lighting design, and interiors. Sometimes, if it’s commercial work, we’ll even get involved in the design of the graphics and signage. How did you get into the luxury market? Well, there’s luxury and there’s luxury. So what kind of luxury is your kind of luxury? We don’t generally do $10 million houses; we do a lot of things between $250,000 and $2 million. While we do everything from kitchens and baths to wholehouse renovations with additions, usually, when we get finished, the house looks like a brand new house.


So luxury to you is about the quality? That’s a component, but it’s also about the type of client and the way we work with the client. Our clients are looking for ways to participate in the design and the construction of the project so they can get what they want. Who is your typical client? We’re working primarily on the north side of the Washington, DC, beltway, which is always a strong market. The people we work with are savvy; they’re well educated and understand why they’re buying architectural services. They don’t confuse architectural services with design by builders. They want the architect to work for them, not the builder, so they get an unfiltered version of the design. They realize good architecture increases in value at a much higher rate than projects designed by untrained builders. They also want someone on the job site who is their advocate. That’s what they get from us. How does a luxury client change your work process? We cater to the client more. For example, we organize the contract so owners can purchase a lot of materials themselves instead of paying the contractor’s markup. I’m not talking about buying refrigerators; in a recent project, we helped the client buy concrete, steel siding, drywall, patio pavers, windows, doors, landscaping, flooring, railings, cabinets, countertops, tile, carpet, hardware, and a security system. By helping clients buy materials, we reduced the cost of the project by 30 percent. New American Luxury September/October 2011







C LOWER 01 RABIN RESIDENCE This whole-house renovation transformed an existing tract house into a new piece of architecture. On the exterior, Clark replaced the existing cedar siding with Kynar-coated, corrugated-steel siding. The living areas of the house are covered in black siding, while the interior and exterior of the stair tower is covered in red. Clark also removed portions of two interior bearing walls to open the views between the interior spaces and relocated the kitchen from the living level of the house to the entry level. It helped the circulation and created a twostory-high kitchen-dining area with a fireplace that opens to an east-facing patio. Clark completely renovated the stair tower in order to allow views through it. The firm also replaced all the wood railings and balusters on the exterior balconies, the front porch, and the main stair with black steel and glass railings.

The project cost less than it would have if we hadn’t been involved, so our architectural services paid for themselves. Even people who can afford luxury homes don’t want to overpay. Do you have a favorite project? My favorite project is always the one we’re doing at the moment. What are you working on now? We’re just finishing construction on the Rabin residence. The client is a couple. The husband loves architecture and contributed a lot of ideas to the design. At first, they wanted us to work on their kitchen, but by the time we got done, we had re-sided the exterior and completely torn apart the interior. What did that project involve? We opened up the house. We took out all bearing walls, so the house became a series of spaces that flow in and out of each other. We replaced small punched windows with storefront-size openings, 6–8 feet high and 8–15 feet wide, exposing views of a wooded site in the summer and the waterfront in the winter. What has the feedback been? It’s a very contemporary home, very simple and striking. We replaced deteriorated, gray, cedar siding with black and colonial-red corrugated-steel siding with a 30-year finish warranty. Old wooden railings and balconies were replaced with black powder-coated steel. People drive through the area and stop to comment on it. A neighbor told the owners, “We don’t care what other people think; we love this house.”

A MESSAGE FROM MID-ATLANTIC PROFESSIONAL SURVEYS Mid-Atlantic Professional Surveys (MAPS) is a locally owned, full-service, licensed-professional, land-survey firm that has been in business since 2000 serving Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. We strive to meet our clients’ expectations on each of their challenging projects by offering a full range of in-house survey and engineering capabilities backed by registered professionals with more than 100 years of collective experience. Using the latest technologies, we can deliver the highest quality to our clients, on schedule and within budget. For more information, call 410.634.2173 or visit the MAPS website at www.

New American Luxury September/October 2011


P.O. BOX 338 Ridgely, Maryland 21660-0338 Phone (410) 634-2173 Fax (208) 248-9420 MidAtlanticProfessionalSurveys 039

Brian MacKay-Lyons

Nova Scotia people don’t do mortgages; if you don’t have the money, you don’t spend it— so there’s a real sense of how much is enough. Luxury for us is building more with less.


New American Luxury September/October 2011


Each year, participants at the Ghost Lab create one unique building on the rugged coast of Nova Scotia. Brian MacKay-Lyons tells us how he takes the team from concept to completion.

SIMPLE AESTHETICS interview Thalia A-M Bruehl photos James Steeves Greg Richardson Brian MacKay-Lyons

design practice MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Limited 2188 Gottingen Street Halifax, Nova Scotia B3K 3B4 902.429.1867 project Shobac Cottages Upper Kingsburg, Nova Scotia

Brian MacKay-Lyons, founder and principal of MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects, believes in living simply. He has toured the world, built an embassy in Bangladesh, studied in Tuscany, Japan, and California, yet he has found no greater sense of inspiration than in his home, the rugged Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia. There, MacKay-Lyons and his wife, Marilyn, have created a 60-acre farm, full of sheep and horses, where they live, work, and where his firm hosts the internationally-renowned Ghost Lab educational design/build seminar each summer. Ghost Lab connects directly back to their practice, which specializes in residential and institutional design as well as large-scale landscape master planning. “The idea of family, community, practice, and teaching are all expressed here in one place and governed by a single-value system. This is an integrated lifestyle-design project,” explains MacKay-Lyons. “Buildings are just infrastructure for life, in a landscape. They are a cultivating influence on the landscape,” he says. “It’s just like being a farmer—you try to leave the soil richer than you found it. That’s luxury.” New American Luxury recently spoke with MacKay-Lyons about his unique approach to architecture, his goals for Ghost Lab, and how luxury can be as simple as an unobstructed view of the full moon. At the start of your career, who helped shape the progressive approach you have to your craft? I chose UCLA for my M.Arch degree partly because Charles Moore was teaching there. We had traveled in Japan in 1976. I ended up working with Barton Myers, and eventually Giancarlo De Carlo. In 1988, I met Glenn Murcutt, the Australian architect who won the Pritzker in 2002. He said to me early on, “If I were you, I would start your practice the way you intend to finish it.” That made sense to me.

01 GHOST CAMPUS The Ghost Lab strives to place architecture in the realm of material experience, as opposed to the academy or corporate practice.

New American Luxury September/October 2011

So when you first opened the firm, what was your specialty? I was always interested in designing houses. The model in North America was the practice of Frank Lloyd Wright, the idea that you would design hundreds of houses in your life. Like a country doctor, only designing houses. 041

Photo: Greg Richardson

Residential design was how we started our practice, and how we gained our reputation. For me personally, I’d like to finish where I started like Murcutt said; in the meantime, our practice is designing a combination of residential projects and institutional work. You’ve spoken often in interviews, as you did above, about being a “county doctor.” What does that mean to you? We’ve done about 40 buildings in one little village, including the Ghost work, and that role as the architect, as the steward of the landscape, has actually become the brand of the firm. If you go back to the farm where we live and where there is the wholesome, villagearchitect role, people see that—they see the slow growth, the cultivation. It’s like tilling the same soil over and over again. Tell me a bit about Ghost Lab and how your work there has informed your practice on a larger scale. The Ghost is an alternative architectural-education program based on a critique of current architectural education. I started Ghost because I was frustrated with where architectural education was headed. The Ghost feeds directly back into the practice; if you go to the farm, you can’t tell what’s a Ghost project and which is a project for a client. The Ghost projects become research projects, like a full-scale model shop for the office. All that work we do in Ghost affects the work we do in the practice. I can sit in the studio at the Ghost site with a newborn lamb in my arms and look out the window at projects we are building.

Brian MacKay-Lyons

We’ve done about 40 buildings in one little village, including the Ghost work, and that role as the architect, as the steward of the landscape, has actually become the brand of the firm.

How was Ghost Lab developed? I started Ghost by taking students out of the university in the summertime. I remember thinking, as a student, that what was happening out on the street was a lot more interesting than what was happening in the classroom. So when I had the chance as a teacher, I said, “Let’s just get out of here.” We went to the country. It was 1994 the first time, and I guess it was a counter project to the school in a way.




Ghost has worked to change the way architects are educated. What has been the most important thing you’ve given your Ghost students? One of the problems I have with architectural education is that this idea of self-discovery can be a great excuse for not teaching anybody anything. It can be like intellectual terrorism. Not letting students in on any of the secrets by telling them to figure it out for themselves. In our practice, we have an apprenticeship system. Ghost is like an internship. It’s not a free for all; it’s based on a master-builder tradition of both practice and education.

02–03 THE 1,000-FOOT HOUSE The Ghost 10 team constructed not one, but two small structures: a hilltop volume for daytime activities and a volume among the trees at the base of the hill for sleeping. The volumes are separated by a “courtyard” of 1,000 feet (across a 200-foot elevation change), but both were constructed using rough-cut local timber and provide views of the Atlantic Ocean and the MacKay-Lyons farm. 04 THE OCTAGONAL BARN In 2009, MacKay-Lyons and the team Ghost 11 relocated and reconstructed a historic local barn—a structure especially close to MacKayLyons’ heart. The barn was rebuilt as a community campus structure, and it now plays host to concerts, weddings, and lectures.

New American Luxury September/October 2011

Photo: Greg Richardson New American Luxury September/October 2011


Photo: Brian MacKay-Lyons


I understand that Ghost is going to be quite different this year—a conference rather than a workshop. How did you assemble the lineup of speakers? Instead of the normal Ghost, this will be a three-day conference. It’s something we’ve always talked about doing. The speakers are the best of The Ghosties [past guest architects and historians], or so I say. The Ghost is like a clubhouse, a rendezvous place for a whole school of architects. The speakers for Ghost 13 are people who have been coming to Ghost over the years. They share the same values. This summer, the discussion will be about the direction of architecture and specifically, the education of an architect. There’s timeliness about this meeting.

04 SHOBAC COTTAGES The four unique two-bedroom cottages overlooking the LaHave Estuary were constructed during Ghost 7 in 2005, and can be rented out on a weekly or monthly basis. 05 THE STUDIO Ghost 8 (2006) resulted in a satellite office for MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects. The wedge-shaped building, which serves as a general meeting spot, faces the open grasses of the 400-year-old settlement and was built with local timber and a full-metal jacket.


MEET Brian MacKay-Lyons Brian MacKay-Lyons has had his own practice for more than 25 years. His work has earned the firm an international reputation for design excellence and a presence as a leading educator in the field of architecture. Brian MacKay-Lyons Architecture became MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects in 2005 when MacKay-Lyons partnered with Talbot Sweetapple. Born in Nova Scotia, MacKay-Lyons is a noted architect, professor, and pioneer in the design world. His progressive views on architecture education led him to create Ghost Lab, his firm’s yearly architecture design/build retreat. He is a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, and an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.

What do think The Ghosties will bring to the table this year? There will be a rich mosaic of individual ideas around a strong consensus. I think everyone has a personal take on why they’re coming. Kenneth Frampton, architectural historian and visiting architect at Ghost 5, believes everything bathes in ideology. Juhani Pallasmaa, from Finland, who was with us for Ghost 7 says, “Construction is like the projection of a silent theory.” And Glenn Murcutt, who I mentioned before, is an uber-environmental architect. He’s the clear teacher at Ghost for all things environmental. Let’s chat about luxury for a bit: how is MLS Architects redefining the concept of luxury, and what part does Ghost have in that? We were recently named “Most Frugal” by Residential Architect in their list of 50 favorite house architects. We hear that all the time; our work is all about the economy of means— or elegance—this is both an economic and an aesthetic idea. Nova Scotia people don’t do mortgages; if you don’t have the money, you don’t spend it—so there’s a real sense of how much is enough. Luxury for us is building more with less. One of the strategies of Ghost is concentrating on one-material buildings. I remember going to a party at a house we designed twenty years ago, and standing with the client, looking through the clerestory window at the full moon over the lake, and the owner said, “This is luxury.” The idea is that the architecture wasn’t front and center, but that the building had allowed the full moon to be front and center, through the void. The definition of luxury has changed in the last ten years. How do you combine luxury and function? Luxury can be a dangerous brand to have these days. Architects’ phones are just not ringing in the same way they used to for these multimillion dollar houses anymore. Luxury needs to be a structure that won’t fall apart. It’s permanence. Luxury is not spending all your weekends repairing your home. You want your building to be built really well and to be lowmaintenance. If you’re going to do that well, you also need to understand what the local materials and trades can do where you live. You can get much more architecture—quality and quantity of craftsmanship—for the dollar this way.

New American Luxury September/October 2011


New American Luxury September/October 2011



New American Luxury September/October 2011



Working with Alexander McQueen, Pentagram’s William Russell translates the late designer’s artistic vision in a series of dramatic boutiques


ritics and industry insiders often described British fashion designer Lee Alexander McQueen as provocative, daring, passionate, unconventional, and shocking. In 2000, when McQueen was just entering his 30s, the Gucci Group acquired 51 percent of his brand. He would soon open a series of flagship stores in Tokyo, New York, London, Milan, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. McQueen knew he needed a special architect to create a retail sensation similar to that of his outlandish and extravagant catwalk shows. Meanwhile, William Russell was emerging as one of the London- and international-architecture scene’s rising stars with clients like The London Jewellery Centre, Krug Champagne, Margaret Howell, and Ewan MacGregor. Russell and McQueen met and formed a partnership to create luxury boutique storefronts and display some of fashion’s most sought-after designs. “The designer-client relationship is vital in all the work I do, and more so in this instance as it was essential that [McQueen’s] personality was clearly reflected in the solution,” says Russell, who left his own company to become a partner at Pentagram in 2005. The two creatives merged unique talents in an intensely collaborative process that let McQueen stores stand out from those of Dior and Vuitton—McQueen franchises are less gallery and more experience-oriented.

New American Luxury September/October 2011

words TK photos Benny Chan

project Alexander McQueen Boutiques Los Angeles, CA; Las Vegas, NV; New York, NY; London, England; Milan, Italy design practice Pentagram 11 Needham Road London W11 2RP, United Kingdom +020 7229 3477 architect William Russell


Los Angeles BOUTIQUE Unlike other locations, the hip McQueen store on Melrose Avenue was entirely new construction, allowing Russell total freedom with both the interior and exterior of the building. It features two entrances—one at street level and one from a private courtyard. Sadly, Los Angeles would mark the end of the fruitful McQueen/Russell relationship, as the fashion icon took his own life in 2010. By that stage, however, McQueen trusted his architect enough to delegate creative control. “He wanted input into the feature area, which we quickly identified to be the entrance zone,” Russell recalls. They settled on using the work of a McQueen favorite, Robert Bryce Muir, who created “Angel of the Americas,” an 9 ft. tall, anatomically-correct metal sculpture of a man, which appears to levitate in in a skylight. The impressive work was constructed in two parts – one mounted on the exterior and the other suspended inside the store.

Creating a Concept When Gucci came knocking more than a decade ago, the young McQueen had just one shop on London’s Conduit Street designed by Azman and Owens. With Gucci’s stamp of approval, he was thrust into the white-hot center of the fashion industry and needed to create a new and exciting concept to reflect his retail aspirations. Russell varies his approach depending on the client but calls the process with McQueen “truly collaborative,” adding that his strong visual sense translated from fashion to architecture, resulting in spaces consistent with his clothing. The budding team decided to create a repeatable prototype that would translate and adapt to various markets around the world as McQueen expanded. They originally allowed for a 12-month development period to test ideas. However, when space became available in Tokyo, Russell was forced to complete his designs in just eight weeks. He relied on a series of intensive conferences. “I found McQueen very demanding,” Russell says. “As a client, he was always keen to push concepts and budgets to their extreme.” The concept was simple, and it has remained the same in subsequent stores: a customer who walks off the street should enter “the World of McQueen,” which Russell describes as “a theatrical world full of contrast, with juxtapositions between traditional and modern, fluid and solid.” McQueen was known for choosing a fashion-show theme and then blending imagery from many sources to evoke one specific mood. He asked Russell to do the same for his retail locations. Together, they visited other high-end retailers to ensure the McQueen experience would be something extraordinary.

A ll A bout the Brand

LA Store - Section AA & Melrose Avenue Elevation


To truly reflect McQueen’s personality and vision, Russell would first need to understand the brand he was hired to translate. “The brand was defined initially by McQueen’s fashion shows,” Russell explains. “They were extraordinary pieces of performance art. What sets the brand apart is that sense of showmanship coupled with an extraordinary level of craft and skill in the tailoring and cut of the clothing.” Russell’s designs, therefore, reflect a sense of theatricality. Although each has variations, all McQueen stores are cavernous voids—as if carved from otherworldly globules. Russell says the spaces are “the complete reverse of conventional construction.” In a sense, they are minimalist chambers sculpted around the clothes where customers are free to roam and admire McQueen’s couture. Russell envisioned an exuberant space that remained subservient to the collection—he achieved this goal by using a limited number of materials and an off-white color scheme. Walls and ceilings blend seamlessly with each other, which New American Luxury September/October 2011

los angeles flagship

New American Luxury September/October 2011



New American Luxury September/October 2011

MILAN BOUTIQUE TK TK TK Unlike other franchise locations, the hip McQueen store on Melrose Avenue has two entrances—one at street level and one from a private courtyard. Sadly, Los Angeles would mark the end of the fruitful McQueen/Russell relationship, as the fashion icon took his own life in 2010. By that stage, however, McQueen trusted his architect enough to delegate creative control. “He wanted input into the feature area, which we quickly identified to be the entrance zone,” Russell recalls. They settled on using the work of a sculptor McQueen admired and commissioned Robert Bryce Muir to create a massive metal angel that levitates through an.

New American Luxury September/October 2011


lAs V EGAS bou tique LONDON BOUTIQUE Two key features of the Bond Street location—large windows and a floor opening—provide dramatic views. A self-colored render façade with large windows entices customers into McQueen’s world. There, they find an opening at ground level that directs views into a lower retail section. “We restructured the building so the column extends from the ceiling and appears to float through the floor to land on the lower level,” Russell explains. The London store also includes a playful staircase that spirals between levels.


New American Luxury September/October 2011

Russell accomplished in an “effortless and ultimately natural” way. Lighting is an essential element in any retail design. In the McQueen stores, Russell integrated luminous elements into the architectural form to avoid obtrusive track lights bolted to the ceiling. “This helped us achieve the seamless transition from wall to ceiling,” he says. A horizontal band provides general lighting and individual directional light which reflects from all surfaces and diffuses around each store.

NEW YORK BOUTIQUE Located on West 14th Street in the Meatpacking District, Alexander McQueen’s 3,600-square-foot New York boutique centers around a form called the “Mother Ship,” which rises from the floor at the center of the store and conceals the fitting rooms. Russell placed the chamber in the center of his design to conceal existing columns and “create more intimate zones within the space.” The shop also features a self-colored render façade with a large entry “light box” that houses interchangeable graphics. This volume extends into the boutique, where it becomes a closet space.

Ethereal Interiors While each McQueen store has a defining element, every interior is similar. Undulations of sloped walls and high ceilings flow together, appearing as alternating stalactites above a resin terrazzo floor. Painted plaster and powder-coated aluminum form a hypnotic geometry that playfully guides each customer through the organic core. The basic prototype allows for a continuity of spatial experience across all stores. While overall branding supersedes individual markets, each flagship store contains a distinguishing feature. Located in West Fourteenth Street’s Meatpacking District, Alexander McQueen’s 3,600-square-foot New York store features a self-colored render façade with a large entry light box and interchangeable graphics. A form—known as the Mother Ship—rises out from the floor’s center and holds fitting rooms. Russell placed the chamber in the center of his design to conceal New American Luxury September/October 2011


Las Vegas BOUTIQUE The Las Vegas boutique is a welcome addition to the Esplanade in the Wynn Hotel’s Encore Building. The Alexander McQueen store stands out from the nearby Hermès and Chanel boutiques with its signature McQueen look, and also features pulsating music and McQueen’s stunning runway shows projected on the plaster walls.


New American Luxury September/October 2011

existing columns and “create more intimate zones within the space.” Two key features of the Bond Street location—large windows and a floor opening—provide dramatic views. A self-colored render façade with large windows entices customers into McQueen’s world. There, they find an opening at ground level that directs views into a lower retail section. “We restructured the building so the column extends from the ceiling and appears to float through the floor to land on the lower level,” Russell explains. The London store includes a playful staircase that spirals between levels. With over 2,000 square feet, the vibrant Las Vegas boutique is a welcome addition to the Wynn Hotel’s Encore Building. As part of the elite Esplanade retail center, the Alexander McQueen store stands out from Hermès and Chanel with pod seating, pulsating music, and even a fashion show projected on the plaster walls. Unlike other franchise locations, the hip McQueen store on Melrose Avenue has dual entrances—one at street level and one from an opposite private courtyard. Sadly, Los Angeles would mark the end of the fruitful McQueen/Russell relationship, as the fashion icon took his own life in 2010. By that stage, however, McQueen trusted his architect enough to delegate creative control. “He wanted input into the feature area, which we quickly identified to be the entrance zone,” Russell recalls. They settled on using the work of a sculptor McQueen admired and commissioned Robert Bryce Muir to create a massive metal angel that levitates through an opening in the ceiling.

ABOUT WILLIAM RUSSEL With a client list that includes Cass Art, The London Borough of Camden, H&M, the Tate Gallery, Margaret Howell, and others, Pentagram’s William Russell continues his climb to the top of the architecture and design world. Russell studied at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and the Royal College of Art before opening William Russell Architecture & Design in 2000. Five years later, he joined Pentagram’s London office. WILLIAM RUSSEL AWARDS Design Studio of the Year, Creative Review: 2008, 2009, 2010 - Pentagram The Commercial Architecture Awards: 2007 - Cass Art Warehouse The Commercial Architecture Awards: 2007 - Margaret Howell, Fulham Store New York Store Award of the Year, VM+SD: 2002 Alexander McQueen Flagship Store

Setting the Trends Russell did not design his elite storefronts with specific trends in mind, but he has since seen others take a similar approach. “You are more likely now to see a luxury retail store with a strong sculptural environment and distinctive personality,” he says. The architect brought success to McQueen’s projects by understanding his visionary client’s concept and brand. He was originally drawn to the first project by McQueen’s undeniable talent and flair. “Circumstance led me to work with McQueen, but the relationship was successful because he took the same pride in the finished product as I did,” Russell explains. “That is the best you could ask of any client—that they have the same commitment to the project as you do.” Although McQueen is now gone, his brand lives on, and Russell is in talks to create new McQueen stores to carry on the designer’s legacy. New American Luxury September/October 2011



All in the Details From aquariums to guest houses, Nelson Daniels makes lavish dreams a reality text by Kelli McElhinny



photos by xxx

Shawn Nelson and Mark Daniels honed their skills in the commercial market, working on projects as diverse as lavish hotels, ice rinks, and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Since 2003, when the duo opened their own firm, high-end residential clients have benefited from that expertise. That background in commercial work helps Nelson Daniels keep projects on track and avoid unexpected cost overruns for their clients. “The organizational skills that we developed in the commercial sector add value for the client,” Nelson says. “If they know of critical decision points months in advance, they’ll have time to prepare to make those decisions.” New American Luxury September/October 2011



ritz cove project: Ritz Cove Monarch Beach, CA architect: David Bernard Fink construction: 2006-2008 square footage: 10,000 project Type: Residential new construction 01 The rear of Ritz Cove comes to life at night with an Infinity-edge pool, a prepatinated copper trellis, and a fire element.


The firm’s client-focused approach includes weekly email updates, including photos, on the status of a project’s progress, and life-sized three-dimensional mockups that help clients to envision the final result. Nelson Daniels-built homes have included client-requested features ranging from 900-gallon aquariums to bowling alleys to disappearing televisions. In one case, they even were requested to straighten a tree on a client’s property. In their Ritz Cove home, the clients hoped to recreate the environment of their Hawaiian-island getaway, which they had recently sold. They succeeded, according to Nelson. “You kind of feel like you’re on vacation when you walk into the house,” he says. New American Luxury September/October 2011

That ambience begins with a three-story open space at the entrance that gives the home the feel of a hotel foyer. The owners also have surrounded themselves with marine creatures, housed in the home’s three aquariums, all of which are in excess of 400 gallons. A large koi fishpond, with an accompanying glass bridge, is located at Ritz Cove’s entrance, and the residents and their guests can also enjoy the koi pond from the basement’s entertainment room thanks to a window that provides a view from below. While the seaside motif is central to Ritz Cove’s aesthetic, the home has a number of appealing touches that are not related to that theme. The threestory steel staircase in the atrium area is a particular-

02 The two-story volume atrium features a large, pyramid-shaped skylight that floods the room with light. Two 400-gallon saltwater aquariums anchor the room, while ledge stone and light maple cabinetry and wall panels complete the space. 03 Ledge stone, maple ceiling coffers and cabinetry, and peacock-green counters accent the distinct blue billiards table in the basement level recreation area.


re.create Seth Ballard of Ballard + Mensua Architecture recreates classic custom homes with international influences

words Thalia A-M Bruehl photos Robyn Rowles

project Carr Residence “All Points of View” Barrington, RI design practice Ballard + Mensua Archicture 450 W. Broad Street, Suite 312 Falls Church, VA 22046 703.992.7580 project team Seth Ballard general contractor Vincent McCarthy Carpentry 301.972.2744 structural engineer Yoder+Tidwell, Ltd. stone supplier El Dorado Stone kitchen details 3-Form

01 CARR RESIDENCE The home opens up to four-anda-half acres of green lawns and sea grass on the beach. 02 KITCHEN The kitchen feautres curved doors and drawers and a rounded ceiling feature that mimics the countertops. 03 BAY VIEW ROOM The two-and-a-half story room has a Douglas-fir and cedar frame stained in an ocean-mist gray. 04 CARRIAGE HOUSE STAIR Antique heart-pine treads and risers and painted metal railings tie the pantry, mud hall, and kitchen to the carriage house.


Seth Ballard, who traveled extensively with his parents during his childhood and young-adult years, made his career choice when he was just seven-years-old. “I found myself in these architectural wonders, and I knew I was happy. There is a level of design and coordination in that work that creates a space that people just want to be in. I love creating that,” Ballard remembers. Thus, in 2005, Ballard founded Ballard + Mensua Architecture, which specializes in custom luxury homes, historic preservation, and luxury additions and renovations. The majority of the firm’s work is in the Washington, DC, area, as well as the surrounding beaches and mountains. Recently, the firm has extended its parameters and has worked on projects as far away as Dubai, Spain, and Panama City. Ballard’s unique approach to design reflects his desire to return to a time when craft was valued above all else. Today, Ballard uses the inspirations his clients find in their travels to create homes that feel like luxury destinations. “My clients know what they like from their travels, they’ve tasted that type of luxury,” Ballard says. Most often, Ballard finds that his clients’ true vision is really an interpretation of something they’ve seen; Ballard isn’t designing recreated historical palaces, but translations fit for today’s world. “When we travel, we look back to a time when craftsmen took pride in their work. In Europe, people spent the money to get the luxury of the craftsmanship,” he adds. “That’s what high-end should be.” Ballard prides himself on being a full-service architect. He works on every aspect of a client’s

home, from the detailed drawings he gives them at the beginning to acting as the go-between when it comes to contractors and craftsmen. Ballard also makes sure to include the “true craft” he is so passionate about into his clients’ homes. “That’s what luxury and custom are. A custom home should not include identical builder-grade windows and crown-molding packages. When potential clients come to see my projects, what they’re going to see is true carpenter’s craft, true tile craft in the bathroom, true mason’s craft on the stone, true marble craft and railing craft,” he says. When it came time to work on the Carr residence, a recent project in Rhode Island, Ballard added shopping to his list of services, helping the client make decisions on everything from linens to china to furniture. “We design everything and manage the entire project for our clients. Our service is more like what an old-world architect provided, before the current trend of multiple specialists and consultants,” Ballard says. “It’s a real benefit for homeowners building a home to have their architect leading every step of the project.” For the Carr Residence, Ballard needed to find a way to blend his client’s desire to have a classic New England-style home while at the same time addressing their love of modern and contemporary spaces that feature simple lines. “We found that one way to make this work was to have open flow and proper use of larger windows and lighting,” he explains. Where some architects are moving to designs with minimal trim, and large quantities of glass

and metal, Ballard believes a modern home should ultimately be warm, inviting, and timeless. “Those materials, though certainly modern, are colder and harder. A modern home, to me, should merge the two,” Ballard explains of his aesthetic. When it came time to begin work on the Carr residence, Ballard started his research by traveling along the coast. “New England architecture has Shaker roots, so what I kept seeing was simple lines and simple columns, and a level of craft that lends itself to blending with contemporary styles,” he says. “We followed all the models of classical design, and kept things simple. Our timber posts flowed into the very modern lines of the kitchen, which are all slab doors. We eased everything in and balanced it with the craft.” “When tying styles together, you can also add exposed timbers and simple trim to your advantage, like we did on the Carr residence. Using layers of squareprofiled trim in place of elaborate moldings helps, as well as the use of base boards and crown molding,” Ballard says. Ballard has also found great success blending styles by using such techniques as balancing color, texture, and fabric palettes, as well as observing light and shadows and their relation to windows and flooring. “You can successfully put a classical room next to a contemporary room if you balance it,” he adds.

New American Luxury September/October 2011

seth ballard

We design everything and manage the entire project for our clients. Our service is more like what an old-world architect provided, before the current trend of multiple specialists and consultants.




New American Luxury September/October 2011





Historic Preservation


Renovations and Additions Luxury One of a Kind Homes Interiors Landcape Design Hospitality Multi-Family

450 W. Broad Street, Suite 312 Falls Church, Virginia 22046 (703) 992-7580 |


New American Luxury September/October 2011

re.adapt D.L. Design adapts to the new market by shifting its focus from tract homes to custom remodels words Suchi Rudra photos Debbie Franke Jerry Voloski Alise O’Brien design practice D.L. Design 710 South Kirkwood St. Louis, MO 63122 314.822.3620

01–03 COUNTRY FRENCH This French-manor style home outisde of St. Louis, MO is nestled into a hillside site. The home façade features high, sloped, slate roofs, white parged red brick walls, hand-hewn timber window headers and bracketing, and custom-built shutters.


New American Luxury September/October 2011

At the tail end of a recession, homeowners are opting to add on and upgrade instead of building anew to indulge their visions of a luxury home. Kitchens and basements have become the main focus of this trend in luxury remodels, creating spaces that bring the family together and also allow for alone time spent on a favorite hobby. In 1983, Darryl A. Labruyere established his own architectural firm, D.L. Design. The first years brought many general contractors looking for tract home-design services—an early challenge, as Labruyere and his team did not have the advantage of meeting the prospective homebuyers. Instead, the work required designing to the marketplace and an aware-


ness of the latest trends. But the firm soon evolved into remodels and additions, custom homes, multi-family housing, and light commercial projects, all of which allow the firm to work directly with clients to meet their individual demands. Currently, D.L. Designs creates homes mainly in the St. Louis area, and Labruyere readily acknowledges that it is a challenge; while St. Louis desires something “a little different than the next, they are very conservative,” he says. Labruyere is also not a big proponent of “designing a home with extra rooms which the clients don’t really need just 01 some would deem to satisfy what as necessary for the idea of resale in the future.” Instead, he strives

to design homes that fit a client’s everyday needs and activities, streamlining his homes to improve efficiency and performance. A recovering economy is likely the reason behind one of the largest trends the firm has seen lately: luxury remodel and renovation projects. “People are staying put in existing homes and neighborhoods, while thinking about their comfort, and about small projects that could make a huge difference in their lives,” Labruyere says. And the two spaces on which remodels tend to focus? The kitchen and the basement. No longer just a space for preparing meals, the kitchen has become a family-gathering environment, and “the heart of the home,” Labruyere says. Basements



Darryl A. Labruyere

People are staying put in existing homes and neighborhoods, while thinking about their comfort, and about small projects that could make a huge difference in their lives.


second floor plan


04 ITALIANATE HOME The firm designed this custom home in the Italianate style, which dominated American houses constructed between 1850 and 1880. 05 GREAT ROOM The two-story great room is located at the center of the home. Three walls of glass wash the midsection of the home with daylight and offer a stunning view of the rear yard.

first floor plan


have also become popular as a way to introduce extra amenities to the home at less cost than in the main levels. Labruyere has seen it all, including wine cellars with tasting or dining rooms, theaters, bars (“which rival your local establishment”), exercise rooms, offices, bedroom suites for guests or live-in domestic workers, billiard or snooker table rooms, and giftwrapping or craft rooms. “These are fun spaces, designed to fit a client’s lifestyle. Here, anything goes,” he adds. Labruyere explains that luxury building did well before the recession. During the recession, however, clients planned their dream homes, but were held back. Even clients who had the ability to proceed with a custom home were skeptical. Now, although he sees the signs of a luxury-home rebound, Labruyere believes “we have a long way to go. Clients will have to feel more comfortable about the economy.”

New American Luxury September/October 2011

Spencer Brickwork is the largest volume residential masonry contracting firm in the St. Louis area. Founded in 1979, Spencer Brickwork has led the industry with dependability, service and award winning projects. Spencer Brickwork runs multiple crews of union trained employees encompassing the whole spectrum of residential masonry from simple mailboxes, to production homes to $750,000.00 plus masonry contracts on 5-10 million dollar dream homes. Spencer Brickwork also does many 3 & 4 story midrise buildings and occasional small commercial work. Spencer Brickwork is a member of the HBA, MCA, MCAA and the MCA/OSHA partnership.

Spencer Brickwork, Inc. 16257 Westwoods Bus. Park St. Louis, MO 63021 P: 636-391-0517 F: 636-391-4071 E: New American Luxury September/October 2011


re.defined Perimeter Architects redefines what a luxury home can be by carving out bright, luxurious spaces on Chicago’s narrow urban lots words Eugenia Orr photos tk

design practice Perimeter Architects 3028 N. Southport Ave. Chicago, IL 60657 773.535.0788 projects Wellington Home, Chicago, IL Yao Residence, Chicago, IL Nelson Residence, Chicago, IL project team John Issa, Jim Jobes builder Tuscany Builders

Perimeter Architects, located in Chicago, is not on a mission to reinvent luxury; rather, John Issa, principal, states that the firm is creating an alternative interpretation of luxury. “Through an understanding of the meaning of luxury, we are able to redefine it in infinitely different ways. Interpretation is a discovery of what luxury could or should be,” he states. Perimeter Architects’ designs are not typical Chicago-style architecture. Issa, originally from Los Angeles, arrived in Chicago in 2001; by 2004, he and business partner, Jim Jobes, AIA, opened the doors of Perimeter with the mission to explore urban environments and provide architectural solutions within the constraints of densely populated areas and the homes situated in those areas. Issa’s California influence is a characteristic that clients recognize and are pleased to see. Seeing the limitations many homes in Chicago have due to lot

size, an integral aspect of Perimeter’s luxury interpretation is rooted in bringing in more natural light and expanding interior ventilation. Speculative House #1, a challenge due to the 25’ x 125’ typical Chicago lot size, was given privacy and luxury with a solid front façade which functions as the master-bedroom closet and the addition of an 8’ x 3’ skylight and an open stairwell. The added privacy, functionality, and openness solved the challenges of the residence’s position on a major street, and lead to its sale within four weeks.



At the Yao Residence, two 4’ x 7’ operable skylights were added to the roof, allowing sunlight into the main living area—the only natural-light source on the west façade is a single window. The home is steps away from the “El” brown line train, which limits privacy on the west and subjects the home to vibrations. Perimeter Architects redesigned the west wall with closed-cell insulation to reduce the vibration and sound impact and added skylights to offset the loss of the west windows. “Luxury would not be luxurious without natural light. There must


New American Luxury September/October 2011

John Issa

Luxury would not be luxurious without natural light. There must also be quality to the light for it to be luxurious.

03 YAO RESIDENCE 01 EXTERIOR In dramatic contrast to the warm interiors, the modern, standingseam metal exterior manages vibration, noise, and privacy though a single building material—leaving behind a strikingly simple and powerful exterior. 02 KITCHEN In order to accomplish the client’s desire for an open view of the house all appliances were placed under the 19-foot-long countertop. WELLINGTON RESIDENCE 03 SKYLIGHT The large skylight fills the house with soft, natural light. 04 LIVING ROOM Perimeter created an intimate space perfect for a game of chess and a fire within a treelined, urban environment.

New American Luxury September/October 2011





John Issa

Our role in the luxury market is to make people aware that the range of luxury is much larger than what they see.

07 NELSON RESIDENCE 05 EXTERIOR Permiter transformed the historic Chicago bungalow, yet retained the elements that set the bungalow apart from the surrounding homes. 06 MASTER BEDROOM ADDITION Delicately wrapped in composite slate tile, the master-bedroom suite is elevated to soak in the southern light of Chicago. The butterfly roof collects rainwater to irrigate the client’s lush garden. 07 STAIRCASE TO ADDITION The custom steel staircase was designed and fabricated by John Issa of Perimeter and David Greene of Iron & Wire. The stair mimics a thin, folded sheet of paper floating in the air.


also be quality to the light for it to be luxurious,” Issa states. For Perimeter Architects, the definition of luxury is the idea of crafting space—not just the interior, but also the exterior. “Luxury encompasses how a garden works around the residence or how the exterior finish plays against the context of the neighborhood, or what the client envisioned and how we reinterpret materials and their use in the space.” At the Nelson Residence, a Chicago bungalow, the interpretation of materials protected the historic reading of the home while allowing for the expansion of a master suite in a modern way. The interior of the home was completed in a modern design, despite its inherent historic nature. “The result is a very sophisticated balance between old and new,” Issa says. “Our role in the luxury market is to make people aware that the range of luxury is much larger than what they see,” Issa says. Perimeter Architects approaches no two projects the same, employing the mix of materials to create a sense of luxury, while solving their clients’ design problems. The myriad materials serve to increase the definitions of luxury Perimeter Architects creates. For the past five years, Issa has been teaching the next generation of architects at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). The experience has served as a way to keep him and the firm on the cutting

edge of architecture. “Teaching is ensuring that I am being clear with my work. We teach students that they must design and be clear with their work, so it keeps me sharp,” Issa states. For Perimeter Architects, a clear understanding of their clients’ lifestyles and of shaping space enables the firm to create luxury spaces that work.

PERIMETER AND MODERN LUXURY Perimeter Architects creates modern luxury through the reinterpretation of materials. For the firm’s designs, industrial elements are luxurious when treated and mixed with other, more traditional, elements. Perimeter’s definition of luxury is a careful balance of what would seem to be cold elements, with inherently warm finishes. This intensity of materials symbolizes a modern luxury that Perimeter hopes will inform people that the range of luxury is larger than what they see. For Perimeter, the idea of luxury would be empty without natural light, which they maximize in every project. John Issa’s California influence is another element that guides the firm’s luxury direction, through the use of glazing and interior finishes that are not typical Chicagostyle selections.

New American Luxury September/October 2011


re.illumine 01

Robertson & Landers Architects infuse classic New England architecture with natural light

words Scott Heskes photos tk

project Dionne Home “Stone Cottage” New Canaan, CT design practice Robertson & Landers 59 Grove Street, Suite 2D New Canaan, CT 06840 203.966.2617

01 THE STONE COTTAGE Nestled among New Canaan’s luxury homes, the Stone Cottage supplements its unassuming profiles with an outdoor dining pergola and bay window attached to the master bedroom.

New American Luxury September/October 2011

For Malcolm Robertson, bringing sunlight into homes is not just a practice, it is a design philosophy. With his firm, Robertson & Landers Architects, he designs smaller, energy-efficient, high-quality luxury homes with a keen eye on natural lighting and materials. Established in 1980, Robertson & Landers Architects was started by two college buddies. Eric Landers, now retired, opened the firm alongside its current managing principal, Malcolm Robertson, who has developed R&L into one of the more prominent highend, residential-architectural firms over the past 30 years in a town famous for architecture. “We have a very open-minded studio atmosphere with a fairly quiet, unassuming profile,” says R&L project manager Robert Hughes. “The firm’s strength is spatial design and a strong rapport with clients. Malcolm’s philosophy, which I am in complete agreement with, is and has always been about use of natural materials along with correct site planning to maximize natural sunlight and exposure. A home should be an extension of the site, not a statement.” In New Canaan, Connecticut,

small is defined in different terms than most other places. CNN Money Magazine ranked New Canaan as having the highest median income in the nation in 2008. With such wealth come large homes. The Dionne house, designed by Robertson & Landers, is known locally as The Stone Cottage for its earthy exterior stone walls. The Cottage is large by most standards, at 7,000 square feet, but it fits, elegant and unassuming, within its

natural surroundings and grander neighbors. “This house redefined the trend in this area,” says project manager Robert Hughes. “It was a new way of thinking that you could do a house with some significance without needing 10,000 or 14,000 square feet.” Robertson believes the smaller size of the Stone Cottage is an architectural trend reaching far beyond Connecticut. “Trends in new homes today are towards less size and more quality,” Robertson says. Robertson also believes owners are more conscientious today about energy efficiency and the use of natural, long-lasting, and low-maintenance materials. In addition, building orientation is important to take ad-

Robert Hughes

[The Dionne Home] redefined the trend in this area. It was a new way of thinking that you could do a house with some significance without needing 10,000 or 14,000 square feet.



It was a new way of thinking that you could do a house with some significance without needing 10,000 or 14,000 square feet


03 THE STONE COTTAGE A six-foot garden wall extends beyond the western side of the home. 04 KITCHEN The eight-foot opening to the kitchen hides two four-foot pocket doors that can close off the space when the family entertains. 05 DIONNE DINING ROOM The dining room features custom, built-in cabinetry, wall wainscoting, and a coffered ceiling.


vantage of natural lighting, ventilation, and heating. What truly defines R&L’s designs is the focus on natural lighting. “Natural light has a strong psychological effect on people,” Robertson says. “We have found over the years that homes filled with natural light make for happier families. Plus the passive solar benefits keep the cost of energy down, helping the environment.” In a region of world-renowned architecture, where Philip Johnson’s famous Glass House redefined the modern home in the 1940s and 1950s, R&L continues in the tradition of finding new, innovative materials to work with. “We constantly try to suggest and implement any newer product which contributes positively towards a sustainable building environment,” Hughes explains. What the R&L team is particularly proud of is providing a quality home that adheres to the client’s budget constraints. “It’s really our responsibility as designers to make the project work within the client’s means,” Hughes says. “Anyone can start designing something wonderful and beautiful, but if the client just can’t afford it, what was the point? To achieve both is really spectacular.”



New American Luxury September/October 2011

plateau plateau pa i n t i n g c o m pa n y pa i n t i n g c o m pa n y 914.631.5140

914.631.5140 Servicing the Greenwich community for over 25 years

Servicing the Greenwich community for over 25 years 116

New American Luxury September/October 2011

Profile for Aaron Lewis

New American Luxury, #0  

Unpublished concept

New American Luxury, #0  

Unpublished concept