Luxury Home Quarterly: Issue 10

Page 1

LUXURY HOME quarterly

JUNE 2011

The [new] Glass House FR ANK HARMON ARCHITECT creates a modern oasis among the trees

A peek inside Jeffrey Hitchcock’s +gallery-style design at the Plaza Hotel

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“For several years now our relationship with BC&J Architects has been both rewarding and challenging. We’ve been fortunate to have Peter Brachvogel, AIA include Pella on his team in an increasing number of projects. One of the challenges presented has been in providing solutions for some of the more creative window and door requirements particularly in their more contemporary homes. We have been successfully meeting the challenges and plan to continue meeting their needs well into the future.” Rich Bennett

Viewed To Be The Best.®

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Pella Corporation 102 Main Street | Pella, Iowa 50219 1-866-809-9460


ON THE COVER Frank Harmon Architect PA has created an oasis within the trees of North Carolina. The interiors of the StricklandFerris residence blend seamlessly with the surrounding landscape thanks to expansive windows. page 62

FEATURES Black, White, and Red All Over The artful design of a condo at the Plaza Hotel in New York City has taken Jeffrey Hitchcock Enterprises Inc. to the top of its field.

page 46

A Sleek Connection Neil M. Denari Architects creates a contemporary home for a growing family that is strong enough to stand its ground in the earthquake-prone region.

page 54

Among the Trees Frank Harmon’s modern dwelling connects form and nature with sweeping views of the surrounding North Carolina landscape.

page 62

The Glass Pavilion Steve Hermann, founder of Hermann Design & Development, has created a stunning property that features glass walls on all sides—a home fit for Hollywood royalty.


page 70

p 54 OUTSIDE THE BOX As a teaching architect, Neil M. Denari brings inventive building strategies to his own designs.

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luxury home quarterly




Custom-home projects of note




The FArrar Residence


Construction firms specializing in peerless residences


Green Gables Design & Restoration


Argue custom Homes


Palisade Homes


Creative minds in interiors, landscapes, and furnishings


Thurston/Boyd Interior Design inc.


Solis Betancourt, Inc.

Designer Showcase

An in-depth look at some of the industry’s most unique designers


Kendall Wilkinson Design & Home

the plans

A showcase of sleek, modern architecture— and the blueprints that started it all


MirÓ Rivera architects


Anne Decker architects


Providing concepts and programs for deluxe homes

87 DomA Architects, Inc. 90

Reader & Swartz Architects, P.C.


Eskuche Creative Group LLC


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p 80 The 1414 residence in Austin, TX, designed by Miró Rivera Architects. The firm has a specific philosophy regarding the effect of its structures on the environment.

Vacation Homes

Second homes and getaways across the globe


Kelowna, British Columbia


Silver Beach, New Jersey


Serving a unique niche in the custom-home industry

102 DeMaria Design Associates Inc. 106

bc&j architects



PLUS Editor’s Note

page 8

What’s New Industry news, awards, and product innovations page 14

Calendar Trade shows and special events in the coming months page 16

Behind the Lines featuring Jocelyn Warner page 17

On the Rise Spotlighting designs for illumination and relaxation page 18


page 110

Products+Services Spotlight page 112 At Home With Julie Smith

page 114

p 20 Niche Modern’s ( new collection of glass fixtures help add color to a space in need of mood lighting.

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luxury home quarterly


editor’s note LIGHT AND DARK A New York living room designed by Jeffrey Hitchcock Enterpises.


s summer really starts to heat up, LHQ is presenting our readers with a light, airy feature on custom homes that showcase glass as a focal point. Our cover features a stunning home by Frank Harmon Architect known as the Strickland-Ferris Residence (p.62). “[The clients] wanted a house free of all restraints including cultural and conventional,” Harmon says. “The entire house has only about four doors. Most of it is one big room because a house is a place for enjoying other people. A big, wonderful space makes that possible.” The use of glass, it seems, is all about transparency, and that transparency makes it possible for family and friends to enjoy each other’s company within a home. Hermann Design & Development created yet another stunning glass home featured in this issue (p.70). Appropriately named the Glass Pavilion, the structure literally merges the indoors and out by creating a strong visual connection to the landscape. “The site was so beautiful and private that I thought it would be a shame to have any walls blocking the views,” says Hermann. Glass, as a building tool, is not only an element of form and structure but is also an element of the surrounding landscape. The feature on Jeffrey Hitchcock’s Plaza Hotel residence in New York City is a prime example of one very important niche I’ve seen over and over in interior design and architecture—working to showcase a client’s art


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june 2011

collection (p.46). With 13-foot ceilings, the home provides the perfect showplace for the client’s extensive collections of modern art and European antiques. Hitchcock used a neutral palette of cream and black in much of the home to keep the focus on the client’s prized artwork. Passion for a client’s needs is integral in creating a truly unique custom home. “I love designing something unique for a client. I love the installation, when the whole project comes alive,” Hitchcock says. His masterpiece at the Plaza Hotel is alive indeed. Keep an eye out for next month’s issue of LHQ , which features luxury lake homes that, again, marry architecture and landscape in unique and beautiful ways. As always, I hope that our coverage of the newest trends and design philosophies will motivate, inform, and inspire your work. Enjoy.

Moll y Soat , features editor



NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2011 Honoring development, innovation, and a committment to excellence American Builders Quarterly速 is celebrating the best in American building and design with the 2011 Building Excellence Awards RECOGNITION: The first annual ABQ Building Excellence Awards have been launched to recognize achievements in architecture, design, and community planning. Winning projects will receive featured coverage in the November/December 2011 issue of ABQ. CATEGORIES: One residential and one commercial project will be designated as the Project of the Year, and awards and

honorable mentions will be given in over 15 categories across all residential and commercial building sectors. APPLY TODAY FOR THE 2012 AWARDS PROGRAM: Registration is now open for all categories in the second annual ABQ Building Excellence Awards. For more information on registration deadlines, a complete list of categories, and downloadable entry forms, visit

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editor-in-chief Christopher Howe

director of editorial research

features editor

George Bozonelos george @

Molly Soat molly @

associate editor JULY/ AU

GUSt 20


LHQ JULY / AU GUSt 20 10

Y R U LUX E M O H ly

Geoff George

correspondents Zach Baliva Tricia Despres Susan Flowers Dave Hudnall Frederick Jerant Laura Judy Amy Lemen Kaleena Thompson

qu a r t e r

editorial research managers Dawn Collins Anthony D’Amico Gerald Mathews Carolyn Marx

editorial researchers Ashley Brown Deidre Davis Bronwyn Milliken Hayley O’Hara Katie Yost

creative director

editorial research assistant

Karin Bolliger

Adam Castillo


A Compr



David Chathas

Look at the Custo

photo editor Courtney Weber

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ne ers combi n Partn r DesIG InterIo es p .82 ac er h sp g es in an Fl ible liv Gunkelm es to create incred n styl two desig are p .78 u at vaIl sq is a hot commodity t abelle velopmen the arr de o design nd co est t of ethnic 2 Vail’s new melting po g residences p .10 in bean A az Ib r am Ca of ll fu ern on st gi re ea a e th AM lted in 11:44:47 3/19/10 s has resu influence






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Owner Jeffrey Woods has shaped the quality and integrity of Black Mountain, believing in the value of responsible and realistic building practices to make the entire building process a positive and rewarding one. Communication and teamwork are key elements of Jeff’s hands-on management philosophy throughout the entire building process. We offer a wealth of experience in the construction and development fields, combining timeless and superior craftsmanship while integrating the true professionals and visionaries in the fields of architecture, interior design and engineering to create the very best precision building team available to meet our clients’ needs.


Our goal is to deliver a finished product of superior quality and distinction. Black Mountain’s team specializes in luxury estates, residential tower construction, remodels and commercial development. We personally pride ourselves on every project, large or small.

San Francisco 650 Delancey St, #101 San Francisco, CA 94107 P. 415.374.7463 East Bay 3925 Old Santa Rita Rd, #200 Pleasanton, CA 94588 P. 925.520.000 | F. 925.520.0002

NEWS FLASH Industry, a new lighting and fixture collection by British design company Tom Dixon, gets its inspiration from industrial processes. Products include: Void, a unique lighting fixture; Peg, a stackable café chair; Offcut Bench, which is made from wood waste; and Jack, a “sitting, stacking, lighting thing.”

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what’s new

Industry news, awards, and product innovations

Luxury residences

St. Regis Bal Harbour opens in Miami Last year, less than 24 months after the leveling of the Sheraton Bal Harbour, the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort, designed by The Sieger Suarez Architectural Partnership, finished construction on all three of its 27-story towers in South Florida. Located on more than 600 feet of immaculate beachfront, the luxury getaway—one of the largest in the southeastern United States, according to some experts—is scheduled to open this year with 270 private residences, a 205-rooms hotel, the 12,000-square-foot full-service Remede Spa, a wine bar, and roughly 9 acres of landscaped outdoor space, including a secluded beach. The residences were designed by the Yabu Pushelberg firm and range in size from 1,777 to 6,868 square feet and from one to four bedrooms. All the homes feature marble bathrooms, Europeanstyle kitchen cabinetry, and state-of-the-art controls for climate, lighting, and the window shades. Each space also features floor-to-ceiling windows and terraces measuring 440-1,380 square feet that offer sweeping views of both the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay. Source: Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.

DESIGNER collection

Ann Sacks releases new line of wood tiles The tiling of the Indah collection from Ann Sacks—a leading manufacturer and distributor of tile, stone, and plumbing products— is made of sustainably harvested tropical teak hardwood that is durable but still pliable. The company worked with Indonsesian artisans to conceive the tiling’s hand-carved designs, which add a natural atmosphere to any space they occupy. The tiles come in seven different patterns—acanthus leaf, banana leaf, circles, fingerprint, horizontal lines, waves, and a weave (pictured)—and they are available in five hues that range from dark to light depending on the type of finish (wax, French polish, or whitewash) applied to the wood. Designers and homeowners who prefer the character of aged wood can special order tiles made of reclaimed teak that has already developed a patina. Named after the Indonesian word for “beautiful,” the Indah collection was inspired by traditional folk art, and its tiles will enliven any interior. Source: Ann Sacks


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what’s new


IIDA announces firstannual Global Excellence Awards winners

against the wall. At 11 inches tall, 4 inches deep, and almost 8 inches wide, the pieces are large enough to draw attention without being spatially obtrusive, and WAC Lighting offers them in a number of different designs including Flava in Black and White (pictured top left), Tigra (top right), Aurora (bottom right), and Flava (bottom left). Use the sconces to add subtle, artful lighting to any residential space.

The International Interior Design Association announced at the end of last year the winners of its first annual Global Excellence Awards, which honor the best interior-design projects from around the world in a broad spectrum of categories. The award for Best Residence went to Mitchell Freedland Design of Vancouver, Canada, for the firm’s design of a beachfront residence in West Vancouver. An entire 1,250-square -foot second level—complete with a bedroom, bathroom, living area, and terrace—was added above a studio situated right on the shoreline. A fireplace dominates the middle of the space, dividing the bedroom from the living room without closing the space down. The space sports custom lighting and a fairly monochromatic palette of white paint and warm wood paneling, and the millwork and most of the furnishings were designed and fabricated by local artisans. As a final touch, sun shading was used to temper solar heat coming through the large windows facing the water. Another firm, Ptang Studio Ltd., received an honorable mention for its Hillsborough Court home in Hong Kong. The cozy 850-squarefoot space was also given a monochromatically white palette and has won the firm an Excellence Award of Residential Space Design in the 2010 AIA Awards.

Source: WAC Lighting

Source: International Interior Design Association


WAC Lighting adds to handblown collection Meant to match with the already-released Quick Connect™ series of glass pendants, WAC Lighting has now introduced a collection of artfully decorated glass wall sconces. The handblown pieces were designed with eco-friendly features such as high-power electrical ballasts, and they are built to accommodate energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. The sconces are also ADAcompliant thanks to shallow low-profile backplates, which allow the glass shades to fit flush

LUXURY residences

Closings begin on luxe beachside condos Closings have begun for the condo residences at the newly completed Terra Beachside 6000 Collins, a six-story, 116-unit property in Miami Beach. The homes have 18-foot ceilings and range in size from 1,095 to 3,495 square feet and from one to three bedrooms. All of the two- and three-bedroom units have two-story floorplans. A few of the residences even have rooftop terraces that provide an additional 1,350 square feet of living space. The architecture of the building’s common areas includes a translucent 400-foot atrium that spans the entire length of the property, a cone-shaped lifestyle center, and a courtyard with gardens and fountains. The entire structure was conceived by the Sieger Suarez architectural firm. Source: BH III LLC

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Trade shows and special events in the coming months

Olympia International Fine Art & Antiques Fair JUNe 9-19

Olympia Exhibition Centre, London

For 10 days, decorators, curators, and more than 30,000 buyers will converge in London for this trade show largely dedicated to home décor. All antiques, including Old Master paintings and a wide range of furniture pieces, have been vetted for authenticity by a team of appraisers.

Home Textiles Sourcing Expo

Southeast Building Conference (SEBC)

Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York City, NY

Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL

It’s an entire trade fair of fabric and finished goods for the home, including floor and wall coverings, window curtains, upholstery, tablecloths and place mats, bedding, bath mats, and shower curtains. The show is held annually alongside Texworld USA, making it one of the largest shows in North America for textile manufacturers, wholesalers, furniture makers, decorators, and general buyers.

Buyers, vendors, and industry professionals will gather to make connections and sit in on seminars at this large regional expo. Attendees can listen to speakers covering six main topics—multifamily, residential, and commercial construction as well as green building, sustainability, and leadership. Also, special sections of the show floor will feature the latest sustainable products and solutions.


AIA Florida Show

Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, NV

Naples Grand Beach Resort, Naples, FL

From cutting-method comparisons to talks on new stains and finishes, this expo takes a look at the many facets of the woodworking industry. The trade-show floor will include a “Green Desk” where buyers can take their questions about sustainable wood practices, the “smartSHOP,” a fully operational cabinet-assembly shop where experts will demonstrate how to use various machinery, and other areas featuring innovative products in the industry.

The Florida chapter of one of the US’s most established and prominent architectural organizations will host its annual convention in beautiful Naples. Attendees will have the opportunity to listen to talks from a host of architectural professionals and meet with exhibitors sharing the latest building products and techniques taking over the market.

july 20-23


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july 21-23

july 29th


july 19-21

behind the lines




Jocelyn Warner Jocelyn Warner’s interest in interior design began at a very young age. Having grown up in 1960s England in a house designed by her architect father, her style was first informed by the home’s fabric and furniture, which had been conceived by such notables as John Piper and Lucienne and Robin Day. This early interest and immersion quickly blossomed into a successful career. After obtaining a BA in textile design from Camberwell School of Arts & Crafts and an MA in computer-aided design and digital printing for textiles from Central St Martin’s, Warner dabbled in several textile ventures before founding her own company, Jocelyn Warner, in 1999. The design firm quickly became known for its wallpapers which combine Warner’s studies with elements of nature. They have been acquired by the Cooper Hewitt wallpaper collection in New York, and they have received many awards, including a 2007 Elle Decoration award. Jocelyn Warner has now come out with a line of designer furniture fabrics meant to complement its most popular wallpapers. The fabrics are 100-percent linen, which Warner feels “keeps the heart and soul of the wallpapers,” and their patterns were taken from the company’s Blossom, Flora, Leaf, and Tree Tops wallpaper designs. “They can be easily mixed with vintage as well as modern furniture creating an eclectic and relaxed style,” Warner says. The new line launched in January at Maison & Objet in Paris, but the company is already looking ahead. Jocelyn Warner has collaborated in the past with companies such as DesignTex, Agnona, and Ploegstoffen, and the firm’s constant work and experimentation with new technologies and materials ensures the inevitability of more connections to come. Whatever turns the interiordesign world might take, Jocelyn Warner’s timeless designs seem destined to thrive. –Geoff George

MORE THAN A SKETCH “When I start drawing, what comes through is the sense of wonder and excitement I first felt on seeing a plant or shape in nature,” Warner says. “[My designs have] also soaked up a sense of time and place along with other things I’ve absorbed subconsciously from art, fashion, trends, and experiences at that time.”

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luxury home quarterly


on the rise

Popular trends and rising stars in the luxury-home market

Illuminated Every room needs a focal point, whether it be a stunning light fixture or a funky piece of furniture. These products embody some of the most artful, beautiful concepts in home dĂŠcor today.


Series 28


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The bulbs of the Series 28 fixture from Bocci are created with a special glassblowing technique developed by Canadian architect Omer Arbel. The process involves blowing air in and out of the glass at random intervals while also intermittently heating and cooling it. This creates shapes inside of the glass where low-voltage or LED lamps are then placed. Because of this process, no two Series 28 fixtures are exactly alike.

on the rise




Illuminate any space with Hydroargentum, a stunning new lighting collection from Andromeda International. The fixtures were conceived by Leonardo de Carlo, and they’re built to fit any space, large or small. Dimensions of the pieces range from 15 to 96 lights, and they can be redesigned and customized for each order. They are also available in three different colors: silver (pictured), blue, and bronze.

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luxury home quarterly


on the rise


Pharos Designed by Jeremy Pyles, these narrow lamp fixtures from Niche Modern come in a variety of colors that will lend a dramatic atmosphere to any room. The lengthy glass cases hold 75-watt, tubular incandescent bulbs, which are dimmable to further enhance the mood of a space. The fixtures are named after lighthouse towers written of in ancient texts, and the light that pours from them will seem just as fabled.


luxury home quarterly

april 2011


Mah Jong Modular sofa


These cushions, part of famed clothing designer Jean Paul Gaultier’s furniture collection created for Roche Bobois, can be arranged and rearranged dozens of times to imagine a room anew. The tile-shaped elements are borrowed from deceased German designer Hans Hopfer, who first brought the idea to Roche Bobois in the 1970s. Here, Gaultier makes it his own by upholstering the flexible cushions in nautical stripes and whimsical patterns. Other pieces in Gaultier’s collection include a chariot-shaped chair, luggage-like clothes bureaus, and an elaborate folding screen.

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luxury home quarterly



custom-home projects of note

Credits Architecture: The Miller Hull Partnership, LLP ( Engineer: Degenkolb Engineers ( General ContractorS: Steve Mann and Scott Chenoweth

sky R anch

Because residential spaces within industrial facilities are allowed no more than 800 square feet, the designers made sure that every wall would serve multiple purposes. One entire forty-foot edge of the home was turned into a bookcase and included inset spaces for a TV and an oven. Another wall had a fireplace built into it. The interior was planned out to take advantage of the location, and the kitchen/din-


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ing/living room and the master bedroom both enjoy sweeping views of Stimson Marina and Salmon Bay. The exterior of the home was constructed of corrugated metal sheets that match the home to its industrial surroundings, and a wooden deck wrapping around two sides of the structure provides an additional 500 square feet without violating building codes. As a final preservative touch, the home was constructed on a bed of I-beams, allowing the owner to transport the entire dwelling should he ever decide to move and ensuring its continued use long after its current industrial surroundings grow tiresome. The home might be economical, but it was still built to last.

Photos: Benjamin Benschneider

When a client approached The Miller Hull Partnership, LLP about constructing a caretaker’s home atop a warehouse in Seattle’s bay area, a home that would need to meet specific dimensional requirements, the architectural firm eagerly took up the challenge. The resulting structure takes the idea of spacial economy to its furthest extreme while still conveying a refined sensibility.


The Farrar Residence Blending seamlessly with the tree-laden hillside it occupies, the Farrar residence lies almost hidden in the natural, boundless landscape outside of Park City, Utah. The 12,000-square-foot home has been designed for optimal style and comfort, and yet it remains a perfect example of how to take advantage of the surrounding environment while minimizing a structure’s impact on it.


Credits Architect: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (

M/E/P/FP Engineering: Flack and Kurtz (

Structural Engineering: Rutherford & Chekene (

General Contractor: Culp Construction Co. (

Furnishings: Light Spot Modern Design (

The house, designed by the Bohlin Cywinski Jackson firm, is composed mainly of two perpendicular sections that intersect at a central living space. The north-south section is parallel to the hill’s slope and runs from the entry to the back of the house, containing a kitchen, a guest wing, a garage, a wine cellar, and an indoor swimming pool. The other section houses a master bedroom and a study. Cedar siding and Douglas-fir wood were used respectively for the home’s walls and roof, and large window panels throughout both sections open the dwelling up to the Wasatch Valley below. The highlight of the home is the 25-meter lap pool that cantilevers over a seasonal brook. Another broad window at one end of this natatorium allows an underwater view from the exterior—a fitting detail for this model of luxury-home living that works with the land rather than against it.

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luxury home quarterly



Construction firms specializing in peerless residences

Northwest Lakehouse in Lake Oswego, OR 6,000 square feet 4 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms


The relationship between the outdoors and indoors was very important to this home’s owners. So, Green Gables took full advantage of spectacular Lake Oswego views and developed wider entryways that create a flow between interior living spaces and the natural exterior. The design also includes plenty of spaces for outdoor living.

by Amy Lemen When it comes to dynamic home projects, Lindley Morton has always designed and built at the same time, so it was only natural to start a firm that specialized in just that. More than 30 years after its founding, Morton’s firm, Portland, Oregon-based Green Gables Design & Restoration, is known for its highly detailed homes and its dedicated craftsmen. “Because of the nature of our work, everything we do is custom,” Morton says. “At the end of the day, we do things we can be proud of—whether it’s a mansion or a tree house.” That strategy has worked for Green Gables. The company doesn’t do any advertising at all—not even allowing contractors to put up signs on jobs—yet it has managed to generate a healthy list of clients, all of them by word-of-mouth. “We lead with our reputation and do the best job we can for every client,” Morton says. “It’s all about pleasing the client— that’s always the goal for us.”


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The firm’s work ranges from kitchen and bath projects to whole house remodels to new construction jobs between $500,000 and more than $12 million. Green Gables has done much of its work along the Pacific coast, from Portland, Oregon, up through Washington and all the way to Vancouver, British Columbia. The firm has also done design projects in Hawaii and Utah—often for clients who have used the firm already for their primary home and who now want a vacation home. For example, the firm has designed several homes on Lake Oswego as relaxing, gorgeous family retreats. One of the homes, known as the Northwest Lakehouse, is owned by people who requested their home have a strong relationship with the outside. Morton built the home to take maximum advantage of the surrounding views and installed wide entryways that better connected the home’s interior and exterior. “The house that fits with its

Authentic, furniture quality windows and doors built to order by craftsmen.

Dedicated to excellence, we always choose the best components for our windows and doors. From wood and glass, to weather seals and hardware—only the best will do. We are committed to quality, design, function, thoroughness, attention to detail and customer service. This defines and gives clarity to our work.

owners’ life and what’s going to make them happy will always be a house that stands apart from the rest,” Morton says.


No matter the home’s location, Morton says each house and project is a new one, and the firm therefore does not attach itself to a particular style. “We want to show our clients a range, show them the possibilities,” Morton says. “Each house is special and for an individual, and we think a lot about that.”

Casement • Double Hung Hopper • Awning Transom • Sliding Sash Direct Sets • Profiles Doors & More!

The firm also follows the same careful process with all of its clients, taking the time up front to listen to what each of them wants, helping them define their objectives and goals, and always keeping budget in mind. “We talk budget very early on so we don’t design something that’s completely out of their price range,” Morton says. “We love to show clients past projects and walk them through so they can see the detail and the quality of work—and so they get a real feeling for what we’re about.” In particular, Morton stresses the handmade, custom-made emphasis that permeates the firm’s work—an aspect that appeals both to clients and to architects who work with Green Gables. “Everything we do has been touched by human hands—this is not off-the-shelf stuff,” he says. “The outstanding cooperative work of our subcontractors and suppliers has been critical to our success.”

303 South 5th, Ste. 120, Springfield, OR 97477 Phone: (541) 744-0150 | Fax: (541) 744-1917


The firm is also known for its adherence to green design principles, and many of its projects have achieved LEED certification for their sustainability. Morton says it is about presenting clients with options and showing them the potential for payback. “We want to give them a clear picture of the difference, and they appreciate the information and the options, whether or not they choose to use them,” he says. “It’s about efficiency: good design is built efficiently.” Above all, Morton says it is about designing and building a home that the client loves—without regard for resale or other factors—and that is where the firm’s custom emphasis really makes a difference. “My feeling is that if you go with what you want, what you love, and what fits with the way you live, it’ll sell,” Morton says. “You can tell the difference between a house built for resale versus one built for yourself. There’s always going to be someone like you out there who will appreciate that.”


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Craftsman Lakehouse in Lake Oswego, OR 10,000 square feet 4 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms This Craftsman-style family home was designed for owners who love to entertain—and who love the lake. Lifelong Lake Oswego residents, they wanted a home that was not only functional for them but also looked beautiful from the water. Phone: 503-356-0990

Jim Davenport started Davenport Architectural Woodworking with a goal to incorporate modern technology and old world craftsmanship. 30 years later he has taken a lifetime of knowledge & adapted it to modern technological processes. Davenport offers a wide range of services following the motto “if we can draw it, we can build it”.

Contour / Profile & Design Replication


PO Box 4828, Tualatin, OR 97062 Phone: (503) 612-0555

A MESSAGE FROM NORTHWEST DOOR & SASH COMPANY Northwest Door & Sash Company has produced fine architectural windows and doors for many years, specializing in vertical-grain Douglas fir featuring true divided lites. Dedicated to excellence, we have captured the essence of a quality product: functional and long lasting, pleasing to the eye, and committed to today’s energy standards. (

Portland, OR Bend, OR Seattle, WA SunValley, ID Litchfeild, CT


MOUNTAIN RETREAT This formal Mediterranean home was built into the rocks of Artesano Troon Canyon in Scottsdale, AZ.

Argue Custom Homes’ Top Architectural Elements

Argue Custom Homes

1. Proper placement: “How a house blends into the lot and environment is very important to us. The lot is a canvas, and we paint the home onto it,” president Tom Argue says.


2. Home automation: “[It] is big in Arizona, and there are constantly new, interesting, and sophisticated products available.”

by Laura Judy


In the competitive Arizona building environment, Argue Custom Homes works hard in and around the Scottsdale area to create unique, high-end custom homes that continually place the firm at the top of the residential market. “We’ve been very fortunate to rise to the top,” president Tom Argue says. “I definitely feel lucky to be where I am and doing what I’m doing.”

mental construction,” he says. “In this company, we’ve touched on commercial, but our passion is residential.” Argue works with a reliable base of subcontractors, which he says is extremely important. “With the competitive environment here, we have to be very careful who we work with to make sure they really know what they’re doing,” he says.

After graduating from the University of Arizona in 1989, Argue worked for various businesses in California and Arizona before starting his own company in 1992. “Before I started my company, I worked mostly in commercial and environ-

While Argue Custom Homes has taken on up to 18 projects per year in the past, currently that number is closer to five—however, tough economy aside, there’s another reason the number is lower this year: the company has been working

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3. Reclaimed materials: “We love using reclaimed products like wood and rock, and we often incorporate rock from the building site right back into the construction of the home.” 4. Light finishes: “We love how lighter finishes and the use of a lot of glass are bringing the popular style back to more minimal and traditional. It’s a more timeless and lighter way of living.” 5. Solar power: “We are looking at using more and more solar technology. We like where the industry is going, and government rebates make it easier and easier to use.”


FROM ITALY TO ARIZONA This kitchen was designed to the specifications of an Italian kitchen the clients wanted to replicate.

Artesano Lot 27 & 28 in the Troon Community Location: North Scottsdale, AZ Design Style: Formal Mediterranean Square Footage: 14,600 Beds/Baths: 5 bedrooms, 7 baths (in the main house) Lot: Integrated with boulders on the side of a mountain


Highlights: A separate guesthouse, a workout facility with a locker room and sauna, a three-story elevator, a wine cellar with toasting patio, and a reverse negative-edge pool with Chinese glass tile.

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The Scottsdale Elegant Estate Home Location: Scottsdale, AZ

“We put forth a team approach to a project, articulately explaining the process to the client and managing it all the way through, which is the best thing you can do in this industry.” Tom Argue, President on a massive project. “This home is worth the equivalent of about 10 of the homes we usually do,” Argue says. The Scottsdale home, which will be one of the largest homes in Arizona, is 103,000 square feet with about 76,000 square feet of livable space. Built on top of a mountain, the home will include an IMAX theater, a threestory nightclub, and a lazy river.

project to project. “I wouldn’t say that we have our own distinct style because we enjoy working with different styles, but we don’t do a lot of true contemporary homes,” Argue says. Some of the styles the company references frequently are rural Mediterranean, formal Mediterranean, Tuscan, and ranch hacienda, all popular in the Southwest market.

Of course, while still on the high-end of the market, most of the homes the company builds are on a slightly smaller scale, and style varies from

A recent project that the company built in North Scottsdale’s Troon community truly exemplifies formal Mediterranean style. While the project


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Design Style: Rural Mediterranean Square Footage: 30,000 (24,000 livable space) Beds/Baths: 6 bedrooms, 7 baths (in the main house) Lot: 40 acres with a sweeping mountain view Highlights: A separate guesthouse, a tennis court, a horse barn and arena, an all-rock exterior, a back patio with a brick ceiling, and a negative-edge pool facing the mountains.

was a little difficult to get through—it became the company’s longest build ever—it turned out to be amazing in the end. “The client was very tough and discerning, and he kept changing his mind, but now he’s turned into a great friend,” Argue says. “He just wanted to make sure every detail was something he’d want to live with.” Some of those details include reclaimed materials, Venetian plaster, automatic pocket doors, and an elegant office opening onto a “trophy” room for the big-game hunting client. One of Argue’s favorite elements is the ceiling in the breakfast room. “The client wanted a skylight, but we were worried about too much light coming in, so we created an illuminated, mirrored ceiling that creates the illusion of a window,” Argue says. The company enjoys finding solutions to tricky problems and making sure every client gets the best. “It’s all about filling in those personal details,” Argue says. Another favorite project, which Argue Custom Homes built about seven years ago, is an elegant estate home in the rural Mediterranean style. The home takes full advantage of its 40 acres of property with a large yard, a negative-edge pool, tennis courts, a horse barn and arena, and a huge back patio featuring a mountain view. An allrock exterior, brick ceilings, and walnut floors add to the unique style of the home.

A Argue Custom Homes

It’s not the graceful arches or grand entryways that make our homes so special. Nor is it the hand-cut stone that adorns the outer walls. It’s not the meticulous laying of tile, the imported wood doors or vaulted ceilings framed with ornate trim that makes them so magnificent. It’s not even the organic flow of the floorplan that creates such outstanding beauty. No, none of these things can compare to the most important thing we put into every home we build: artistic vision and unrelenting passion to create the home of your dreams. We only build a select number of homes each year. This allows us to deliver unparalleled attention to detail and quality. And, at the same time, we are able to maintain a very high level of personalized attention to each and every customer.

Most of the company’s clients come from referrals, and Argue is thrilled with its success over the years. “We put forth a team approach to a project, articulately explaining the process to the client and managing it all the way through, which is the best thing you can do in this industry,” Argue says. “It’s also important to click with clients personality-wise, and we’ve been blessed to have some great clients who have really pushed us to get creative and find new, unique solutions.”

480.941.0531 |


Top Design Elements of the Whistling Elk Residence

Palisade Homes Guided by Midwestern Values, FIrm Prospers in the Mountains of Colorado by Susan Flowers Some people take a long time to discover their true calling, trying various career fields until something clicks. Keith Lukovsky is not one of those people. From an early age, the owner of Littleton, Colorado’s Palisade Homes knew precisely what he wanted to do with his life. “I used to be the little kid that would sit at the construction site and watch. [Later], when kids were 14, 15, and 16 years old and had paper routes, I was actually doing remodeling,” he says. The teenage Lukovsky’s work on his parents’ basement was noticed by a family friend, who enlisted his help on a similar project. Word of mouth spread quickly, and Lukovsky soon had a thriving remodeling business that he continued to run through college. Eventually, he grew so busy that school had to wait, and Lukovsky left his Wisconsin home to strike out for Denver, where he founded Palisade Homes in 1987. Over the years, the firm has become one of the city’s best-known custom-home builders, taking on around five houses every year. A recent


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project on Whistling Elk Drive, in Denver’s southwestern suburbs, provides an example of Palisade’s high-quality work. Although new, the house blends so harmoniously with its rustic, rugged setting that “It looks like it’s been there for 150 years,” Lukovsky says. “It’s very natural, very fitting to the area.” Designed and constructed in earthy colors with natural stone and other organic materials, the Colorado lodge-style home is warm and inviting—elegant without being ostentatious.

1. Stone: Over 400 tons of “Farmers Blend” stone harvested in Oklahoma was used throughout the interior and exterior of the home. The stone evokes a rustic feeling of permanence. 2. Timber-log details: Large-scale roughsawn Douglas fir timbers and logs were extensively incorporated into the structure of the home, creating a strong westernlodge theme. 3. Hardwood floors: Random-width oakplank flooring ranging from 4 to 10 inches in width covers the entire kitchen, the dining and great rooms, and the study. 4. Faux finishes: Richly finished wall and ceiling treatments complement every room in the home. Faux-finishing artist Ronny Tucker created warm, relaxed, Old-World textures that wear well with age.

This home’s style is also in synch with Lukovsky’s personal taste. While his custom projects understandably vary in look according to client preferences, he says that his spec homes usually reflect the rustic mountain sensibility found in the Whistling Elk residence. “I just really enjoy being creative with that style,” he says. Lukovsky also notes that eco-friendly practices are increasingly popular in new home construction, but he offers a caveat: while high-efficiency

electrical products and high-value insulation are standard for Palisade Homes, he says that the cost of many green materials can be off-putting for budget-conscious clients.


As with many other projects, Lukovsky completed this home with a team of architects, designers, and other professionals he knew from previous assignments. He believes the rapport built when working in tandem is always beneficial. “You develop a relationship among all the people working on a project,” he says. “Everyone learns how the other people think and how they work. It becomes a finely tuned machine when you’re all working toward the same goal.” His success throughout the Denver metro area is gratifying, and Lukovsky is considering adding to his geographic base—so long as he doesn’t become too busy to maintain his current handson presence. “Depending on the request, I would probably go anywhere in the southwest region, but I’m not looking to expand,” he says. “I’ve started to receive requests to work outside of the Denver area, and I’m mulling that over.” Lukovsky certainly has enough to keep him occupied right where he is, and he takes great satisfaction in his work, especially at the conclusion of a project. “Ultimately, moving in a family that

TWO SPACES IN ONE Shown above is a view of the expansive great room and dining room. The space is built with rough-sawn Douglas fir timber trusses, a gappedplank ceiling hand-crafted by artisans on site, and 100-year-old randomwidth oak-plank flooring reclaimed from an old whisky distillery. Adding distinction, a “Farmers Blend” stone fireplace offers warmth, and a custom elk-antler chandelier by Sua International ( hangs over the dining-room table.

Marjorie Cranston Designer of the Palisade Home 2010 Complete Design Services: from construction planning through furnishings.

I’ve worked with—depending on the project— for two or three years is the most rewarding thing,” he says. “Lots of times, I develop friendships with the people I build for.” He attributes much of his success to his upbringing. “Where I am is truly the result of the Midwestern values and strong work ethic I learned as a child. They gave me the stick-to-itiveness to prosper in this business.” Thanks to his natural passion, Lukovsky is happy to devote himself to the needs of his clients. He takes pride in offering hands-on supervision, attention to detail, and stringent standards for quality, a dedication that is sure to keep his firm prospering for years to come. “I don’t rely on a building manager,” he says. “I’m on my job sites every day.”

Contact Marjorie for the full design details of this home. Design Portfolio: View Marjorie’s Fine Art:



Creative minds in interiors, landscapes, and furnishings

REFLECTIVE SURFACES The kitchen’s marble countertops, granite center island, and hardwood maple flooring all reflect the daylighting generously.

Thurston/Boyd Interior Design Inc. HANDSOME ANTIQUES AND REFINED ARTWORK GIVE LAGUNA BEACH HOME POLISH AND SOPHISTICATION by Kaleena Thompson A designer for more than 25 years and the founder of Thurston/Boyd Interior Design Inc, Randy Boyd’s extensive portfolio covers a variety styles, but it is the historic beach cottage that holds a special place in his heart. As a third-generation Laguna Beach, California, resident, he says “the beach environment, casual lifestyle, and quaint architecture” are what launch his design. Critical to these designs are the right furnishings, and on any given day Boyd often can be found antiquing in either New York or Europe—for his


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personal collection if not for his cultured clients. The designer uses a careful blending of traditional and contemporary furnishings and takes both comfort and function into account, and his knowledge of antiques and his taste for traditional homes has led to work everywhere from the Hawaiian Islands to the Cotswolds. So in 2007, when antique-loving clients with an extensive art collection—acquired from respected local galleries—were looking for an East Coast-influenced design, they knew Boyd would

be the perfect fit. “They wanted to incorporate those collections into a traditional East Coast vibe, with enough bedrooms for visits from their children and grandchildren,” he says. California Plein Aire paintings and contemporary art are displayed throughout the 5,800-square-foot Laguna Beach home with views of Catalina Island. It was a collaborative effort between the client, architect, and Boyd to design the home to showcase the art. The color palette was selected to reflect the colors of the


COASTAL INSPIRATION A view of the living room from the entry. The color palette was inspired by the sand, ocean, and the client’s personal art collection.

Top Design Elements of the Laguna Beach Home 1. Murano lighting fixture: Imported from Italy (, the handblown piece hangs over the dining table, and Boyd says he loves its elegance and simplicity. 2. Large bisque-glazed ceramic shell: Designed by Laguna Beach artist Ron Dier (, it adds a contemporary flavor to the dining-room table. 3. Fireplace in the family room: Made from the same natural stone used on the terraces, it maintains continuity between the spaces.


4. Paul Ferrante double lantern: Boyd was attracted to this Paul Ferrante piece ( because of its large scale and classic detailing. The fixture now hangs gracefully over the kitchen island. 5. Entry hall: This area commands attention by combining an antique Chinese pedestal table with a sisal runner and English influences.

THURSTON/ BOYD i n t e r i o r

d e s i g n

sea and serve as a subtle backdrop to the art and English antiques. “And we chose the colors and fabrics so as not to take away from the architecture and the ocean views,” Boyd says. In the large, two-story foyer sits an antique Chinese pedestal table along with an English bench and sea-grass runner. Just off the foyer is the sun-filled living room, which Boyd has made a comfortable yet elegant space. Two elongated bronze cranes in a corner compete for attention with a custom-designed fireplace nesting a pair of carved 18th-century Italian dolphins. Because of the couple’s art collection, Boyd suggested a neutral color scheme punctuated by pops of color from camel-aqua-floral-print upholstered chairs, a set of aqua pillows, and an ottoman. To keep with the earthy and warm feel, Boyd added a seagrass rug over the wood floor. “It adds a textured yet a comfortable aesthetic,” he says. The large kitchen leads flowingly into to the family room and morning room, an ideal setup for casual entertaining. The kitchen’s hardwood maple flooring, honed white-marble countertops, black-granite center, and pearl cabinets all reflect the daylighting brilliantly, and an oldfashioned double lantern hangs over the center island. “The clients wanted a clean, classic feeling in the interior architectural details,” Boyd says. Outside in the back, the family room’s French doors open onto an ocean-view dining terrace and a patio with a fireplace and spa overlooking a small canyon. Boyd also placed the couple’s art to complement the architecture of the library and combined the pieces with color schemes of sage green, terra cotta, and camel. Lined with built-in pinepaneled bookshelves, the library features large French doors overlooking a patio with a private garden. A contemporary painting hangs over the fireplace. A fresh approach was called for in the master suite, which rivals that of a five-star hotel. Boyd created a soothing palette tailored for a soft summer day with beige, soft aquas, and creams. “The clients note that they linger near the fireplace in the sitting area, enjoying coffee and the morning’s newspaper,” he says. A few steps away is the elegant yet simple bath, highlighted with marble floors and counters and custom-stained cabinetry.

1476 South Coast Highway / Laguna Beach, California 92651 Phone 949.376.0477 / WWW . THURSTONBOYD . COM


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While 75 percent of Thurston/Boyd’s work is in primary residences, 25 percent is in vacation or second homes. But, either way, the interior designer always makes sure his choices carry a sense of permanence. “We don’t follow trends,” he says. “We always try to incorporate antiques and classic pieces that can be passed down through generations.”


Top Design Elements of the Lancz Project 1. Wall Coverings: Tea paper painted with a mural of birds and flowers was lightly sanded for age, distress, and patina. 2. Painted furniture: Delicate, painted antique furnishings in soothing colors help maintain the light, elegant feel of the home. 3. Wrought-iron railing: Connecting the four floors of the house, the railing leads up a circular staircase that follows the sculptural lines of the home. 4. Entry walls: Scratch Marmorino plaster walls in the home’s entry and stair hall give a less formal feel and a limestone-like texture to the masonry. 5. Living-room plaster: Additional Marmorino Venetian plaster that is highly-polished and more formal is also more substantial and helps give texture and age to the newlybuilt house.

Solis Betancourt, Inc. INTERESTING ELEMENTS CREATE JUXTAPOSITION OF STYLE AND DESIGN By Amy E. Lemen When architecture and interior design work in concert in the creation of a luxury home, the result is a symphony of styles, colors, textures, and solid building essentials that is palpable to anyone who enters. “Our work has diversity—clients don’t want us to create someone else’s interior,” says Paul Sherrill, interior designer and vice president of Washington, DC-based Solis Betancourt, Inc. “They want to go on a journey, and that’s how we work— it’s more of a feeling than a look.” Creating that feeling is a hallmark for Sherrill and architecture-trained designer Jose Solis. Originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, Solis always had an innate passion for design and art and worked with the architectural firm

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP before founding his own interior-design firm 20 years ago. “We’re most interested in working on projects that are appropriate to context—like a strong architecture or location—and then adding interesting elements as a juxtaposition,” Sherrill says. “With Jose’s architectural background, we tend to be very respectful of that.” It is the company’s architectural approach to design that has set them apart and that has attracted clients beyond the DC area, in locations as far as the Hamptons in New York; Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts; and the Miami

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PRIMARY COLORS Sherrill furnished the Lancz residence with antique painted furniture and used a palette of celadon and lilac.

area as well as Solis’ native Puerto Rico. The firm also stays away from designing in a particular period or historical era, instead preferring to mix a range of styles. For example, the team might combine a contemporary design scheme with antique furniture or a baroque frame to create an interesting tension between elements. “We don’t go for shock value,” Sherrill says. “We believe there’s energy in things and that a little tension can be great.” The firm also believes in layering, calling the concept of blending finishes, cabinetry, hardware, and furniture into an entire design package an essential part of its philosophy. For example, Solis Betancourt will introduce materials that add contrast and texture—such as iron with wood, shiny fabrics with nubby ones, or a 17th-century credenza with a 1970s sculpture. “For us, it’s a layering of periods, fabrics, architecture, and building materials,” Sherrill says. “It’s a complex mix, but it’s done in an easy, quiet manner.”

CALMING HUES The neutral hallways stand apart from other rooms. Sherrill sees the home as “light, peaceful, and tranquil.”


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Art also plays a big role in all Solis Betancourt interiors—whether the firm is selecting a piece for a client’s space to help start a collection or simply adding to a client’s existing assortment of works. In fact, the firm’s unique style philosophy regarding art as a centerpiece has resulted in a book dedicated to their work, Essential Elegance: The Interiors of Solis Betancourt. It features 14 projects where artwork is the focus of the interior design. “The projects range from rustic to glamorous to elegant designs and homes,” Sherrill says. “The book celebrates each project’s uniqueness and design/art elements.”

“Clients don’t want us to create someone else’s interior. They want to go on a journey, and that’s how we work—it’s more of a feeling than a look.” Paul Sherrill, Cofounder

NATURALLY ARTIFICIAL The leaf-and-twig chandelier in the breakfast room plays off the references to nature in the adjacent garden room.

The Lancz project is just one featured in the book—a classical-style home whose interior Sherrill calls “light, peaceful, and tranquil.” The space features delicate painted furniture, an open, airy feel, and a color palette of celadon and lilac, all of it framed around a Chinese mural with flowers and birds. As the firm looks ahead, it has also begun using its expertise to launch design products. Current offerings include a lighting collection distributed through Holly Hunt Showrooms, and there are future plans to add upholstery, case goods, carpeting, and wall-covering designs. “We work with clients who want quality, style, and aesthetics,” Sherrill says. “They want to experience things and make decisions, and we help them assess, build on that, and make suggestions.”

A MESSAGE FROM STARK CARPET Stark specializes in luxury, custom-designed carpeting, fabric, furniture, wallcoverings, and paint. Founded by the late Arthur and Nadia Stark, who traveled the world exploring carpet history and contributed the knowledge and art of re-creating some of the most beautiful rug masterpieces and handmade rugs of the centuries, the firm is now headed by their sons, John and Steven Stark. Most recently, John’s daughter, Ashley Stark, has joined the company as the creative director. Stark is represented in 30 showrooms throughout the United States and Canada as well as in London and Paris.

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designer showcase

COLOR CONTRAST In the dining room of the Pacific Heights Glamour home, the highgloss macassar wood and black-andwhite photography help ground the otherwise light and airy palette of mother-of-pearl shell tiles and silk window treatments.

A HINT OF FLASH The living room at Pacific Heights Glamour displays a fairly monochromatic scheme of soft saltwater blues and taupes, focusing on silky textures and incorporating ebonizedwood accents.



Today, Kendall Wilkinson is one of her region’s top interior designers, yet more than two decades ago she was in another industry altogether. At the time, working in development at a Hollywood film studio, the young professional felt unfulfilled. But when she returned to her native San Francisco for dinner with her mother (an interior designer), an epiphany struck. Text by Zach Baliva

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designer showcase

Pacific Heights Glamour

hat she did as a designer intrigued me so much,” Wilkinson says. “I loved the idea of making people and their surroundings both aesthetically and functionally pleasing because it’s such a big part of our lives.”

That realization set Wilkinson on a new path. She went and received her second degree, traveled abroad, and returned to open Kendall Wilkinson Design & Home in 1992. In the nearly two decades since, Wilkinson has emerged as a leader in her new industry. Contributions to the San Francisco Decorator Showcase, awards from California Home + Design, andw appearances on HGTV have helped solidify her reputation, and Wilkinson’s company has gone from a hot start-up to a boutique studio to finally a retail store today. Wilkinson continues to be well received in the industry—in 2010, she was featured in Luxe Interiors + Design, Elle Decor, Gentry, and House Beautiful magazines along with websites such as Williams Sonoma Home, 1st Dibs, Decorati, One Kings Lane, and Ronda Carmen’s “All the Best” blog. Wilkinson credits her success in part to the inspiration found in her youth. “I was always surrounded by very creative women like my mother,” she says. “I had a knack for design and was encouraged to be creative.” Her travels in Europe brought more inspiration. “I fell in love with the history of architecture and how it fills your senses,” she says. “It is important to me to be in a place that feels inspiring, and I want to do that for my clients.”


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Kendall Wilkinson Design & Home is a full-service interior-design firm. Wilkinson helps clients pick fixtures, finishes, tiles, stone, lights, colors, draperies, carpets, and all other materials. She also designs furniture and offers her own custom line of home furnishings. The approach, she says, is to fill a canvas (floors, walls, and ceilings) with the right treatments while “perfectly addressing space-planning and scale.” Designers often develop a signature, and Wilkinson is no exception; she is known for pulling all elements together in a fluid way to give a space or house better continuity among items such as wall color, furniture, art, and photography. That talent, along with an eye for color (Wilkinson often designs her own palettes) serves clients well because it addresses all areas.



Designed to reflect classic Hollywood elegance, Pacific Heights Glamour was also made for entertaining. Wilkinson toiled to provide a space plan that would work equally well for a group of four or 40. Chairs that face the fireplace pivot to join other seats, and nesting tables unstack to accommodate other guests. An oval dining-room table seats just four but easily expands to host an entire dinner party.

designer showcase

Seacliff Southern


Wilkinson’s sophisticated design of this home in an area known for dramatic ocean vistas takes advantage of natural hues. Her palette of melons and turquoise complement strong oranges (from Golden Gate Bridge), greens (from the inland mountains), and blues (from the Pacific Ocean) that filter in through many oversize windows. Ample natural light makes the space playful and bright, and a sunroom and lounge done in blue and white is especially striking in the way it works with the adjacent seascape. At night, an antique Parisian fireplace in the living room takes center stage.

Part of Wilkinson’s success comes from her ability to make a space both timeless and fulfilling. “Timelessness is about not being trendy,” she says. “A space should be unique and sustain itself through decades. That has to do with the classic-ness of a design even when a space is modern or contemporary.” Many great designs are based on established traditions. A beautiful English Arm sofa, Wilkinson says, never goes out of style and can be updated with various fabrics. Listening closely to clients helps her provide fulfilling spaces. “Each person has specific functional and aesthetic needs that a designer must respect,” Wilkinson says. At Seacliff Southern, a home in a high-end San Francisco neighborhood, Wilkinson provided a design matched perfectly to her client’s lifestyle and

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designer showcase

LIGHTENED LIBRARY The library in Seacliff Southern is done in light blues and browns, and classic wall paneling channels a vintage atmosphere. Also, the zebra rug creates a chic vibe below the traditional sofa.

personality. “The client has very strong southern roots and wanted to bring that to San Francisco,” She says. Wilkinson selected a color palette of melon and turquoise that guided the selection of furniture and fabrics. Because the house overlooks the Pacific Ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge, the views are daytime focal points. Wilkinson avoided window treatments and designed remote blinds to shade the sun. She traveled the world to find antiques in Atlanta, New York, and Europe, including an imported Parisian fireplace that became the home’s evening centerpiece. A second project, Pacific Heights Glamour, shows Wilkinson’s versatility. The house was designed for a client who wanted a “Hollywood glam” feel— but with muted colors. Wilkinson chose smoky hues of grey, blue, platinum,


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ivory, taupe, and black and filled the space with Art Deco mirrors, glass, and Lucite pieces. Tone-on-tone designs, she says, require texture for dimension. She accomplished that depth through varied fabrics and Venetian plaster. Seacliff Southern and Pacific Heights Glamour are two very different projects, which is not unusual at Kendall Wilkinson Design & Home. “We do traditional, modern, contemporary, and everything in between,” Wilkinson says. “The important thing is that our designs are as unique as our clients.” Great design evolves when clients have strong visions and designers implement them well. When that happens, the client walks away with a truly timeless and fulfilling space.

designer showcase

Top Design Elements of Seacliff Southern and Pacific Heights Glamour

ALL AGLOW The combination of an antique mirrored vanity and a Venetian mirror create a delightful powder room in the Seacliff Southern home.

1. Designing around the client’s interests: Spaces at Pacific Heights where people can congregate and where kids can play allow the client to entertain guests. 2. Sparkle: Touches of crystal, mirrors, and glass at Pacific Heights add life, energy, and glamour.


3. Bringing the outside in: A color palette of blues, dusty oranges, and terra cotta at Seacliff Southern mirror the stunning views of the bay, Golden Gate Bridge, and beyond. Also, a crisp white is accented throughout to create a brightness that balances the gray tones of the San Francisco sky. 4. Mixing old and new: Juxtaposing lacquered pieces with 19 th-century antiques from the client’s hometown contemporizes the space at Seacliff Southern. 5. Color: A saturated color palette contrasts with the cool exterior at Seacliff Southern. Painted ceilings add warmth to a home with large windows.

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BLACK, WHITE, AND RED ALL OVER The artful design of a condo at the plaza TAKES jeffrey hitchcock TO THE TOP text by Susan Flowers — photos by Scott Frances

BATHED IN BLACK Dark walls line one of the Plaza Hotel residence’s five bathrooms. Mirrors set up on opposite sides of the room create the illusion of extra space.


he best part of being a designer for Jeffrey Hitchcock? The entire creative process, from start to finish. “I love selling my ideas, I love construction meetings, I love designing something unique for a client, I love the installation, when the whole project comes alive,” Hitchcock says. The 53-year-old designer has long had a love affair with the field, dating from his beginnings as a 19-year-old apprentice.

“It just seemed so natural,” he says. “I didn’t grow up in a family where I had a lot of exposure to fine art, but in my 20s, I was like a sponge, soaking up books and magazines and art. I also had the good fortune of working for some great designers in Newport Beach [in California] and Los Angeles.” By age 30, he had founded Jeffrey Hitchcock Enterprises Inc. Based in his native LA, the firm has prospered, doing multiple projects for high-end clients in cities including New York and Tokyo.


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This geographic diversity was not by design. Hitchcock’s clients are often so pleased with his work that they request his services time and again, trusting him to create the interiors of

SEEING RED The largely daylit dining space was painted a deep red to offset it from the rest of the home, which is done in a two-tone palette of cream and black.

HOME CURATING Hitchcock conceived a neutral palette of creams and blacks that highlights the owners’ personal art collection, pieces of which hang on walls and stand on tables throughout the home.


The Plaza Hotel Residence PLUSH PLAZA In this space—one of three bedrooms in the 3,600-square-foot Plaza Hotel apartment—the windows overlook Central Park. The clients liked the home so much they made it their primary residence.

For the Plaza Hotel residence, Hitchcock chose living-room curtains with his own custom stripe design, with fabrics by DONGHIA ( and fabrication by Maison de France, New York ( The home also has black velvet chairs custom designed by JJ Custom, Inc. (, with fabric by Brunschwig and Fils (; a dining-room curtain with painted silk fabric by CLOTH and PAPER and fabrication by Maison de France, New York; wall upholstery in the master bedroom by Maison de France, New York, with fabric by Zoffany (; and a custom area rug in the master bedroom by Tai Ping (

their second, third, and even fourth homes. The designer says client service sets the firm apart. “I really listen to my clients,” he says. “I really interpret what they’re looking for, and I fine-tune it. I know within the first five or ten minutes what they want and what’s right for their lifestyle—Do they have kids? Do they entertain?— and I’m able to hone in on it immediately, showing them things that they were never thinking of. They know I go the extra mile, and I give them 150 percent. I’m so detail-oriented, and I give my clients a great deal of attention.”

ness. A recent project at New York’s Plaza Hotel illustrates the quality of Hitchcock’s work. Overlooking Central Park, the 3,600-squarefoot apartment features three bedrooms and five bathrooms. Originally intended as a second home, the apartment became the client’s fulltime residence halfway through the project. With 12- and 13-foot ceilings, the home provides the perfect showplace for the client’s substantial collections of art and European antiques. Hitchcock used a neutral palette of cream and black in much of the home to highlight various works, with a splash of color— influenced by French deco—in the dining room.

Hitchcock’s two assistants are just as adept at providing top-notch service. “I can only be as good as they allow me to be,” he says, adding that customers have such confidence in his team that several ask for one of his assistants rather than the designer himself when calling the office. Of course, while such service is essential, outstanding design is the real key to repeat busi-


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While Hitchcock’s focus is always on design, his involvement with a project is normally from the initial groundbreaking through installation, and he works closely with architects, builders, landscapers, and other professionals throughout each phase. The firm currently takes on around 10 projects every year.

The designer and his team believe in working hard. Installation, when furniture is delivered, art is hung, and a home is made ready for its owners, is a near-round-the-clock process. Fortunately, his assistants’ talent for organization turns what is normally a logistical nightmare for many firms into a smooth process for both Hitchcock and his clients. As his firm looks ahead to future projects, Hitchcock says he is seeing increased interest in green practices and materials from his clients, despite the fact that availability and expense are challenging in many instances. But Hitchcock welcomes such obstacles as inevitable stops on the path to great design. Although recent projects have included a log house in Sun Valley, Idaho, and retreats in Aspen, Colorado, and Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Hitchcock hopes to continue increasing his presence in New York, where the awareness of design and art is a match for his sensibilities.

GALLERY SPACE High ceilings lend a museum atmosphere to every wall display, and the home’s cream-andblack motif carries on into the grand hallways between rooms.

A MESSAGE FROM JJ CUSTOM Collaborating with Jeffrey has always been enjoyable. We value working with designers who contribute their creativity and ideas to produce fine furniture. With his innovative vision and our craftsmanship, we have produced many exciting projects. During our 40+ years in business, we have prided ourselves on the strong relationships we have formed with various talented designers. Our long-lasting partnerships focus on a commitment to quality construction, professional service, and dependability for designers like Jeffrey and their clients.




or more than two decades, Neil M. Denari has taught and practiced architecture. In 1988, he moved from New York to Los Angeles and started Cor-Tex Architecture, which was renamed Neil. M. Denari Architects (NMDA) 10 years later. Now, Denari splits his time between academic and office settings—teaching at UCLA while designing with his boutique firm. Teaching and research are connected to Denari’s professional projects in many ways. “An academic setting opens a world of experimentation and ideas,” Denari says. “Some paper projects are never built, and our designs aren’t for everyone, but we look for clients with a shared sensibility.” The architect found a great match in Eric Alan and Rhonda Voo, two media and design professionals who commissioned NMDA to double the size of their 1,000-square-foot Los Angeles home. Denari’s Alan-Voo house was sensitively built in response to its occupants’ specific needs. Alan is a film and television marketer who wanted Denari’s design to help “rebrand” his family. “My


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CONSTRUCTED FOR QUAKES Because Denari replaced so much of the home’s exterior support structure with glass, other reinforcement strategies were implemented to fortify the dwelling in earthquake-prone Los Angeles. The designers used V-braces and steel columns that resist lateral loads.

clients are into communication and wanted the house to amplify their identities and be a place where they could connect with their three daughters,” Denari says. “Architecture should help a family connect.” He transformed a small, cluttered prewar dwelling into a light and happy house where the family of five can interact peacefully. However, the Alan-Voo house was not built as a refuge from the city—it was built to connect occupant and environment. “Most people want stability, but these clients wanted a space hovering between the physical and the immaterial. The design, then, uses abstract forms and surfaces,” Denari says. He therefore chose to


Top Design Elements of the Alan-Voo Home 1. Two-tone kitchen: The customized Poliform ( kitchen stands out in dual tones of gray and silver.

avoid wood and other elements from a fixed house and instead turned to two defining materials—plaster and glass. An exterior of fine-grain plaster and articulated joints is interrupted by large, curved windows that capture light to produce an “embracing feeling.” The interior spaces and their geometry replace the traditional shapes of safety and security with varying contours and hard lines that work together to evoke an alternative sense of comfort and sensuality. Drywall, concrete, glass, and acrylic keep the aesthetic fresh and light, and cantilevered steel tubes hang from a wall to form a staircase that leads to a second level.

2. Styled daylighting: Sun Tunnel™ skylights ( above the kitchen make soft circular reflections in the floor. 3. Stare-worthy stairs: Cantilevered steel stairs and the acrylic railing seem to disappear. 4. One-of-a-kind windows: Some of the broad windows have been shaped to mesh with the profile of a single large coral tree. 5. Compounded color scheme: An exterior in soft greens and blues reflects and amplifies the colors of the garden and sky.

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A NEW IDEA OF HOME In the Alan-Voo home, the standard interior-design elements that often provide spatial familiarity were replaced with curved windows, hard lines, and dramatic contours that evoke an alternative sense of comfort and a certain degree of sensuality.

a sleek connection

A STUDY IN WHITE Denari avoided the warmth of wood and maintained a monochromatic theme to match the cool exterior.

Meteorologically tame environments such as Los Angeles make the extensive use of glass easier. “We don’t get snow, and we don’t get much rain, so the thermal and performance considerations of glass are less,” Denari says. The material does, however, present other issues in a region known for its seismic activity, so a house with large gaps in the exterior wall must employ other supportive devices. At the Alan-Voo home, Denari used two V-braces and steel columns that resist the lateral loads of earthquakes. Floor-to-ceiling glass walls at ground level create a jewel box and bring the interior and exterior spaces closer together to promote use of a once-neglected backyard. “It was a world the family never engaged [with]; now they are free to explore it,” Denari says. Plus, surrounding trees and hedges reach a height of 15 feet to provide just the right amount of shade and privacy. The master bedroom, also on the addition’s second floor, is a small, simple space designed to hold little more than a bed.

There, the large window is shaped and pointed toward an enormous 70-year-old coral tree. The beloved tree also connects the inside with the outside and is visible from another shaped window in the kitchen as well. “Use of glass and large shaped windows isn’t just a style choice—they are functional moves,” Denari says. The material makes the house feel bigger than it really is. Inside, four solar tubes over the kitchen create dazzling coronas that provide even more atmospheric light, and three motorized skylights help control temperature. Denari instructs his students to think carefully about the people who will eventually use their buildings. He often writes fictitious backstories for university projects that are never built, inventing biographies and details that drive design choices. Denari’s approach helped him interpret—through perceptive design—the Alan-Voo home’s mission of family rebranding. “I’ve learned to think very specifically and develop ways to respond,” he says. “Then I got the Alan-Voo commission and was able to respond to the clients’ agenda in the same way I had taught and practiced.”

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rank Harmon fondly recalls many childhood days spent exploring the brooks and meadows around his Greensboro, North Carolina, home. “An architect can be influenced by the landscape he grows up in,” Harmon says. “Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture was shaped by the Wisconsin hills. Mies van der Rohe lived in a more urbane European environment of carefully tended landscapes. Most of what I know I learned playing in streams when I was a kid in North Carolina, and I’ve spent the rest of my life giving that back to others.” Harmon’s company, Frank Harmon Architect PA, had an opportunity to do just that with the Strickland-Ferris Residence. The Raleigh, North Carolina, home sits perched on a lot whose 45-degree slope is covered with mature hardwood trees. Harmon had to employ a host of strategies to fit the dwelling unobtrusively into the surrounding environment. Harmon’s two clients guided the process and design with a few requests. “They wanted a house free of all restraints including cultural and conventional,” the architect says. Using expansive windows, especially on the north side, Harmon opened the home to nature and the beauty of the steep hillside location. The north windows reach nearly 30 feet in height at their apex while the south façade is opaque with a line of windows only along its top. The solid wall protects the occupants’ privacy while the narrow line of glass continues to capture light into the cold winter months. “How an architect places a house on its site is the single most important design decision he makes,” Harmon says.

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luxury home quarterly


• MODERN ACCOUTREMENTS • The living space showcases the owners’ collection of B&B Italia ( furnishings and original art by Raleigh, NC, artist Gerry Lynch ( june 2011

luxury home quarterly


among the trees

WIDE OPEN SPACES Metal stairs descend from the entrance level to the living, dining, and kitchen areas. Cherry flooring and the owners’ collection of art and fine modern furniture warm the otherwise stark interior. The kitchen is tucked under the foyer, and beyond it is a guest bedroom.

Top Design Elements of the Strickland-Ferris Residence 1. Truss system: The trusses allow water to flow beneath the house. Harmon wanted the house to “rest as gently on the hillside as a maple leaf.” 2. Butterfly roof: The cleverly shaped roof extends views north to the creek and guides rainwater toward a single point for collection and reuse. 3. Entry: A bridge leads into a second-floor foyer, where large windows dramatically pull in outside scenery for guests descending into the grandly spacious living room.

At Strickland-Ferris, Harmon was especially careful to limit his impact on the environment. “The hillside is very fragile, and we did not want to dig footings that would disturb hydrological flow,” he says. The entire house sits above the ground on trusses, which allow water to run underneath, and a butterfly-shaped roof directs water to one point and gathers it for irrigation. A raised bridge at the top of the hill takes guests into the home’s second floor, where they can descend stairs into a large open living room.


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The open floor plan was important to Harmon because it helped him provide the freedom requested by his clients. “The entire house has only about four doors,” he says. “Most of it is one big room because a house is a place for enjoying other people. A big, wonderful space makes that possible.” Industrial-grade beams and exposed steel columns work with smooth cherry floors and concrete countertops to create a worn, comfortable, and sophisticated feel. In fact, Harmon left the factory markings intact so the products would

4. Open floor plan: The generous common spaces flow together and create welcoming areas where people can interact with one another while surrounded by nature. 5. Interior beams: Laminated columns and engineered beams with unfinished touches give the home a handcrafted feel.

A LIGHT IN THE DARK Seen at twilight, the house’s wall of glass seems to light up among the trees. The windows face away from the nearby road for privacy.

among the trees

STRAIGHT SHOT A dark steel wall separates the master bedroom from the master bath. From this corner, the owners can see all the way through the home’s upper level to the eastern elevation’s glass wall beyond the foyer. The vast ceiling is unadorned and, as the owners requested, still carries the marks of its maker.

remain natural. “Buildings today are anonymous,” he says. “We like handmade pottery because we get the sense that it was actually made by someone. Architecture should be the same way.” Although the south-facing wall provides privacy from the road, Harmon took a few extra steps to make sure his clients never feel overexposed by their oversize wall of windows to the north. “Living in a glass house is thrilling,” he says, “but I wanted to contrast openness with more sheltered spaces, so I wanted to add some snug and quiet spaces, too. Life, after all, is about contrast.” A


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“IT’S IMPORTANT TO HAVE BOTH ELEMENTS OF LIGHT AND DARK. YOU CAN’T APPRECIATE LIGHT IF YOU DON’T EXPERIENCE SHADOWS.” FRANK HARMON, ARCHITECT study and master bedroom have lower ceilings and more walls than the common space. The rooms also feature windows along one wall instead of three or four. “It’s important to have both elements of light and dark,” Harmon says. “You can’t appreciate light if you don’t experience shadows.” Most of the house, though, does capture light from at least three sides because of Harmon’s thin, long design. “Light on two sides makes a room good, but light on three can make it great,” he says. The downside to such illumination causes some architects to hesitate—the brightness reveals

every mistake in detailing. But Harmon and his design team have the craftsmanship to pull off the challenging task without a hitch. With Strickland-Ferris, Harmon used only the necessary materials and tools to create a simple and elegant home that allows its owners to be as close as possible to the beauty of their surroundings. The glass house isn’t a typical project for Harmon’s firm—but that is because nothing is. “We don’t do typical,” Harmon says. “Our projects reflect their occupants, not their architect.”

VANTAGE POINT At the northwest corner of the main level, the steel staircase touches lightly on the cherry floor, and the window’s steel beams frame views of the natural landscape outside.








THE GLASS PAVILION Location: Montecito, CA Size: 14,000 square feet Lot: 3.5 acres Project duration: 6 years The Glass Pavilion includes five bedrooms, five-and-a-half bathrooms, and a kitchen with a wine cellar. The living room is surrounded by glass. “You are entirely ensconced in the outdoors as you sit comfortably in your own living room,” Hermann says. The Glass Pavilion also houses a large gallery where the owner of the home displays his vintage car collection; the room’s walnut-lined walls can accommodate an astounding 32 cars. Despite its relatively simple conceit, the home’s minimalist, seamless appearance required meticulous planning and attention to detail, according to Hermann. “We spent hundreds of hours thinking about the fit and finish of the house and how the details would interact with the finishes,” he says. “We wanted to make sure it was perfect.”


alk about transparency: In Montecito, California, on a three-and-a-half acre site, Steve Hermann has built a home almost entirely from glass. “The site was so beautiful and private that I thought it would be a shame to have any walls blocking the views,” says Hermann, the founder and owner of Los Angeles-based Hermann Design & Development.

The 14,000-square-foot home took over six years to build. (Hermann originally planned to keep the house for himself but changed his mind during the process, in part due to the birth of his daughter.) While glass wraps around the whole structure, reinforcing steel beams hold the roof in place and give it a sturdy but weightless appearance. The home stands juxtaposed with the surrounding oak trees and rolling green landscaping, a contrast that highlights the deeply modernist nature of the design. The driveway winds elegantly to a garage situated under the home, and a path of white stone leads visitors inside. Even though it was such an aesthetically ambitious design project, Hermann says he was careful about ensuring that style didn’t trump functionality.


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FREE PARKING Situated directly beneath the home is a display gallery that can hold as many as 32 cars.

“The artist in me was interested in the overall style, but the businessman in me knew that the house had to be livable and contain all the features that a luxury estate of that size demands.” Steve Hermann, Owner

FULL EXPOSURE Even the home’s long, narrow bathroom enjoys a wall-to-wall view of the outside world.

WALL OF WINE An expansive wine cellar is built into the wall behind the kitchen and a counter-style dining area.

The glass pavilion

“I’m a developer as well as a designer,” he says. “As a developer, I’m a businessman. As a designer, I’m an artist. The artist in me was interested in the overall style, but the businessman in me knew that the house had to be livable and contain all the features that a luxury estate of that size demands. I believe that I accomplished both.” In a typical home, coordinating color palettes from room to room isn’t something an exterior designer would concern him- or herself with. But because the entirety of the Glass Pavilion (as the home is known) is visible from the outside simultaneously, a cohesive color palette was important. Hermann, a fan of midcentury modern

interior design, also decided on a mix of new, vintage, and custom-designed pieces for the Glass Pavilion’s interior. “If a house has all new pieces, it seems like it is missing a bit of history and can end up looking like a designer showroom,” he says. “But if it’s only vintage pieces, it can look like a flea market. The mixing of the two creates a sophisticated setting where great design can flourish.” Hermann’s designs have earned him many fans throughout Los Angeles. He tends to concentrate on high-end properties in Hollywood Hills, and his clients include celebrities such as Courtney Cox, Frankie Muniz, and Christina Aguilera.

His work has been featured on the television show Beautiful Homes and Great Estates as well as on MTV and the E! network. Hermann has said the Glass Pavilion is his “opus,” the highlight of his career. “But I hope that my next project will become the highlight of my career as well,” he says. “I am very passionate about the work I do. I put all of my energy into each project. I am never satisfied with anything I do, and I continually strive to make what I do as good as possible. With each project, my abilities grow, and so do my expectations of myself and what I want to achieve.”


COLOR MATCHING Because virtually the entire home is visible from the exterior, a cohesive color palette was applied throughout.

BLENDING OLD AND NEW When furnishing the home, Hermann chose a mix of new, vintage, and custom pieces to avoid sterility.

Harmon took extra steps to ensure his clients would never feel overexposed by the northern wall of windows. A study and master bedroom have lower ceilings and more solid walls than the common space; these rooms feature windows along only one side instead of three or four.

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luxury home quarterly


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A showcase of sleek, modern architecture —and the blueprints that started it all







the plans

The Patterson Residence

Miró Rivera Architects Fine Architecture Goes Hand in Hand with Social Responsibility

For the Patterson residence, the firm chose glass and aluminum sliding doors from Fleetwood (, flooring from Porcelanosa (, marble kitchen counters made of pietro de cardoza stone, a metal roof, and white siding.

by Susan Flowers


iguel Rivera, AIA, and Juan Miró, AIA, the owners of Miró Rivera Architects, see their profession in a much larger context than simply designing houses. “We see the architect as a citizen, which includes what you do within the community and the environment,” Rivera says. “Responsible architecture is functional, beautiful, and well built.” This socially responsible philosophy, combined with the talent and dedication of the firm’s staff, has allowed Miró Rivera to achieve considerable success as well as national recognition after just 10 years in business. With a background that includes architectural school in Rivera’s native Puerto Rico and Miró’s native Spain, plus graduate degrees from Columbia for Rivera and Yale for Miró, the two have a wealth of knowledge and experience to bring to any project. The pair met after grad school while working at the prestigious Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects. They went from friends to family members when Miró married Rivera’s sister Rosa, who today serves as the firm’s president. Miró left New York for an extended stay in Austin, Texas, in order to take on a major Gwathmey Siegel project, the home of Michael and Susan Dell. And Miró and Rosa loved the city so much they decided to stay, persuading Rivera to join them in 2000. The firm was founded the same year.


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Two of Miró Rivera’s recent projects testify to the quality of the firm’s work. Rivera’s own home, the Patterson residence, was a renovation of and addition to a house originally built in 1912 in Austin’s historic Clarksville neighborhood. What was originally a 1,100-square-foot bungalow became three bedrooms, and a 1,500-square-foot addition included all the public rooms—a living room, a dining room, a kitchen, and a playroom. Miró Rivera’s design also blends beautifully with the surrounding older homes and a nearby park. Another renovation, the 1414 residence, involved a home built in the 1940s. In addition to three bedrooms, a guest room, and four and a half baths, the newly remodeled home now also features a swimming pool. Sliding glass doors allow light into what was once a gloomy interior, visually connecting the inside with the pool and backyard. These homes were designed to work in harmony with their traditional surroundings, and Rivera says the firm takes a contemporary approach with these and other projects. Without necessarily incorporating a modern look, Miró Rivera’s creations still take full advantage of modern technology and materials. Rivera also notes that he, Miró, and their staff of 14 are careful to approach each project without preconceived notions. “Every project that

the plans


Patterson residence 1 Entry Garden 2 Foyer 3 Dinning/Living room 4 Kitchen 5 Laundry 6 Play/TV Room 7 Lap Pool 8 Study 9 Nursery 10 Guest 11 Master 12 Master Bath





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the plans

The 1414 Residence For the 1414 residence, Miró Rivera used wood siding on the outside and installed Ipe wood in the guest room and playroom. A fireplace and French doors in the family room were replaced with floor-to-ceiling windows to maximize daylighting. The old pool in the three-patio backyard was replaced with a heated-saltwater lap pool, and the garage was remodeled to include an exercise room with a yoga wall.

we do is new,” he says. “We don’t have a rubber stamp with ideas that we repeat. We take each project as a new one.” Conscious of its construction’s environmental impact, the company also focuses on green practices and technology. Rivera is passionate about ecofriendly architecture and notes that it is an area that requires considerable clarification and communication from architect to client. “There’s a lot of confusion out there,” he says. “There’s more to this than rainwater and solar panels. The best thing a client can do is to make their home as small as possible.”

“There’s always something new, always a new challenge and a new way of dealing with a situation,” he says. “We have a core group of people who have been with us for a long time, and they share the same commitment we have to responsible architecture. We think that you need to care and have some passion to succeed. It’s not easy, what we do. You can always be lazy and not try, but we continue to push for excellence.”


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Named one of Architectural Digest’s Top 100 firms in 2010, the company has won more than 40 awards. But even after more than two decades in the field and a wealth of achievements to their credit, Rivera says there’s little chance that he, Miró and their staff will become complacent. In fact, Rivera says the firm’s five-year plan includes a push for additional commercial projects, which today make up only around 20 percent of its business.












1414 residence 1 Hall 2 Bedroom 3 Bathroom 4 Laundry 5 Master Closet 6 Master Bathroom 7 Master Bedroom 8 Office 9 Gym


10 Guest Bathroom 11 Guest Bedroom 12 Gym Deck

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In appreciation of Miro-Rivera Architects 12

Promoting Fine Architecture in a Beautiful City

the plans



nlike some firms, Anne Decker Architects doesn’t have a signature style. Instead, the company draws on an existing structure’s lines and design cues to create complementary effects. “We take a rigorous approach to design and detailing and always want to be sensitive to the home’s scale and surroundings,” Decker says. “The key is to make a beautiful home that’s also comfortable. Often we’ll take design cues from the house itself if it has good bones. Our goal is to create places that are beautiful, comfortable, and of high quality.”

Anne Decker Architects specializes in the design of well-crafted homes and additions that enhance their surroundings and sense of place. Nationally recognized, Decker’s award-winning projects have been featured in Period Homes, New Old House, Architectural Digest, Residential Architect, and Custom Home magazines. With over 20 years of experience, Decker and her team closely collaborate with each client to realize their visions of home.


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The designer focuses on high-end custom homes in the Washington, DC, metro area—but she doesn’t shy away from commercial projects. “A number of my residential clients have asked me to design for their businesses,” she says, noting such names as Seth Goldman, owner of Honest Tea. The firm is also designing the offices of a local law firm and renovating a French cooking school and an animal hospital. Typically, Anne Decker Architects has about 30 projects on the books at any one time, ranging in size. Decker forges strong relationships with her clients, and most of her business comes from referrals from previous projects. “That’s why I need to do very little advertising,” she says. The full-scale architectural firm provides everything from initial feasibility studies to construction administration. “We walk through the program with our clients, room by room, and discuss in depth how they see using each space,”

Decker says. “We encourage them to bring images of spaces they like so we can exchange ideas. “They might not know exactly what they want, but the shared images can paint a good picture of their likes more than words can. It’s a great way to ensure they get what they want.” When possible, Decker turns to natural materials such as stone, wood, and copper, much of it reclaimed. “We like to use heart pine or quartersawn oak flooring that [is] often found in old houses and barns,” she says. ”There’s nothing like the patina of old wood.” Contrasting textures and finishes—shiny and dull, smooth and rough, wood and stone—accent her designs. “Their juxtaposition contributes to the overall look and celebration of each design element,” she says. Her clients might not note every detail, but the overall look can indeed be greater than the sum of the parts.

Top Design Elements of the Potomac Retreat Residence 1. Oversize doors: Although the 9-foothigh interior and exterior entries share the same basic elements, mirrors and other detailing add a twist. 2. Intricate stonework: It is a continuing motif on the walls and columns, whether indoors or outdoors. 3. Mahogany beams: These are used in the arbor, as well as in various interior elements, as a way to draw the interior to the exterior and vice versa. 4. Classically detailed stone columns: These visually reinforce the buildings and ground them to the site. 5. Oversize precast fireplaces: Two of them—one anchoring the guesthouse’s 12-foot ceiling, the other a focal point of the outdoor dining area—speak to the precast sills and lintels.


2 1 1

5 3 5


POTOMAC RETREAT RESIDENCE 1 Bathroom 2 Courtyard 3 Courtyard Dining 4 Lap Pool 5 Living Room

ALL Photos: Gordon Beall

6 Indoor Dining


Serra Stone is a full-service masonry company in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. From stone veneer to stone walkways, from retaining walls to patios, from excavation to drainage systems, from small jobs to large-scale residential and commercial projects, Serra Stone delivers quality, service and excellence in stone masonry.

Completed in 2009, the firm’s Potomac Retreat project in Potomac, Maryland, was created for a busy professional couple who sought—right next door—a resort-like refuge from the hurly-burly of daily life. The pair’s new 1,800-square-foot home includes a guesthouse, pool house, covered dining area, and outdoor living space. It features two wings—one private, the other more public—which flank the partially covered courtyard and dining terrace and create an intimate outdoor setting. The dedicated guest area includes a living room, dining room, kitchenette, and sleeping area while the public portion includes a pool house with a spa, exercise area, and workshop. The husband wanted a more traditional “aged” look while the wife preferred contemporary stylings. The result is an interesting hybrid. Stone buildings suggest Old World artistry and stability and visually strengthen the relationship between the house and the lush landscaping surrounding both properties. The structures are traditional with classical (though large—doors are 9 feet high) proportions, and they create an ideal setting for strolling through the garden or entertaining large groups. More contemporary touches include an arbor that has very simple forms and detailing, clean lines and sleek finishes on much of the interior cabinetry, and forward-looking furnishings throughout. The arbor’s expressed mahogany beams set a motif that repeats in the split Western Maryland stone veneer pavilions and inside the guesthouse. This outside-to-inside concept continues with large windows inset, huge mahogany-framed French doors, and the extensive use of stone—such as quartzite/sandstone from Utah’s Mountain Valley—on exterior and interior surfaces. “Creating a home is a highly personal expression of our clients’ dreams and aspirations and the way they live,” Decker says. “We try to be good listeners so we can create a house that not only balances beauty and function but also is comfortable and reflects their lives.” On every project, the highly publicized designer takes a collaborative approach, working closely with her client, an in-house team of talented architects, and an array of consultants, designers, builders, and artisans. “It takes a great team to make a project sing,” she says.


Providing concepts and programs for deluxe homes


STREAMLINING THE TRADITIONAL DomA filled the home with natural daylighting by installing a grand elliptical staircase with a domed skylight above. Additionally, a walnut-wood chevron pattern covers the floor. The details give the space a classic, timeless aesthetic, per the client’s request.

DomA Architects, Inc. ARTFULLY blending historical accuracy with modern trappings by Frederick Jerant Just 10 years ago, DomA Architects, Inc. was a newly launched firm in San Rafael, California. “I had been a principal at a high-end firm in San Francisco,” says DomA principal John Dorr, AIA, “and was negotiating to become a partner when I decided I wanted to start my own practice. Ryann Marlowe, a designer at that firm—and my most valuable associate—came with me, and we founded DomA.” DomA’s early work was mainly remodels and additions on small homes. Today, the firm works

almost exclusively on large high-end custom homes and renovation projects in the San Francisco Bay area. On occasion, however, the firm has worked on the East Coast. “A few of our clients maintain pieds-a-terre in Manhattan so they can have easy access to the city,” Dorr says. “They’re so comfortable working with us that they’ve flown us there on private jets.” The firm is known for its lack of an identifiable style, instead conforming its designs to fit the landscape and the history of an area. The staff

The Clay Street Residence After practically gutting the Clay Street residence, DomA applied substantial structural upgrades to the home’s trim, finish, and electrical and plumbing systems. Challenged by a lack of natural daylighting in the home, DomA designed a massive three-floor elliptical staircase topped by a domed elliptical skylight that admits warm, radiant sunlight onto each floor. Elsewhere, a new elevator provides easy access to all levels of the home, and small upper-level windows—reminiscent of a once-popular local architectural style—were replaced with a single bay window that provides an unobstructed view of the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge. DomA also revamped the master suite, the kitchen, and the family room and lowered the basement floor by two feet to add height elsewhere.

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“We do a lot of research to be sure our detailing, patterns, [and] even the hardware we use is historically correct.” Gene Walder: Project Manager Cell: 760.644.2374

John Dorr, Principal

Tel: 877.735.1005


In the earthquake-prone California area, DomA also brings in a structural engineer at the schematic-design phase to review the firm’s plans. “We have to accommodate the potential forces of earthquakes,” Dorr says, “like the transfer of lateral loads and [the] effects of shear.”

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Client input is important, too. After completing a thorough questionnaire/checklist, clients are encouraged to bring in images from books and magazines to help focus their likes and dislikes.

Afterward, every detail of the design—molding, surfaces, hardware, and more—is laid out in finely tuned drawings because specific information is paramount to the success of the firm’s projects. “It’s rigorous,” Dorr says, “but worth it. You might think general contractors would feel constricted, but they actually love having so much precise direction.” A private residence on Clay Street in San Francisco illustrates how DomA can accommodate a client’s wishes while maintaining design integrity. After the interior of a 1902 Beaux-Arts home, designed by San Francisco architect Herman Barth, was stripped to the bare studs to allow substantial structural upgrades to its trim, finish, and electrical and plumbing systems, one of DomA’s major challenges was the lack of natural lighting in the

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does a lot of research to be sure the detailing, patterns, and even the hardware used in each home are historically correct and contextually appropriate. “We’re like chameleons,” Dorr says. “Context is immensely important to us; we always strive to fit in with a project’s surroundings.”

Copper Iron Designs, Inc. Fine Architectural Metalwork

Copper Iron Designs is a custom metalworking shop located in Napa, California. We specialize in working closely with Architects, Designers and clients to produce unique, highly crafted work. Our scope of work runs from complex hot-forged curved railings, entry and cave doors, gates, exterior rails and balconies to smaller interior elements such as fireplace screens, doors and tools, tables and light fixtures.


We work in all metals and can also bring in other skilled craftspeople to add elements such as wood, glass and specialty finishes to our projects.

house. The firm implemented several solutions to combat this. An elliptical staircase was added, connecting all three levels of the home, and a domed skylight was installed above the stairwell to provide immediate and direct daylighting to every floor. The home’s basement floor was lowered by two feet to attain the desired nine-foot ceiling height, and large openings were then added to admit natural eastern light from a side yard. Finally, the top level’s windows were reconfigured to maximize the view of the Golden Gate Bridge. “Many older San Franciscan homes have numerous small windows,” Dorr says, “in accordance with a then-popular architectural style. We often modify the existing façade by installing a larger single bay window [and] then heavily detailing it to make it less intrusive.”

Other key features include a new elevator that reaches all levels of the home; an interior trim package with custom moldings; a revamped layout (and build-out) of the basement with a new radiant-heat floor slab; the conversion of a detached one-car garage into an attached fourvehicle structure; and a compete redesign of the master suite, kitchen, and family room. DomA’s plans for the future primarily include more activity in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys. “We’ve already designed two homes in Napa, and many other San Franciscans are building secondhomes on the acres of lush rolling hills and grapevines,” Dorr says. “It’s beautiful open land there—only 45 minutes from San Francisco, but it seems like another world.”

849 Jackson St., Studio 5B P.O.Box 879 Napa, CA 94559 707-252-1949 twitter: @copperiron


UNDER COVER The addition to the tract house is covered by an inverted shed roof that extends 14 feet on the exterior. The wraparound glass permits views of more than 180 degrees of the surrounding landscape, including the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Reader & Swartz Architects, P.C. MUNDANE TRACT HOUSE IS REBORN As AN OUT-OF-THE-BOX HOME by Kaleena Thompson When husband-and-wife architects Beth Reader and Chuck Swartz, founders of Reader & Swartz, P.C., moved into a 1968 tract house in Winchester, Virginia, it wasn’t the mundane façade and lackluster floor plan that inspired them to rebuild their dream home—it was the 1,800 square feet overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains. “You can be in town and feel connected to something larger,” Reader says. “The house was so bland you couldn’t respect the architecture. So we took advantage of the soaring views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.” After living in the 1968 eyesore for four years, the duo spent nights planning their grand reimagining of their new abode. “The first order of business in the remodel was to flip the original plan on its head, putting bedrooms below and opening living spaces up top with lots of glass to maximize those views,” Swartz says. The boxy conventional floor plan now comfortably fits three bedrooms and two bathrooms on the first floor while the living areas above remain opened up.


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However, Reader notes that initially some of the second-floor bedrooms had ill-fitted low ceilings, which meant they had to raise the roof. “It had very little architectural integrity, so we didn’t feel guilty about gutting it,” she says Even though the house lacked a desired connectivity, the couple was able to creatively salvage key components from the its old bones. Existing studs and gable ends on two sides were stripped and repurposed to create the structural framework for a wall of bookshelves in the living room. A built-in staircase and vintage rolling ladder makes grabbing the hard-to-reach books easy. The old skeleton of the gable roof is still openly expressed in the shelving. “It pays tribute to the history of the old house,” Swartz says. In conceiving the design, Reader and Swartz followed the same aesthetic and cost-effective strategies they use for their clients’ homes. Affordable materials such as a standing-seam metal roof, a steel structural frame, and exterior cedar cladding frame the house. The architects also chose thriftier interior furnishings, turning to cost-conscious Ikea and Lowe’s. “The kitchen was not expensive either,” Reader says. The central hub of the home, it has all the essentials without breaking the bank, and it is still stylish with features such as birch veneer flat-slab Ikea cabinets, open shelves, and laminate countertops.

Top Design Elements of the 1968 Tract House

MODERN FURNISHINGS The living space features leather and cloth couches by Montis (, a steel and translucent glass table, and a shag rug made of leather scraps.

1. Interior roof: The 14-foot-deep, inverted shed-roof addition is made of glass, exposed steel, and cedar. Translucent glass is in the gable-end trusses. The addition’s clear glass permits broad views of the mountains. 2. Studs: The existing studs on the gable ends were retained from the original home and stripped. They now create a structure to support the library shelves.


3. Redesigned floor plans: The goal of the project was to make an open and fluid space and take advantage of the views of the mountains. The redesign flips the living and sleeping levels so that the bedrooms get the 8-foot-high ceilings and the living areas get the highest ceilings and best views. 4. Library shelves: The library shelves are accessed on one side of the gable by an alternating-tread staircase—on the other side, by a rolling ladder salvaged from an old telephone building. 5. Interior furnishes: The clients opted for cost-effective furnishes, such as formica Ikea cabinets ( and cabinet pulls and hardware from Lowe’s (

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luxury home quarterly


One of a kind pieces... from old-world craftsmanship to State of the Art European Design.

BLUE RIDGE BEAMS The living-room addition is composed of a steel frame, glass, and cedar and has an inverted shed roof. The addition affords a grand view of downtown Winchester, VA, below and the Blue Ridge Mountains beyond.

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“It has a feeling of openness because it’s surrounded by windows,” Reader says. “We can cook and watch [passersby] walk their dogs.” Just a few years after college, these unconventional architects took a leap of faith and started their firm at the height of the 1990 recession. More than 20 years later, Reader & Swartz comprises a talented group of architects and has an established reputation in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and the Washington, DC, area. Sustainability being a hallmark of the firm, Reader & Swartz also has received merit awards in green design. Experts in renovation, these partners in design recently recreated a loft—an 1880s gem in a historic district of Virginia—for an art enthusiast. “The house was originally three apartments, and we converted it into two apartments,” Swartz says. “We recreated the secondfloor apartment into an artistic loft, which functions as a salon and private museum that houses the client’s books, art, and scientific oddities.” The courtyard porches were redesigned and rebuilt, and a new structure was built over an old, existing cistern. A new kitchen, bath, bedroom, and 13-by-13-foot windowless secret library complete the loft. “Our client brought his keen sense of the arts to the project,” Swartz says. “The creative collaboration between us, the client, and the builder was one of the best experiences.”


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Few architects can so completely see and fulfill the client’s vision. However, this is not the case for Reader and Swartz, who apply the same principles and attention to detail to their clients’ home designs as they did to their own. “The people are important,” Swartz says. “We create a project that speaks to them on many levels.”


Custom Kitchens


Eskuche Creative Group LLC “MOUNTAIN MEETS MODERN” IN THE MIDDLE OF MINNESOTA by Tricia Despres For renowned architect Peter Eskuche, the decision to take a month off from work for the sake of his private life ended up opening doors in his professional life. “I had been working for architects, builders, and developers for twelve years,” says Eskuche, who spent his childhood drawing and painting in museums alongside his art-loving grandmother. “My wife and I were about to adopt two little girls, and I found out I would be traveling to Ukraine for a month before bringing them home. At the same time, I was approached with an opportunity to design a significant out-of-state project that would allow me to take the much desired time off.” In a blink of an eye, Eskuche became both the father of two little girls and the principal and owner of Eskuche Creative Group LLC. “It’s amazing and distracting becoming overnight parents,” Eskuche says. “Looking back, I have no idea how we did it. I was completely focused

on the entire adoption process. I wasn’t even thinking about the money coming in. It was one of those times in life when the Lord gives you as much as you can handle, and you love every minute of it.” Since its establishment in 2002, the Minnesotabased Eskuche Creative Group has become known for large-scale homes and an emphasis on craftsmanship, design, and attention to detail. “We create continuous visuals for our clients before the project even begins,” says Eskuche, who became registered in 1996, just five years after getting a bachelor of fine arts degree. “It’s like giving the client a test drive of their project before it even begins. Through a number of quick sketches, watercolor renderings, and computerized fly-throughs, the clients really have a sense of what they will be building. It’s better to find out what they like and do not like before we begin to build it.”

Top Design Elements of the Palmer Point Home 1. Overhangs: “The roof overhangs protect and shelter the home and its occupants from the elements, resembling bird wings over the terrace,” founder Peter Eskuche says. 2. Varied surfaces: “Texture was very important in this project. We utilized warm woods, steel cable railings, stone, and lots of grasses surrounding the entire property. All of these elements complemented one another in a rich texture.” 3. Disappearing walls: “[These] allowed for the outside to come inside. We had disappearing power screens that would come down when needed. We also had 10-foot tall doors and one unforgettable 25-foot glass door that made a real impact.” 4. Expansive terracing: “[This] made the main level unique, with the outdoors becoming part of the inside.” 5. Open spaces: “The homeowners were very interested in an open living concept. In fact, there were few formal, closed-off living areas in the entire home. It made for true modern living within the home.”

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INSIDE-OUT A vaulted ceiling runs the length of the interior. Outside, the wooden planks extend another 20 feet.

The firm was approached with the 8,500-squarefoot Palmer Point project by an existing remodel client, a five-member family that dreamed of having a four-bedroom, five-and-a-half-bath home on Minnesota’s Lake Minnetonka. But the dream involved locating a hypothetical piece of land that Eskuche admits he wasn’t sure they would ever track down. “I helped them shop for land and was shocked when we actually found it,” he says. “The shape of the property resembled a big fan, being 35 feet wide at the street and several hundred feet at the waterfront.”

resembles a resort of sorts. “It’s Palm Desert living in the heart of Minnesota,” Eskuche says. “The wraparound stone terrace combines with abundant natural wood, steel, and glass, providing a very distinguished style where mountain meets modern.”

all shapes and sizes, from tiny cabins to legacy homes,” he says. “That passion pays off, too, considering we have designed nearly 30 homes just in 2010 during these tough economic times. Loving what you do creates a good problem of keeping up with the work, not finding it.”

The builder, Denali Homes, ended up finishing the entire project in just seven months. Thanks to extensive fly-throughs, the owner saw every part of the house and made only a single design change order after construction began.

With over 180 degrees of waterfront views surrounding the house and expansive, 20-foot overhangs to protect it from the elements of Minnesota’s ever changing climate, the home

With only three employees, Eskuche and his team are able to balance distinctive quality with practicality. “Part of what makes it both fun and a good business move is taking projects of

And he does have advice for up-and-coming architects. “New architects really need to remember to adapt to the market, work hard, and wear many hats with other firms before starting their own—and to stay away from one specific niche,” he says. “But first and foremost, you must be the kind of person who can establish real relationships with your clients. Listen intently to their wish list, and make as many of those wishes come true through your architectural talents.”


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TWO-TIERED STONEWORK This patio—complete with a tapered stone fireplace—was designed to connect to the main terrace at a lower level to avoid blocking the lake views from the house.




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vacation homes

second homes and getaways across the globe

Kelowna, British Columbia Nesbitt Originals’ PASSION FOR PERFECTION is REFLECTED IN STUNNING VACATION HOMES by Amy E. Lemen Paul Nesbitt has a passion for exquisite design, but he has an equal passion for meeting clients’ requirements to create completely custom homes. The end result is a marriage of detail and style that reflects exactly what his clients want in a vacation getaway. “There’s often a disconnect between what someone dreams up and what they end up building,” he says. “We’re the connection between those two key elements.” Founded in 1981, Nesbitt Originals is a British Columbia, Canada-based design-build firm that works with a construction partner, Okanagan Dream Builders, to build everything they design. Nesbitt, the firm’s owner and founder and also a registered builder, says the ability to make the connection between design and construction is huge for clients. “The builder isn’t usually sitting in design-side meetings, hearing the passion of what the client wants,” he says. “We do both, and the client sees that they were listened to and that they’re getting their custom needs met.” The firm—which focuses on luxurious $2-$10 million custom vacation homes primarily in the province’s picturesque town of Kelowna (see sidebar) —designs and builds just a few homes each year, and this simple yet critical philosophy of time and care sets them apart. “Less is often more,” Nesbitt says.


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Kelowna, British Columbia Population: 96,288 Attractions: Short distance from Calgary, Vancouver, and Seattle; more than 200 other lakes; skiing and snowboarding; wine tastings at local vineyards; and festivals including the Fat Cat Children’s Festival and the Summer Okanagan Wine Festival.

FIRE AND WATER As the sun sets in Kelowna, the Hazzard residence begins to glow. The infinity-edge swimming pool, complete with flanking fire bowls, offers a regal spot from which to take in the breathtaking view.

Come visit our NEW SHOWROOM and see why Dannburg is your best choice for flooring.


340 Spedding Court, Kelowna Serving the Okanagan for over 20 years

NATURAL JUXTAPOSITION The triangular infinity-edge spa adds a touch of modernism to contrast the surrounding natural landscape.

“Clients want to feel they’re special and that they’re getting my full attention. And, we need to ensure that the quality is there; 85 percent is good enough in school, but our clients expect us to pursue 100 percent.” Nesbitt calls his firm “over the top” in its design philosophy, with average sets of architectural drawings that can run up to 25 pages. The drawings are excessively detailed, too, including where drawers are located, what the fixtures in the showers will look like, and what style handles will go in the kitchen. “How everything fits together is important, and those details have to be figured out,” he says. “I overdraw so everything gets priced properly up front, and my clients understand exactly what they’re getting because the interior elevations of every built-in [are] drawn out.” The resulting luxury spaces are often on the shores of Lake Okanagan, a 135-km-long lake surrounded by the mountainous Okanagan Valley that’s about equidistant from Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta, and Vancouver, British Columbia, on the Pacific coast. Nesbitt says his clients’ goals are to connect with nature and to recharge their batteries before going back out into the business world again. “There is a lot of attention paid to creating peaceful, restful places to relax,” he says. “That can happen with

Reg, Brian and I would like to congratulate Nesbitt Originals on their numerous awards! It has been an amazing experience to work with such a talented visionary as Paul Nesbitt. We are Glass Canada Inc, commercial and residential glaziers in the Okanagan Valley. Please visit our website at to view a sampling of our work. “If you can dream it we can build it”

FASHIONABLE CORE The Hazzard residence’s center stairwell features glass and metal artwork.

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color, textures, water, sound, lighting, and many other factors. It’s all about adding passion and thinking differently that makes our designs originals, not copies.” That philosophy includes the firm’s “unconventional space planning” mindset—like opening up spaces as much as possible so homeowners feel like they’re in a resort at home. Think high ceilings, an indoor environment that’s as stunning as the outdoor, and a seamless, natural flow from inside to outside. “A lot of plans are segmented, and that is not our style,” Nesbitt says. “People get excited about open floor plans; it’s not about just building boxed rooms and hoping that the roof somehow comes together.” Take the Hazard residence, an 8,000-square-foot modern home on the shore of Lake Okanagan that features a sculptural glass and metal art gallery in the circular center stairwell—with an office at the top. The home also features a lakefront dock shaped like a ship’s anchor, a negative-edge pool that looks like it is connected to the lake, and multiple spaces designed specifically to take advantage of the panoramic views, even through the glass windows of the master walk-in closet. “Everything we do in the planning takes into account the outside shape as well as the inside plan,” Nesbitt says. “It has to have a purpose, and there’s symbolic meaning in most of our architecture. Our clients definitely don’t want what everyone else has, and that makes it fun.”

A MESSAGE FROM THE STONE SHOWROOM Glass Canada Inc. F1 – 1810 Kyle Court West Kelowna, BC V1Z 3Z4 Phone: 250-454-9923 | Fax: 250-454-9927 Email: Website:

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vacation homes

Silver Beach, New Jersey Richard Bubnowski is CREATING TRADITIONAL BEACH HOMES WITH A MODERN TWIST by Laura Judy


Richard Bubnowski loves to surf, hang out with his son, and work in his home office with his trusty Labrador by his side, so it’s no wonder he decided to set up his own operation more than six years ago. After working for variously sized design firms over the years, Bubnowski started his one-man business, Richard Bubnowski Design, with some encouragement from his then-soon-to-be wife. He now works happily from Surfers End, the modern Arts & Craftsstyle home that he designed for his family in Point Pleasant, New Jersey. “I’m very happy being a small company,” Bubnowski says. “With larger firms, there’s so much going on that you sometimes miss out on the aspects of the job that you enjoy most.” Now, Bubnowski works with every client from start to finish, and while all his work is very professional,

his small operation and casual environment helps put clients at ease. “A lot of my clients are barefoot when I meet them,” Bubnowski says. “They’re spending tons of money for high-end homes, but they’re still living that casual, beachy lifestyle, and they like that I’m just a regular guy.” Most of his clients are from out of town, but when they are around, Bubnowski often takes them fishing or surfing. Currently, around 75-80 percent of the homes that Bubnowski designs are high-end vacation homes, and much of the company’s business comes from referrals and magazine articles. “One client hired me to build an entire house based on a photo of an outdoor shower and surfboard shed I designed for myself that was printed in a national magazine several years back,” Bubnowski says. “The client told me that she liked my style and the

Silver Beach, New Jersey Population: 5,314 Attractions: Scenic views of the Atlantic Ocean; a shoreline boardwalk with shops, restaurants, live music, and amusement rides; and the annual Festival of the Sea, which takes place in September.

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vacation homes

“I love taking elements and inspiration from the past, especially the American Arts & Crafts and Shingle styles, and then reinterpreting them for modern living.” Richard Bubnowski, Owner fact that we were all surfers, and she felt it would be fun to work together.” Currently, Bubnowski works on two to four projects each year, ranging from $40,000 bathroom renovations to $3 million beachfront homes. “I give all of my projects an incredible amount of personal attention,” he says.

each project has its own identity. “I love taking elements and inspiration from the past, especially the American Arts & Crafts and Shingle styles, and then reinterpreting them for modern living,” Bubnowski says. “I think of a lot of our work as transitional. It has firm roots in the traditional but usually has a bit of a modern twist to it.”

While Bubnowski never goes into a project with a preconceived idea of what it should look like, there are certain unifying design elements that seem to show up frequently, such as the use of natural light and breezes, a pleasing flow, and balconies and screened-in porches. In the end,

One of Bubnowski’s most recent projects, completed in the summer of 2010 in Silver Beach, New Jersey, is a perfect example. “Inspiration came from the classic Shingle style beach houses of the northeast and the southern architecture of places like Seaside and Rosemary Beach, Florida,”


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Bubnowski says. The home, often referred to as the South Surf Road residence, was built for a family from Georgia. “The husband and wife originally grew up in the northern New Jersey/ New York area, and they’d always vacationed along the Jersey shore,” Bubnowski says. “They wanted to design a house that would bring them back to New Jersey during the summer months and be a part of their family for years to come.” Because the South Surf Road residence sits on an oceanfront site, designing around the view was vital. Other standout features of the home are a large, open kitchen and dining area, a

SEASIDE STYLE The Surf Road residence’s mahogany-framed screened-in porch brings indoor comfort and style to a sunny outdoor setting.


Luxury Homebuilding Since 1984 mahogany-framed screened-in porch, and an enclosed crow’s nest (for watching storms over the ocean). “The family wanted a house that was open and inviting for entertaining but [that] would also maintain a warm, traditional feeling,” Bubnowski says. “One of the elements I’m most pleased with is how comfortably the house sits on its rather small site. As you approach it from the street, it tiers up away from you, so it’s very unimposing at the pedestrian level.” While Bubnowski loves designing homes, he is also extremely passionate about the other side of his business—designing heirloom-quality

furniture. His current furniture line is called the “Surfers End Collection,” after his own home. “In most cases, the furniture is ultimately an extension of the architecture,” Bubnowski says. “The furniture aspect of my work had always been a dream of mine, but I never had the time to turn it into a reality. Opening my own studio gave me that opportunity.” Moving forward, he hopes to turn the furniture into a stronger part of the business, but for now, most of his focus is on creating beautiful, unique homes. “I love turning a client’s dream and vision into reality,” he says. “I get to listen to their stories, and they often help mold the shape and style of the house.”

Specializing in custom homes and renovations, Falcon Industries’ extensive portfolio spans a variety of luxury residences. Whether overseeing a renovation that aims to emulate the French countryside or building a nautical-inspired seashore escape, Falcon Industries always provides its customers with the highest level of craftsmanship and construction expertise. 732-477-2400


Serving a unique niche in the custom-home industry

DeMaria Design Associates Inc. UNCONVENTIONAL ARCHITECT DESIGNS FOR UNCONTAINED LIVING by Kaleena Thompson You’ve seen shipping containers on huge cargo boats or left empty at city ports. They carry everything from toys to airplane parts to household goods. However, for architect Peter DeMaria, the Lego-like steel boxes are a path to efficient and affordable housing. While the idea of living inside cargo containers may at first conjure images of destitute, third-world communities, DeMaria’s innovative design-build strategies have transformed the metal boxes into appealing modern abodes. “I was influenced by my love for unconventional construction materials,” says DeMaria, the principal of Los Angeles-based DeMaria Design Associates Inc. “For instance, I find beauty in raw wood, stone, water—as well as biopolymers—and how we shape them and use them is an endless exploration for me. Therein lie new applications and concepts that are yet to be explored.” He parlayed this exploratory design skill into a career and lifestyle that ventures into unknown territory.


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DeMaria Design Associates has embraced the “removal of barriers” aesthetic since 1992. It takes on a small number of high-end projects each year and focuses on “hybridism among relationship, craft, material, form, function, technology, and people,” according to its website. The firm’s most transformed hybrids, its cargo-container homes, have received acclaim and coverage on the series This New House and on CNN. In 2006, DeMaria took his unusual design concept and built a home in Redondo Beach, California. The owners, who are adventure enthusiasts, approached DeMaria and commissioned him to build one of the first legal two-story cargo-container houses in the US. “They were looking for an unconventional eco-conscious structure but didn’t know where to start,” DeMaria says. “I explained to them the option of cargo containers and how they are natural building blocks, structurally superior to wood-frame construction and less expensive.” DeMaria also notes that the containers


DeMaria combined eight containers of varying length and used traditional stick-frame construction to create the 4,000-square-foot hybrid home in Redondo Beach.

The Redondo Beach House


Designed for adventure enthusiasts, this 4,000-square-foot, two-story home was constructed simply from steel cargo boxes. After seeing the architect’s own home, the clients wanted an affordable place that still explored the unconventional. DeMaria removed the container doors and installed titanic-size walls of glass. After flooding the space with natural light, he used LEDs and MR16s for low-voltage, sustainable lighting. The spaces between the containers hold an art studio and master bedroom. A master closet, two more bedrooms, a library, an entry foyer, a porch, and a kitchen are located within the containers.

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The DeMaria Experiment On a 40-foot-wide lot Peter DeMaria and his wife, Donna, considered tradition—then did the opposite. Putting emphasis on the home, the standard two-car garage door was eliminated. In its place, huge glass roll-up doors were installed in the living room and open onto the front porch. The home’s floors are concrete, which makes for guiltfree bike-riding throughout the house. The second floor is divided into four bedrooms and three bathrooms, and the bedrooms have exposed-metal walls, vaulted ceilings, and traditional carpet. Instead of individual closets, there is a master closet for the family. Low-flow plumbing fixtures, photovoltaic panels, and radiant-heat floors all make this experimental home an environmentally friendly success.

have a longer lifespan, are mold- and termiteproof, and cost 30-35 percent less than homes built using typical construction concepts. DeMaria combined eight containers of varying length and used traditional stick-frame construction to create the 4,000-square-foot hybrid home. And thanks to a white paint scheme, the steel containers have abandoned their rustic cargo-carrying roots. The home features a 20-foot-high two-story family room with tall walls of glass, allowing natural light to flow and illuminate the interiors. “On the south side, we used sheets of acrylic employed on greenhouses in Germany,” DeMaria says. “It protects the house’s interior from UV rays.”


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Airplane-hangar doors open to the family room, which is structurally configured to accommodate an outdoor apparatus. “It has a climbing wall where the owners plan on installing a zip line down a hallway,” he says. To ensure the house is livable and the mechanics of its engineering are sound, DeMaria has done his homework. He used a ceramic-based insulation—which he says is also used for NASA’s space shuttle—prefabricated metal roof panels, bullet-proof acrylic sheets, formaldehyde-free plywood, and tank-less hot water heaters to fashion a home that is both innovative and environmentally friendly. “This project is the torchbearer for a new, more affordable method

of design and construction,” DeMaria says. As mentioned earlier, DeMaria is always on an adventure for new architectural ideas. Known as the DeMaria Experiment, his own house serves as a guinea pig for new designs, concepts, and elements. He and his wife, who is the director of interior design for the firm, refer to it as a crashtest dummy. “Our house is a sacred place that nurtures our family values—a unique combination of function and aesthetics.” For instance, the Manhattan Beach, California, home is comprised of steel, concrete, and metal studs instead of the usual wood studs and wood beams. Blurring the distinction between inside and outside, DeMaria installed concrete floors for his

REMOVABLE WALLS A large glass garage door opens up the DeMaria Experiment completely to the backyard. A similar door opens up the front of the

boys, Luciano and Michelangelo, to ride bikes in the house. The lack of walls on the first floor allows for seamless activity, and the 20-footwide glass garage doors open the kitchen to the backyard and the living room to the front yard. However, a bamboo staircase does lead to a more traditional floor plan upstairs. Overall, the home seems to acknowledge traditional design while challenging it wherever possible. DeMaria knows his experimental designs have had an impact on clients. After all, it was seeing his house that inspired the Redondo Beach homeowners to essentially build inside a box. “Our role is to help our clients dream big and bring their dreams to fruition,” DeMaria says. “It prompts clients to visualize their own possibilities for how they’d like to live, and our designs nurture the unique lifestyles our clients want to lead in their homes.”


Top Design Strategies of BC&J Architects

BC&J Architects CREATING SUSTAINABLE COASTAL HOMES BUILT TO WEATHER THE STORM by Susan Flowers For many architects, their interest in the field begins with a childhood love of construction sites. For Peter Brachvogel, it all began with boats. “Everyone has an inspiration or a mentor,” he says. “Mine was a boat designer.” Fascinated by the work of naval architect Norm Owens, the young Brachvogel struggled to understand how something could be put into motion when static. “Why does it move when it’s just sitting there?” he wondered. Brachvogel’s curiosity regarding the dynamics of boats led to other questions, such as “How can a natural material such as wood be made to withstand a punishing environment like water?” “A lot of that trickled down into designing buildings in a harsh environment like the Pacific Northwest,” Brachvogel says.


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Today, the founder of BC&J Architects is still passionate about design—and about creating a lasting sustainable environment with the buildings the firm designs. “We have a particularly brutal sense of temporariness in this country,” he says. “What can you do once and have it service a number of people to provide a legacy and a richness to life? How can I get a building to last after I am gone?” Located on Bainbridge Island, Washington, BC&J has long focused on green issues, concentrating on sustainability through design rather than solely through use of eco-friendly materials. “It’s irresponsible not to [be green],” he says. “In the last decade, we’ve been greenwashed about a number of things. The number one thing is actually to build a building that’s the appropriate size and

1. Scale the work appropriately: “Nothing good comes from overbuilding,” founder Peter Brachvogel says. 2. Pay attention to the site: “Tailor the building to accommodate the attributes of the sun, wind, and rain directions.” 3. Plan for all seasons: “Nothing is worse than a house that is dark and cold or too bright and hot.” 4. Research the available materials: “Often that which is marketed as green is just the opposite. Determine where a product was made, how much embedded energy it took to deliver the product to the site, etc.” 5. Source materials locally: “[Prioritizing] this approach will deliver a project that represents the individual character of a particular region or district.”

“What clients need is the most important thing. Clients are the reason I am here.” Peter Brachvogel, Founder

with overhangs. And you really have to understand your environment when it comes to the building envelope; insulation from moisture is most important. In our wet but mild environment, condensation accrues inside [walls]. Moving the vapor barrier outside adds 100 years to the life of a building.” Two of BC&J’s recent projects serve as examples of the firm’s commitment to sustainability—and to high-quality work. For a client at Point Monroe on Bainbridge Island, the firm built within the footprint of an earlier boathouse to create a structure of exactly the same size so as not to upset the near-shore environmental habitat. “We asked the contractor not to send his nail gun into the walls willy-nilly but into studs, because that’s the interior finish,” Brachvogel says. While the boathouse was created for day use, the project’s client sleeps in a nearby guesthouse, also designed by BC&J. Both buildings have battered rain-screen walls and are part of a larger project that includes construction of a main house at a later date. The unique assembly of the guesthouse walls allows ambient moisture to condense behind the rain screen on the outside of the building envelope. This shift of the vapor barrier allows for a dryer interior environment, which means less energy lost to heating. A client on the shores of Puget Sound came to the firm with specific requests: being six feet and seven and a half inches tall, he needed higher-thanstandard door frames. He also wanted a home that was modern but reflective of the richness of the Pacific Northwest—edgy but with traditional flair. BC&J designed a home with overhangs that was constructed with specially selected Alaska yellow cedar and other long-lasting materials. The house also incorporates state-of-the-art smart-home technology so that temperature, lighting, and other features can be controlled from any spot on the globe.

STARTING STRUCTURES The boathouse and carriage house of this Pointe Monroe home are meant to frame a future main house. The boathouse was built within an existing structural space to limit its environmental impact.

While both of these projects were created for high-end clients, BC&J works to provide good design at all price levels, according to Brachvogel. Whether customers seek a start-to-finish highend project, ready-to-build house plans from the firm’s new website,, or a consultation on an addition or remodel, BC&J is ready to offer assistance across a range of needs and budgets. “We don’t see this as a selective kind

june 2011

luxury home quarterly


MODERNISM IN STAGES A residence for a family of five began with this three-story guest house that the family lived in while the rest of the main home was completed.

of profession,” Brachvogel says. “We’re interested in anyone who wants to talk to us about making their life better.” For whatever size project, Brachvogel says that the firm relies on a few consistent concepts. Because of its location’s often gloomy weather, “we have a constant urge to grab the light,” he says. The firm therefore manipulates the slope of roofs and the scale of each home to maximize the natural light. Along with wife and business partner Stella Carosso, Brachvogel takes great pride in the team he’s

built. The staff of 8 “has a common vision about why we’re here,” he says. Each person on the team focuses on quality, service delivery, and ensuring that expectations are understood at the outset of a project. Everyone in the firm is ultimately motivated by the idea of serving clients, according to Brachvogel. “What clients need is the most important thing,” he says. “Clients are the reason I am here. This is about something other than ourselves; it’s about the joy and purpose of what we can provide to clients.”

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Professional Services & Organizations ARCHITECTURE


Argue Custom Homes,, 28-31

Rico’s Electric Lighting & A/V Controls Inc.,, 78

BC&J Architects,, 106-108 Bohlin Cywinski Jackson,, 23


DeMaria Design Associates Inc.,, 102-105

Dannburg Interiors,, 97

Denali Custom Homes, Inc.,, 95

Green Gables Design & Restoration,, 24-26

DomA Architects, Inc.,, 87-89

Jeffrey Hitchcock Enterprises,, 8 & 47-53

Eskuche Creative Group LLC,, 93-95

Kendall Wilkinson Design & Home,, 40-45

Frank Harmon Architect PA,, 5 & 62-69

Light Spot Modern Design,, 23

The Miller Hull Partnership, LLP,, 22

Marjorie Cranston Design,, 33

Miró Rivera Architects,, 6-7 & 80-83

Solis Betancourt, Inc.,, 37-39

Neil M. Denari Architects,, 5 & 54-61

Thurston/Boyd Interior Design Inc.,, 34-36

Nesbitt Originals,, 96-98 Palisade Homes,, 32-33


Reader & Swartz Architects, P.C., 90-92

Bulthaup,, 2-3


Aidin M. Foster, 34-35

International Interior Design Association,, 15

Anice Hoachlander,, 90-91 Atlantic Archives,, 113


Benjamin Benschneider,, 22

Black Mountain Construction/Development,, 11

Benny Chan,, 54-61

Culp Construction Co.,, 23

Carter Photographics,, 32-33

Dalgleish Construction Company,, 83

Dave Davidson,, 24-27

Falcon Industries,, 101

David Duncan Livingston,, 40-42

Hermann Design & Development,, 70-77

Deven Gadula, 87-89

Steve Mann and Scott Chenoweth, 22

Frederika Moller,, 89 Gordon Beall,, 84-85


Jeffrey Jacobs,, 62-69

Degenkolb Engineers,, 22

John Alex Maguire, 16

Flack and Kurtz, wspgroup, 23

Mark Boisclair,, 28-30

Rutherford & Chekene,, 23

Matthew Millman,, 43-45 Michael Biondo Photography,, 112


Michael Moran Photography, Inc.,, 113

AIA Florida Show,, 16

Piston Photography Design,, 6-7, 79, & 80-83

AWFS Fair,, 16

Ryann Marlowe,, 87-88

Home Textiles Sourcing Expo,, 16

Sam Oberter,, 99-101

Olympia International Fine Art & Antiques Fair,, 16

Scott Frances,, 47-53

Southeast Building Conference,, 16

Timothy Hursley,, 5 & 62-69 William McCollum, 5 & 70-77 REAL-ESTATE DEVELOPMENT & MANAGEMENT BH III LLC, 15 Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.,, 14 SPECIALTY Vintage Cellars,, 88


luxury home quarterly

june 2011



West Elm,, 114

Glass Canada Inc.,, 98



Gerry Lynch,, 65

Andromeda International,, 19

Ron Dier,, 35

Bocci,, 18 Murano,, 35


Niche Modern,, 7 & 20

Ferguson,, 15

Paul Ferrante Inc.,, 35

Lowe’s,, 91

Sua International,, 33 Velux,, 59


WAC Lighting,, 15

Stark Carpet,, 39 & 116 Tai Ping Carpets,, 52

METALS Copper Iron Designs, Inc.,, 89

FIREPLACES EcoSmart Fire,, 112

STONE & TILE Ann Sacks,, 14


Paris Ceramics,, 109

Porcelanosa,, 80

Serra Stone Corporation,, 86 The Stone Showroom,, 86, 98, & 113

FURNITURE B&B Italia,, 65


Baker Furniture,, 114

Brunschwig and Fils,, 52

Ikea,, 91 & 114


JJ Custom, Inc.,, 52 & 53

Maison de France, New York,, 52

Montis,, 91

Zoffany,, 52

Poliform,, 59 Roche Bobois,, 21


Jocelyn Warner,, 17

Williams Sonoma,, 114 WINDOWS & DOORS Fleetwood,, 80 Northwest Door & Sash,, 25 & 27 Pella,, 4 Weiland Sliding Doors and Windows, Inc.,, 105 WOODWORK Davenport Architectural Woodworking,, 27 Dovetail Millwork, 540-937-7741, 92 Morgan’s Fine Finishes,, 27 Olde Wood Limited,, 113 Roth Wood Products,, 78

june 2011

luxury home quarterly


products + services spotlight

EcoSmart Fire An environmentally friendly open fireplace, the EcoSmart Fire is an Australian innovation featuring remarkable design flexibility. The EcoSmart burner is fueled by denatured ethanol, which burns clean and is virtually maintenance free—no flue or hard connection are required for installation. Available in a variety of readymade designs, the EcoSmart Fire is also customizable in that it can be installed into any accommodating design.

Tansu.Net The Kobe is a contemporary Balinese platform bed that is handmade in Indonesia from sustainable plantation teak. It features a Java-brown hand finish and has been constructed with mortise-and-tenon joinery for long-lasting durability. Exotic yet simple, the Kobe’s modern, low-profile design features strong lines and angles. Available in Full, Queen, California King, and Standard King sizes. Matching dressers and nightstands are available. Ben Harvey (866) 878-3325,

(310) 914-3335

products+ services spotlight The Spotlight is Designed To:

showcase the top trends, innovations, and amenities

connect LHQ readers—elite

custom-home builders, contractors, architects, interior designers, landscapers, and more—with high-quality products and services for their luxury-home projects

Michael Biondo Photography After a 20 year career photographing fashion for clients such as Valentino & W magazine, Michael Biondo has turned his attention towards architecture. Finding inspiration in the work of Julius Shulman, Ezra Stoller, and Lucien Hervé, Michael Biondo produces award-winning photography for architects, designers, and builders. Michael Biondo (203) 293-5322


luxury home quarterly


a resource for LHQ readers to use when presenting project ideas to clients Formatted 1/3- or 1/6-page four-color ads are available. To learn more, contact: Titus Dawson Director of Sales (312) 256-8462

june 2011

Special Advertising Section

Olde Wood Limited

Rich, Luxurious, Breathtaking are just a few words to describe this Thin Veneer Stone that brings your home to the next level. Made from Natural Stone to ensure the quality and look you desire. Visit to view all product lines available.

The antique-hardwood flooring products of Olde Wood Limited can be more than 400 years old, constructed of 100-percent reclaimed materials. As one of the largest manufacturers of reclaimed wide-plank flooring products in the United States, Olde Wood Limited offers a variety of custom-milled and kiln-dried lumber, timber-framing, and hand-hewn beams.

John Iannotta (250) 769-0505

Kris Young or Jill Falkowski (866) 208-WOOD

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Atlantic Archives Richard Leo Johnson has been a professional photographer for more than 25 years. His approach to photography is based on a respect of "place,� incorporating a subtle, less-invasive style in his work. His intention is to help interpret the client's objectives, whatever the case may be. Richard Leo Johnson (912) 201-9484

Michael Moran Photography, Inc. Michael Moran has owned a successful architectural-photography studio based inNew York City since 1985. He recently collaborated on books on the architecture of New York and Philip Johnson’s iconic Glass House. Michael Moran (718) 237-8830

june 2011

luxury home quarterly


At home with

home in downtown chicago, IL Lived there 8 years

Julie Smith Chicago designer julie smith, founder of JSE Design Group, invited lhq into her home to discuss her favorite space to relax and recharge—her living room.

LHQ: Thanks for showing us your home! What makes this room a place you want to spend time?

JS: I enjoy spending time at home because I am surrounded by so many things I love, both old and new. This is a really a wonderful place for me to relax and recharge after running around the city all day shopping for clients.

LHQ: How would you describe the design of your living room? What inspired it? JS: I would describe it as a combination of highand low-end pieces, much the way many people are dressing today. I don’t think anything should be too precious and [I] believe in layering. Layering colors, patterns, and textures is what it is all about. My inspiration comes from mostly fashion, art, and music as well as my mother, who had great taste.

LHQ: What kind of atmosphere were you trying to create with the design of your living room? What elements did you use to achieve your goal?

JS: I wanted the room to be a combination of fun pieces and [to] exude warmth without being overly relaxed or too formal. Chicago has extreme seasons, and I wanted a place that in any season is bright, warm, and welcoming. One of the first things I did when I moved in was to redo the floors in a darker stain. It helps make the space feel larger and more interesting.

LHQ: How does your home reflect your personal design style?

JS: I love to travel and try out new things, and this is a great room for me to experiment with. I am constantly moving things around and swapping the art and accessories out.


KATE Slipper Chair: Williams Sonoma

Sofa: Baker Furniture baker.



luxury home quarterly

june 2011

photo: Maia Harms

The Pieces

COUNT ON US 1,350 locations. All 50 states. 300 showrooms.17,000 associates. 57 years in business. At Ferguson, it’s true that our inventory is huge with thousands of your top items in stock every day. And we fill your orders accurately and right away. But there is one thing we supply that building professionals have come to rely on again and again for over 57 years - our people. Our associates make certain you can count on Ferguson - where friendly service, expertise, and a willingness to go the extra mile are never in short supply.


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(540) 667-5775

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