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No. 16

summer 2012

Golden Legacy Illustrious Additions to Walt Disney World Resort

raising the stakes gertler & wente architecture llp / regional focus: majestic homes of aspen, co



Cal Petrescu Architecture & Design Architect returns to design after developing retail destinations by Amy Howell Hirt Architect Cal Petrescu is behind the brick-andmortar image of several well-known consumer brands. In the early 1990’s, he was busy building Tiffany’s worldwide presence after designing classic looks for Brooks Brothers stores. He later helped develop the fresh, funky look that’s become synonymous with Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters locations, and was responsible for the planning and construction of stores for names like Levi’s and the Discovery Channel. But in 1999, the Scarsdale, NY-based architect left the corporate world behind and established his own brand, Cal Petrescu Architecture and Design, where he uses his creativity and retail experience to bring clients’ visions to life. For Petrescu, designing one to three-million dollar homes rather than one to three-million dollar stores brings him back to where he loves to be, fully immersed in the details of a project.



“Architects have various talents. I always had a passion for design, and now I made the time,” he says. Just as in the retail world, he relies on his ability to read clients’ lifestyles in order to balance aesthetics and cost, and excels at finding the relevant ground between dissimilar interests and styles. A young family in Scarsdale presented one such challenge: They asked Petrescu to bring an urban touch to their 4,200-square-foot colonial home to help differentiate the outside from their cookiecutter neighbors, without disturbing the neighborhood’s traditional feel. Petrescu navigated the request by “putting a little twist on the outside,” he says. While features like gables and well-proportioned, “beefy” columns at the entrance solidify the classic look, a secondary, lower roof line, oversized bay windows and an eyebrow window bring a contemporary feel to

the old standard and introduce the mix of styles inside the home. The open staircase, a true expression of interpretive modernism, with minimalistic treads, angular oak posts and sleek stainless-steel balustrades greets guests with a smart, urban style. The family-friendly kitchen balances cool modern features, like the absolute black granite countertops, with the warmth of natural oak cabinetry. On some projects, the challenge facing Petrescu is how to answer the homeowner’s needs, yet leave the exterior untouched. In another Scarsdale home, Petrescu explains, a “tall” couple was looking to add onto their home and longing for 20-foot ceilings and transitional interiors, but lived in a “Hanseland-Gretel gingerbread-style” cottage. To vertically expand the interior space without sacrificing the architectural integrity of the 1920’s structure, Petrescu simply “scooped out” parts of the second floor without altering the deeply


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pitched roofline. This created soaring ceilings in the two-story entry hall and exposed second-story dormers that draw the eye upward and drench the space in natural light, setting the stage for the grand, sun-lit family room and kitchen. Creative lighting is an integral part of Petrescu’s work–whether to direct sales in a store or to highlight a home’s features. Task cable lighting floats over the kitchen island and is discreetly supplemented by indirect lighting of the high ceilings. Perhaps through his exposure to advertising and public relations campaigns in the corporate world, Petrescu has a heightened awareness of perspective and how it can be manipulated. On the additions built to the left and right of the original house, he repeated the home’s tudor façade but angled the additions and added various projections and dormers to “visually subdivide” the bulk and create wings that disguise the 100-foot-length and help retain a cozy character. “Lower rooflines give it a more ‘human’ scale, not like a ‘McMansion,’” Petrescu says. “It reads as a collection of authentic, small cottages.” While there’s no comparison between the scope of a typical home and a commercial development, Petrescu says, “Today’s residential design demands the same or more knowledge of current trends,” and a much larger scope of options.

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Luxury Home Quarterly Summer 2012: "Architect draws from retail experience"  
Luxury Home Quarterly Summer 2012: "Architect draws from retail experience"