Luxury Home Quarterly: Issue 8

Page 1

LUXURY HOME quarterly

APRIL 2011

fresH & clean Bright, crisp designs for spring

Home offices THaT Work: craig steely, shane inman & Esquire

A peek inside John Finton’s +Contemporary Bel Air Masterpiece april 2011

luxury home quarterly



luxury home quarterly

april 2011

april 2011

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contents FEATURES

Lavish Livability BOKa creates tailor-made vacation homes that are as functional as they are opulent, embracing a traditional design aesthetic that is classy and timeless.

page 57

Design on Display Finton Construction has been building homes for the top entertainers and business elite of Southern California, creating a strong reputation as the go-to contractor for luxury properties with a contemporary flair.

page 66

p 66

A Fresh Perspective Michael Minadeo + Partners puts a contemporary spin on New England’s classical architectural style in a stunning pool-house design.

PERSONALIZED ELEGANCE The Bel Air contemporary estate, built by John Finton Construction, utilizes the owner’s impressive art collection in every room in the house. In the entryway, an Austrian 1800s ash settee sits beneath a John Ulbricht oil-on-canvas portrait of the owner’s father.

page 76

It’s Official This department explores how designers can create funky, functional home offices that fit with a client’s lifestyle. Architect Craig Steely invites us into his contemporary live/work space; we discuss the future of home furnishings with Esquire; and Shane Inman shows us his monochromatic office space.

Photo: art gray

page 84

ON THE COVER In Patrik Lönn Design’s 535 West End Avenue project, horizontal stripes set the tone for the signature look. The chocolate-brown pony-hair rug creates a unique texture on the floor, and burntorange pillows in a floral pattern add a fresh punch of color. page 42

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p 100 acclaim Custom-home projects of note 40

A treehouse of One’s Own


Central Park Stunner


THE RESERVE RESIDENCE This stunning patio space by Rob E McQuay is designed so that the home literally blends with the landscape outside, extending directly into the desert so the space is in sync with the natural setting.

Construction firms specializing in peerless residences 26

O’Neill Development


Christiani Construction


Weilert Custom Homes

DESIGNERS Creative minds in interiors, landscapes, and furnishings 32

Marie Burgos Design


Gluckstein Design


Robin Baron Design


Joseph Stabilito Designs


A.W. Design

Designer Showcase An in-depth look at some of the industry’s most unique designers 42

Patrik Lönn Design Inc.


Paula + Martha, LLC


de la Torre Design studio

the plans A showcase of sleek, modern architecture— and the blueprints that started it all Rob E Mcquay Architects & Associates


horst architects, InC.

the teams

architects Providing concepts and programs for deluxe homes 110

South Coast Architects, Inc.


IS Architecture


Biglin Architectural Group


Don Duffy Architecture


Brion Jeannette Architecture




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Partnerships and collaborations between architecture pros 122

Dungan Nequette


Huestis-Tucker Architects


Hood-Herring Architecture


Pontis Architectural Group

Photo: danny lee photography




Editor’s Note

page 10

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

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

On the Rise Spotlighting designs for work and play page 18

Behind the Lines featuring Hellman Chang page 17


page 142

Products+Services Spotlight page 144 At Home With Liz Caan

page 146

p 95 Vacation Homes

Check out the stylish Cherner task chair ( and other top product picks for a productive home-office design.

Second homes and getaways across the globe 130

Kailua Oceanfront Courtyard Residence


Amicola Bungalow

DISTINCTION Serving a unique niche in the custom-home industry 134

Smith Brothers Construction


George Shaeffer Construction Company


Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.

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editor’s note HOLE IN THE WALL Michael Minadeo’s modernized pool house. The opening in the north wall provides a viewing portal through the building, over the pool, and to the panorama beyond.

In “A Fresh Perspective” (p. 76), we take a look at a cool, clean pool house designed by Michael Minadeo + Partners. The project is an AIA award winner, and its stunning execution makes it clear that the firm is worthy of the praise. According to Michael Minadeo, founder of the firm, “I see many clients who prefer a more casual lifestyle, so spaces in my buildings tend to be more open and free-flowing.” We take a close look into one particular niche in the interior-design industry in “It’s Official” (p. 84), where home-office design is explored through architecture, product selection, and the marketing of a brand new furnishings collection. Architect Craig Steely invites us into his funky, functional live-work space in San Francisco, affectionately known as the Beaver Street Reprise. The


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home needs to work on multiple levels, and Steely has achieved his goal of seamlessly integrating living and working spaces. “We don’t have a home, a studio, and an office,” says Steely. “We have all these working together on one lot at a fraction of space and cost.” This issue also brings you coverage of the latest trend in both the homefurnishings and media world—branded collections marketed toward a specific, and established, audience. In “The Gentlemen’s Club” (p. 92), we spoke with the forward-thinking minds behind Esquire’s newest venture. Matthew Briggs, CEO of the distribution company handling the project, is excited about creating a collection that works for those who desire a classic, contemporary homeoffice space. “With the Esquire Home Collection, Hearst and Four Hands hope to resonate with men who want to work and play in the same space.” Look out for our feature next month on unique timber-frame homes that are anything but ordinary. As always, I hope that our coverage of the newest trends and design philosophies will motivate, inform, and inspire your work. Enjoy.

Molly Soat, features editor

Photo: James WestpHalen


pring is finally here—and to celebrate, this issue of LHQ is filled with fresh, clean, and bright designs that will illuminate any home. Featured on our cover is one such space designed by Patrik Lönn (p. 42). Lönn describes his aesthetic as blonde and bright, crisp and understated. This minimal yet functional philosophy allows for an elegant look that reflects Lönn’s Scandinavian heritage as well as his global travels. His fresh design philosophy translates to his work with clients, as well. “The beauty of this work is that you can change people’s environment and improve their living conditions.”



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 april 2011

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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


3 2

Workspace product

New “Workflow” concept developed by o4i As netbooks and lightweight laptops continue to increase and take over the traditional workspace, new possibilities for the way we work are also being developed. Portability calls the use of the traditional static work desk into question as a new generation of professionals—many of whom are used to new and informal ways of using technology—rises through the ranks, bringing with it a loosened-up attitude regarding the home-office environment. Workflow is a one-piece workstation that allows for all the functions and positions necessary for getting business done in a casual and efficient manner. Offering users the option to sit, stand, or lie down, Workflow provides a fun but still serious playground for creativity and productivity. Workflow is currently a design concept not yet in full production. Source: o4i


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3-STAGE DESIGN Workflow offers a multifunctional unit for the modern business person: 1. Functional and Focused: A seated position on an ergonomic chair with the laptop at standard desk height—good for preparation and production; 2. Social and Interactive: A standing position with the laptop on a high desk—good for presentations and team projects; 3. Casual and Private: A lying position with the laptop in one’s lap—good for phone calls, note taking, and relaxing.


Bossini’s musicchromotherapy showerhead is something to sing about The Aquavolo Music-Chromotherapy showerhead combines the serenity of a cascading waterfall with the joy of music to awaken all senses in a shower experience that is truly like no other. The high-tech MP3 showerhead by Bossini provides three small LED lights with variable color settings, but its best feature is its dual loudspeakers. The miniature sound system connects to iPods and other MP3 devices and is strong enough to overpower the sound of running water with the gentle and soothing flow of music. When fully extended, the thin showerhead produces an engulfing, wide spray like gently pouring rain; when recessed, a more powerful waterfall surges forth. Most important of all, music and gadget lovers need never fear for the safety of their electronic devices—the Italian-bred Aquavolo includes an integrated holder that keeps MP3 players safe and dry. Source: Bossini

what’s new


New Chicago hi-rise offers amenities and much more

side table, or standing in the corner. App users can choose from 20 different lamp styles, including table, floor, ceiling, or wall, and users can shrink or enlarge a lamp to fit proportionally in any part of the screen. They can even turn a lamp a full 360 degrees to position it exactly as they would want it in the photographed space. The iFOSCARINI app is available free on the iTunes App Store. The program works with both the iPhone and the iPod Touch. It will soon be available for the iPad.

EnV Luxury Apartments are set to open across from Chicago’s famed Merchandise Mart in the Second City’s River North district. The 29-story tower will house 249 units catering to those seeking an existence filled with amenities and devoid of stress. The property, developed by Lynd Development Partners (a subsidiary of The Lynd Company), is among the first LEED-certified rental properties in the heart of the city, and the sustainable mixed-use development offers 27,000 square feet of retail and showroom space on three levels. The top-of-the-line units range from spacious studios to luxurious, expansive penthouse suites, and median rents run $2.96 per square foot. Interiors are graced with the finest features, such as bamboo floors, stainless-steel appliances, glass balconies, and expansive windows. Shared amenities include Wi-Fi, juice and coffee bars, concierge services, a pool terrace with cabanas and chaise lounges and a barbecue area, a fitness center, catering kitchen, and much more. A unique technology package even allows residents to complete building-related tasks (such as paying rent or scheduling a massage) straight from their smartphones. With so many services and conveniences at their fingertips, tenants might not ever feel the need to leave their homes again.

Source: Foscarini

Source: Lynd Development Partners


iFOSCARINI app brightens the iPhone When you can’t go to the store, you can still bring the store to you with the iFOSCARINI iPhone app. The company’s “DO YOU LIGHT?” program allows users to digitally insert a Foscarini lamp into a picture on an iPhone to see how it fits in a space. Users can take photos in their own homes to comparison shop before they buy, or they can e-mail them to friends to get a second opinion. The app is also a boon for interior designers looking for a quick way to give their clients an idea of what a home could look like with a Foscarini lamp on the wall, on a


Convertible sofa released by Aurelien Barbry for COR Aurelien Barbry has introduced the Fossa, a convertible sofa designed for COR. Interior slots allow Barbry’s creation to morph from sectional to lounger to bench to corner piece as its backrests and cushions are arranged and rearranged. In certain positions, voids left by removed pieces double as convenient storage units, which come in handy when purchasing the sofa for office use. The modular Fossas, available in chocolate or gray, can be placed side by side or in an L formation to generate additional seating. Although it’s built to be adaptable, Barbry’s efficient sofa provides consistency in an ever-changing world—it’s a piece of furniture that will stay fashionable and comfortable even as design trends change over time. Source: Aurelien Barbry

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Trade shows and special events in the coming months

LIGHTFAIR Institute Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia, PA

LIGHTFAIR® International (LFI) is the world’s largest annual architectural- and commercial-lighting trade show and conference. LFI has a proven track record of bringing top international and domestic architectural, design, engineering, and lighting professionals together with exhibitors from around the world. The show blends continuing-education courses with innovative products showcasing highend design and cutting-edge technology.

MAY 15-16

LIGHT IT UP An LFI attendee peruses the latest lighting products. LFI 2011 will feature over 1,500 booths and 450 manufacturers.

National Green Building Conference Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City, UT

The NAHB’s National Green Building Conference takes place in Salt Lake City’s Salt Palace on May 1-3, and is expected to attract more than 1,200 builders, remodelers, designers, and architects for its education and networking sessions. Catch up on the latest trends and product innovations in the green-building market. Highlights include a tour of the area’s more cutting-edge green homes and the prestigious annual National Green Building Awards.

MAY 1-3

AIA 2011 National Convention and Design Exposition Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA

The annual convention by the American Institute of Architects MAY introduces visitors to more than 800 exhibitors, allowing at12-14 tendees to discover new products, technologies, and services. Designers and architects will have the opportunity to see and touch products, get detailed information, and ask questions of manufacturer representatives. The expo will also house special display areas, educational opportunities, pavilions, and association offerings.


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23rd Annual International Contemporary Furniture Fair Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York City, NY

The International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) will turn New York City into a host for a global summit on what’s best and what’s next in design. As North America’s singular showcase for contemporary design, the ICFF offers ambitious designers an extraordinary exhibition of the most inspired models of design—as well as thoughtprovoking programs and a schedule of exhibits and features.

MAY 14-17

2011 AWFS Fair ®

Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort & Spa, Marco Island, FL

The AWFS®Fair is a full-scale woodworking industry conference that brings together thousands of woodworking professionals from around the world to preview new technology and take advantage of the finest educational conference in the industry. Incorporating the theme “Surround Yourself with Innovation,” AWFS®Fair 2011 focuses on providing the industry with an exciting, cutting-edge forum for the exploration of new product developments, competitive new strategies, and relevant solutions for the changing marketplace.

MAY 4-6

behind the lines


The Crawford Desk Stylish angles meet with gracefully coved surfaces on the Crawford Desk. The top and side-leg panels float off each other for a light presence while their canted edges intersect cohesively. Low-profile drawers have hidden pulls and a sweeping bevel.

Hellman-Chang Friends since childhood, Daniel Hellman and Eric Chang began their collaboration creating pieces in their parents’ suburban garages while still in their teens. Following college, the pair’s weekend hobby turned into a thriving business and led to the launch of their own line of luxury, studio-built furniture. The self-taught duo founded their furniture design-build firm— Hellman-Chang—in 2006. Shortly after its launch, Interior Design awarded the firm a 2006 Best of Year award for product design. Since then, the firm has been recognized in a wide range of media and has designed pieces for major projects including the Four Seasons Hotel, Sotheby’s, and Metropolitan Home’s Showtime Showhouse. Headquartered in Brooklyn, New York, and with a showroom in Manhattan, Hellman-Chang distributes its line of hand-crafted, solid-wood furniture through designer showrooms across the country. Designed with unique lines and crafted with elegant woods and finishes, the award-winning collection includes sideboards, consoles, and beds, but it is most well known for its array of tables, including the iconic Z table. Hellman-Change also just completed designs for its first run of pull-up chairs and sofas, love seats, and lounge chairs. The pieces began prototyping and went into production at the end of

2010 with a slated debut date of 2011. Recently, the firm added office furniture to its line as well. “Much office furniture is purely utilitarian or very cold and corporate,” Chang says. “However, we use rich woods coupled with handmade craftsmanship in modern, unique designs to create a final product that’s very livable and luxurious, whether for the home or CEO’s office.” –julie edwards

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on the rise

Popular trends and rising stars in the luxury-home market

big comfy couches Couch space is critical for casual office meetings, for entertaining, and for lounging at home with a good book. Here’s a look at some of the latest four-legged, comfortably cushioned wonders from top furniture-design firms.

william 1330 Sleeping will be just as easy as lounging on this seating collection featuring a modular sofa, pouf, and daybed designed by Damian Williamson for Zanotta. The pieces feature polished aluminiumalloy feet, a steel frame, and a seat upholstered with polyurethane/ heat-bound polyester fiber. Thin armrests on the sofa allow it to fit gracefully in cramped quarters, and the seat cushions have been upholstered with 100-percent goose down for maximum comfort. The furniture is available with fabric or leather upholstery covers that can be removed for easy cleaning.


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on the rise

frame Designed for maximum economy of materials, this bar-legged sofa has a simple wood construction reminiscent of traditional Scandinavian churches. Plans for the couch were drawn up by Foersom & Hiort-Lorenzen for Erik Jørgensen, just one of many other products crafted for the Scandinavian company.

boutique The Boutique Naked series of sofas, by Moooi, is built to be dressed with a myriad of fashionable covers. Additionally, Moooi plans to continue designing new covers, which can easily be affixed to the couch using Velcro attachments.

bohemian An opulent piece from Italian company Busnelli, this sofa’s upholstery literally hangs draped and shows its natural folds on all sides. The unfinished look—available in both leather and fabric—is offset by the traditional buttoning of the backrest and seating area. The piece is also available in chair or ottoman form.

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on the rise

desk jockey Giant, monolithic oak desks are a thing of the past. These days, workspaces should still be built for show, but they also have to support function and efficiency. Check out these top designs to give any home office a fresh perspective.

Kant This angular desk was designed for maximum economy of space by Patrick Frey and Marcus Boge. The crook situated at its back works as easily reachable storage space for books, files, and office supplies, thus keeping the broad, flat portion of the desk free of clutter. The workstation is made of birch plywood and comes in an assortment of colored tops.

the ledge This multifunctional, wall-mounted desk was created by Darin Montgomery in collaboration with designer Trey Jones. A pullout shelf strong enough to hold a laptop can be retracted, making the workspace almost hidden when not in use.

A carved and cut-out decorative leg distinguishes this desk from any of its office peers and gives the unit a lighter, more airy feel. Designed by Patricia Urquiola, the piece’s other distinctive features include a leather side pocket, a hanging file drawer, and a bookend made of painted sheet metal in the corner.


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Photo of kant: Jäger & Jäger



on the rise

The head of this oversized lamp from can both swivel and tilt thanks to a specially designed mounting by Gwen Floyd. The light fixture is also waterproof, protecting the lamp from rain and making it great for outdoor use as well. The stem is available in either white or brushed steel, and a near-endless number of lamp-shade designs ensures that the light will fit into any space.

larger than light Sometimes the average desk light is not enough—in which case it’s best to supersize. These unique floor lamps provide ample illumination while adding an immense level of flair and visual interest to any room’s design.

brave new world XL This lamp—reminiscent of a large-scale Tinker Toys model—is the brainchild of Freshwest and distributed by Moooi. Each piece of the complex oak frame is part of an elaborate mechanical whole that is moved about and set in position with the help of two cast-iron weights at the light’s base. Having just one around the house will instantly provide a wealth of conversation at the next dinner party.

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on the rise

rack ’em up For those lacking in closet space, here are a few products that challenge the concept of the standard coat hook. These designs are both funky and functional, and will add quirky visual interest to any space.

Tabard A combined hanging rack and light fixture, this one-of-a-kind piece protects garments from dust while providing soft light for the entryway. Designed by Denis Santachiara for Pallucco, the Tabard works either as a wall light or floor lamp, the second of which is created by joining two of the units back to back. The light inside is filtered through the dust cover, creating an atmosphere that is at once mysterious and seductive. 22

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on the rise

LA CIMA Made by Lapo Ciatti, this clothes hanger made from pleated nautical rope is perfect for a bathroom, a children’s room, the bedroom, or a studio. The length of rope extends as far as 350 cm, but its base can be tied off to shorten it to the desired length, making it extremely space-conscious.


HOOK ME UP The elegance of this product is its simplicity. Hanging from the ceiling, it can be shortened or lengthened by adding or removing any number of additional linking elements. The design, by Fredericia Furniture, uses no floor space while still offering a large amount of storage. The design also helps accommodate people of drastically different heights.

Photo of yak: Nils Holger Moormann

This coat-hanging unit fits perfectly in an entryway and can also be used as a bench for storage. The angled design, by Rupert Kopp, keeps coats away from the wall and hanging free in case they need to dry after rain or heavy snow.

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custom-home projects of note

Credits Architecture: Rockefeller Partners Architects Interior Design: Alana Homesley Interior Design Landscape Architect: Pamela Burton & Company Contractor (design/build): Tom Preis Construction Structural Engineer: C. W. Howe Partners Roofing: Western Red Cedar Lumber Association Light Fixtures: Bocci, Lucifer Lighting Company, BEGA

A treehouse of One’s Own

Additional elements of the Banyan Tree House mimic tree-like growth, providing a structurally sound building while working around the con-


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straints of the space. The house seems to hover above the ground, with steel columns and a butterfly shape anchoring it against skyline views of downtown Los Angeles. An artist’s escape and a work of art itself, this 172-square-foot getaway is fully outfitted with a water closet, fireplace, daybed, television, and refrigerator—plus guests can enjoy a secluded outdoor shower on their way up the concrete staircase, an interpretation of the traditional tree-house ladder. –Lee Posey

Photos: Eric Staudenmaier

A studio and guesthouse sitting on a ridge in Mandeville Canyon in Los Angeles, the Banyon Tree House is a unique sanctuary inspired by traditional tree houses. The design pays tribute to a pre-existing tree, its architecture formed around the literal trunk. The interior is outfitted with walnut floors, mahogany windows, and walnutpaneled walls, and the exterior—made of cedar and palope—exemplifies the beauty of nature.


Central Park Stunner In the southeast corner of Central Park sits a remarkably reinterpreted residence within the SherryNetherland Hotel. Richard Meier & Partners selected a palette of materials, colors, and details that reflect the landmark’s elegance while modernizing what is now a warm, contemporary apartment. Guests enter the apartment via an Anegre-wood and glass-paneled vestibule that encloses the elevator and creates a formal entryway. A grand, open space—converted from three enclosed rooms—flows from the threshold and presents an Anegre bookcase displaying an impressive art collection. This common area contains a living area and a dining area adjacent to the custom bulthaup kitchenette. From the common area, the floor plan splits between the north and south. To the north is an office and guest suite, and to the south is the master suite. –lee posey

Credits Architect: Richard Meier & Partners Architects LLP

Millwork: Mead & Josipovich Inc.

Interior Design: Rose Tarlow Melrose House

Custom Kitchenette: bulthaup

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Construction firms specializing in peerless residences

Aggressively Perfecting Passive Green Design by Christopher Cussat Perhaps nothing makes a father more proud than having a son who follows in his professional footsteps. That pride is exponentially multiplied when a child decides to bring his unique talents back to the family business. What makes the father-son team at O’Neill Development (OD) even more impressive is the fact that OD president, Brendan O’Neill, Sr., and senior vice president, Brendan O’Neill, Jr., have effectively combined a classic architectural/construction background with a progressively technological vision to successfully redefine what a designbuild firm should be. O’Neill started the company with the help of his wife, Susan, in 1975 after years working in urban


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renewal and mortgage banking. “We owned a single lot and built a spec home, which we then sold the first day it was on the market,” he recalls. They eventually moved on to building multiple houses and small subdivisions. Today, OD primarily builds and remodels residential properties in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area and Maryland’s Eastern Shore. O’Neill explains, “We provide homeowners with a design program, budget, and schedule and introduce them to a team of architects who we have worked with. Our clients are typically professional people who own their home or lot.” He adds that OD’s Eastern Shore Division is ably run by his son-inlaw, Adam Theeke.

The Highgate Community A 20-lot upscale subdivision in Potomac, MD, Highgate is modeled after the architectural style of an old English country community— complete with large rolling acres of grassy fields and a pond. Highgate’s old English streetscape blends multiple gable shapes; a common honey-colored fieldstone; prominent chimneys anchoring long, sloping rooflines; and stone-walled landscapes into a marvelous, natural, rolling terrain. Stone terraces were required in lieu of wood decks to anchor the homes’ rear elevations.

Photos: Anice Hoachlander, Hoachlander Davis Photography, LLC

O’Neill Development


OLD ENGLISH STYLE This Highgate home by O’Neill Development is nestled into a cul-de-sac and features many of the old English details common in the planned community, such as chimney pots, a walled entry court, scalloped wood shingles, honey-colored Cotswold stone, scooped eaves, and diamond-patterned windows.

“We surround ourselves with excellent people—dedicated employees, outstanding subcontractors, and talented architects.” Brendan O’Neill Sr., President

O’Neill is very proud of OD’s highly sustainable project called the Passive House—which will be the first of its kind in the Washington, DC, region and one of only a few in the United States. He explains, “This house incorporates German technology, which is currently being used extensively in Europe—it is one of the most remarkable directions that construction is now taking. It is also highly efficient and utilizes energy conservation as its main principle.” Essentially, the Passive House is a super-insulated product with 12-inch-thick walls and triple-glazed windows insulating the entire structure, from the underside of the footers in the slab all the way up through the walls in the house. In addition, the air flow through the house is constantly controlled. “That is because the house is so tight, you have to make sure that air is recirculated from the outside,” O’Neill says. Through these various methods, OD created a system where the heating and cooling is delivered with 90 percent savings in energy use.

According to O’Neill, OD’s competitive edge is a direct result of working with the highest quality professionals. “We surround ourselves with excellent people—dedicated employees, outstanding subcontractors, and talented architects. We also demand excellence from all and treat homeowners as we want to be treated.” OD’s short-term goal is to maintain a steady project pipeline in a relatively slow and very competitive market. “Our long-term goal is to concentrate on improving our management systems and developing cutting-edge green construction, including our exciting Passive House,” O’Neill says. The firm plans on accomplishing these goals by staying on top of the learning curve to build green, build for less, and build quality. O’Neill says, “We have partnered with an extraordinary architect by the name of David Peabody on our Passive House project. This has dropped us front and center into the sustainable movement and has really redirect-

ed our efforts toward green building.” In addition, thanks to his son’s progressive innovations, OD is now also applying technology to its building business. O’Neill says, “Brendan [Jr.] is the major mover in this direction—he’s the techie in the company.” As a result, OD is now using computers to organize and streamline the company’s management systems. “For example, a very large part of our connection with homeowners is now by e-mail,” O’Neill says. Also, OD has established personalized websites for each of its building jobs so that clients can go online, pull up their individual website, and see up-to-date information about their house as it is being constructed. O’Neill concludes that the key to his company’s success can be defined in one simple word—fairness. “We always try to remain fair to our customers, fair to our subcontractors, and fair to our employees. This has helped to take us to where we are today.”

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luxury home quarterly


Acker & Sons, Inc., has been satisfying customers throughout Maryland, D.C. and Virginia since 1961. We pride ourselves on professional workmanship, competitive pricing and always working within our customers' schedules.

The San Francisco Peninsula Estate This neoclassic-inspired estate comprises four buildings: an 8,000-square-foot main home, a guest home, a pool house, and a caretaker’s home. The curvature of the garden room was a construction challenge because the curved windows and siding had to be meticulously crafted to create the sharpness of the design.

Christiani Construction Building a Legacy of Success over a Lifetime by Christopher Cussat

Christiani has been able to accomplish this after having been introduced into the building trades at a very young age. CC was eventually established as a business that could appropriately represent the skilled trades of the craftsmen that Christiani admires and has come to emulate. As a result, for over 35 years, CC has overseen and coordinated the construction of fine homes for clients who demand a strong attention to detail. “Many of our projects require historical research to ensure the

product truly represents the era of the design theme,” he adds. In most cases, CC serves as the client’s representative during the design and permit-approval process. In addition, once construction begins, the company also functions as the project manager and the general contractor. According to Christiani, who is now company president, CC’s attention to detail, its intimate understanding of the many trades, and its building process allow the company to create finely detailed projects in a cost-effective fashion. “Our finished product and the process that gets us there set us above a lot of the more conventional builders,” he says. Christiani also believes that this gives CC a competitive advantage. One recent CC project of note is the San Francisco Peninsula Home (SFPH). The home was designed by Allan Greenberg, who is one of the


10516 Summit Ave., Kensington, MD 20895


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Photos: L. Christiani

Use Acker & Sons for all your plumbing needs, and you will come to see that we are dedicated to providing professional, prompt and exceptional quality service.

Larry Christiani was born into a builder’s family. In fact, at the age of 10, he began working as a carpenter—so it was only natural and certainly no surprise for Christiani to turn to building as his professional trade. This long history and experience in the industry culminated when he started Christiani Construction Inc. (CC) in 1975. Since that time, Christiani’s entire life has been dedicated to perfecting the skills of the master builders from bygone eras and preserving their construction techniques.


FRONT GARDENS The main house presides over the estate’s front gardens and affords many inviting views, including this one from the master bedroom.

“Many of our projects require historical research to ensure the product truly represents the era of the design theme.” Larry Christiani, President

leading authorities—if not the leading authority—on neoclassical architecture. Christiani says that any building in the San Francisco area has its own inherent challenges of construction because the structure must be able to earthquakes along California’s fault line. On its outside façade, the SFPH appears to be built from wood—but it is, in fact, a steel and concrete superstructure. The home’s grand stairway was also one of the more challenging aspects of the building, Christiani explains. “The challenge was to create a stair that almost appears to float—but to accomplish this as a structurally well-anchored object without revealing its strength.” In addition, the home is part of a 9-acre estate, and there are extensive landscaping and water features which have been created on the property. All aspects of the project’s landscaping were installed by CC as well.

Although CC has just one office in the Woodside area, the company also completes projects wherever its clients wish to build. This includes projects in Hawaii, Arizona, Colorado, and throughout northern California in places such as Los Gatos, Woodside, Carmel Valley, and San Francisco. Wherever its projects are located, CC is very conscientious of the use and disposal of construction materials as well as its waste. Christiani explains, “For years we have tried to use recycled materials whenever possible, and [we have] ensured that waste is reduced through proper use management. We are also always looking for ways to improve this process—this was our belief even before the word ‘green’ became a household phrase.” CC also sets itself apart by trying to keep its project list down to a few projects at once, giving the company ample time to apply more focus and attention to the task at hand. “We believe this is in

all of our clients’ best interest, and it allows us to execute the building process in a more cost-effective fashion. Also, of course, we strive to continue building finely crafted homes,” he adds. Still, there are always challenges to remaining successful and competitive while maintaining the same high standards of quality. Christiani explains, “As building costs of labor and materials continue to climb, the balance between craftsmanship and cost effectiveness becomes harder to attain—especially while trying to keep costs down. Our goal is to continue perfecting the construction process to allow doing so.” Lastly, Christiani attributes CC’s success to both its products and people. “First of all, the most important aspect [of being successful] is that our product speaks for itself in terms of form and function. In addition, throughout the entire building process, we have maintained professional and personable relationships with our clients.” CC accomplishes this by listening to designers’ intents and owners’ desires—as well as by having an excellent staff. Christiani says, “You also have to choose your employees well so that they best represent your company’s goals. Always remember to take care of your trade force—so that they have the desire to take care of you.”

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luxury home quarterly


Fine Home & Estate Builders Since 1975 23054 Evergreen Ln., Los Gatos, CA 95033 650.529.1824

Weilert Custom Homes A FOCUS ON THE LITTLE THINGS KEEPs QUALITY HIGH by Frederick Jerant Weilert Custom Homes, based in Oswego, Illinois, marked its 25th anniversary in business last year. It’s a significant milestone for a company that was formed almost by accident. Jeff Weilert, general manager of Weilert Custom Homes, recalls the story: “My father, Ron, was working in the software industry when he purchased a hundred-plus-year-old farmhouse in the Chicago area for himself and my mother. They

envisioned it as their dream home, but it needed work. During the redesigning and renovating, they couldn’t find individuals or companies that could provide the attention to detail and smooth coordination that he wanted. So, he took the project over and managed it himself.” The house turned out so well that Ron was invited to take on other small projects, each successive project growing bigger. In 1985 he launched his 30

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Mediterranean Mansion This 10,000-square-foot Oswego, IL, home (opposite page and right) was built not only to house a family of five but also to host business and charity events. It features a sunken outdoor theater with concrete seating, a 1,000-square-foot multipurpose room suitable for both sports and formal entertaining, a 3,000-square-foot basement reminiscent of a 1920s Chicago hotel lobby (complete with piano bar), and hidden passageways with remote-controlled doorways. Each of the four bedrooms in the Spanish-style estate have private balconies that look out onto a forest preserve.

own company—one that would eventually become Weilert Custom Homes. “He did that to be sure he’d always get the proper quality level,” Jeff says. Today, the firm employs about a dozen people and works on roughly 15–20 projects each year. “High-end work is our bread and butter,” Jeff says. “We handle complete homes as well as additions, remodeling projects, historic preservation, and much more. Prices can range from $50,000 to several millions of dollars.” The company functions as a general contractor. Its in-house staff performs framing work, lowvoltage electrical installation, and trim work. The remainder is subbed out to a stable of reliable tradespeople. “They understand the importance of our high standards,” Jeff says, “because they work to the same quality level.”

“In the Midwest, there’s a real mix of architectural styles. As builders, it can take some finesse to make it all work, but we enjoy bringing it all together.” Jeff Weilert, General Manager

whole project. That’s how we achieve the performance we require,” Jeff says. Many of those materials fit into the company’s approach to green building. “We try to educate our customers about green building because it’s an overused and constantly evolving term,” Jeff says. “People can use it in many ways, and today’s definition might not match tomorrow’s.”

Completed in 2009, a 10,000-square-foot Spanishstyle estate illustrates what Weilert Custom Homes can do. The owner, prominent in the local business community, required a home that could host a variety of business and charity events, but he also desired a place that would suit his regular family activities. In response, Weilert Custom Homes developed a home that fits both requirements.

For each of its projects, Weilert Custom Homes believes that framing is second in importance only to the foundation. “We need to anticipate all of the finishing elements in a home,” Jeff says. “If the framing isn’t plumb and level, everything will be affected, from the drywall and painting to the cabinetry and trim work.”

For Weilert Custom Homes, green means installing only Energy Star appliances and maintaining proper insulation and air-exchange properties. “Preventing air leaks is essential; however, you must also manage the air quality within the livable space,” Jeff says. “In a tightly sealed home, interior air quality will degrade over time if not handled properly. Many people worry about the one but fail to address the other.”

Features of the home include a 3,000-square-foot basement styled like a Chicago hotel lobby from the 1920s; hidden passageways and a remotecontrolled hidden doorway providing understated access to various rooms; a sunken outdoor theatre in the backyard; and a 1,000-square-foot gymnasium conducive for sports, formal dances, and other activities. To top it all off, the rear of the house faces a forest preserve, offering spectacular views.

That attention to detail carries over to the materials used in construction. “There are lots of engineered products that can be good or bad, depending on the application. We make our decisions based on the individual materials’ characteristics, as well as how they’ll work together within the

In addition, Weilert Custom Homes is sensitive to the volatile organic compounds (VOC) present in the materials it uses. “We use low-VOC paint, which is standard for homes today,” Jeff says, “but we also look at carpets, flooring materials, cabinetry, and other components of a project.”

A Spanish-style home in a little Illinois village might seem unusual, but Jeff Weilert says it isn’t. “In the Midwest, there’s a real mix of architectural styles,” he says. “As builders, it can take some finesse to make it all work, but we enjoy bringing it all together.”

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Creative minds in interiors, landscapes, and furnishings THE FAMILY ROOM “NEST” This traditional New York home’s familyroom design was inspired by the “Nest” pillow at the center of this image. The pillow is available from Restoration Hardware (

Marie Burgos Design NEW YORK-BASED DESIGNER INSPIRED BY THE IDEALS OF FENG SHUI by Tricia Despres Owner of New York-based Marie Burgos Design, Marie Burgos believes she was born to create. Her mom is a painter, one of her brothers is a musician, and the other is an award-winning chef.Yet, for Marie, she says it took many years before she found her true creative calling. “I was working 60 hours a week in the corporate world,” says Burgos, who spent sixteen years working internationally in the restaurantlaunching and management industry. “I remember waking up one day and realizing that I just wasn’t learning anything anymore, and I certainly wasn’t tapping into my creativity.”


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After completing her degree in interior design, Burgos’ quest for balancing elegance and harmony with tasteful luxury led to further studies and certification in Feng Shui through Master James Jay, an accomplished disciple of Grand Master Lin Yu of Berkley, California. Burgos then earned “Red Ribbon” status membership to the International Feng Shui Guild and Interior Design Society. “It was one of those times in my life where I found myself needing to make so many decisions at one time,” says Burgos, who founded her interiordesign group in 2007. “In those sorts of situations

it’s easy to start feeling cornered. But when things come back to back to back like that, you know that there is a big change coming into your life. When the universe sends you messages through various people and projects, you just know what to do.”

“It’s about creating harmony and balance, which then creates energy. ” Marie Burgos, owner

Top Design Elements of the Zen Living Room

Marie Burgos’ unique approach to interiors is a result of her interior design and feng shui expertise. Her main focus is to invite success and well being into her clients’ lives through the power of placement and the inclusion of natural elements in their homes. “It’s all about feeling beautiful,” says Burgos, also a master of business management graduate of the University of Paris. “My design approach is based on Feng Shui that supports Chinese astrology. It’s about creating harmony and balance, which then creates energy. I also follow a design that supports the Chinese astrology that envelops wood, fire, earth, metal, and water within every space.” One of the acclaimed designer’s recent projects was a Zen space created in the heart of New York City, where Burgos transformed a traditional home into a beautiful architectural open area and created a tropical urban oasis desired by the client to enhance the auspicious flow of energy and to calm and comfort the senses. “When I meet a new client, I focus on what some may call out-of-the-box questions,” Burgos says. “I want to know their habits and where they like to go and what they like to do. I find that most people know what they want, but they just don’t know how to put it together. I focus on helping people express their vision of ideal life, and I create their ideal life through their space.”

1. Momo Low Table from Vastu. “It’s a beautiful wenge-wood finish, which really makes a very chic, exotic statement in the room.” 2. Grace Sofa by Roche Bobois. “This piece reflects the ecofriendly minimalist look—I wanted to create a sense of calm and well-being in the space.” 3. Metro Drum Table from Maria Yee. “This round drum table brings warmth and comfort to the reading space.” 4. Verona Rug by Mat The Basics. “The rug provides comforting texture underfoot in a design that captures and softens dynamic, contemporary lines.” 5. Handcast Concrete Fireplace Surround from Solus Decor. “This piece is the ideal finishing touch for an emphatically modern environment.”

New York / Paris Interior Designer Phone / 917 353 9149 april 2011

luxury home quarterly


AC Design & Development Corp. Aishah Coleman has over 17 years of experience in the design & construction industry. Credentials include; a BA in Architecture and Certification as a Decorator. She guides all of the projects from inception to completion. Her team is dedicated to the clients and provide the knowledge and experience they expect. Our team is skilled at solving complex space and design problems. Allow Aishah Coleman and AC Design & Development Corp. the opportunity to earn your trust and deliver to you the best service in the industry.

GUEST TRAVELERS’ ROOM The penthouse’s guest bedroom features a map and sailboat picture as part of a seaside theme.

Gluckstein Design Top-Notch Service and Elegant Sophistication Merit World-Class Recognition by Sandra Guy

Yet Gluckstein credits his success to essential business characteristics—a huge and obvious passion for design, a lifetime of impressive work, and an interest and appreciation for fiscal responsibility. “I started [the business] with very affluent clients,” he says. “The clients saw that I was mature and

Call us today for a FREE consultation! 34 luxury home quarterly april 2011 p:3475244487 c:3475244487 f:7185155012

accountable about numbers, pricing, fees, and purchases. The clients saw that I was very conscious of that part of the business, which is very unusual in my business. “When people are giving you millions of dollars, they want to know that you are solid, responsible, and interested in making sure that that part of the business is run smoothly and responsibly,” Gluckstein says. “I’ve learned a great deal from my clients as well.” Gluckstein has maintained his elite client base with designs that reflect the clients’ tastes and

Photos: ted yarwood

Brian Gluckstein could be considered the designer to the stars—the stars of finance, the heads of corporate Canada, and the world’s wealthiest families — and his achievements have earned his firm, Gluckstein Design (GD), top-shelf status internationally.


do-suite layouts as well as the design of the public spaces in the buildings. One of the most significant projects for the company is designing the marketing center for the new Four Seasons Hotel and Residences in Toronto— expected to be one of the finest hotels and to include some of the most luxurious condos in the world when finished later this year. The 51-floor modern complex at the corner of Bay Street and Yorkville, one block east of the existing Four Seasons, garners much notice and praise. “We wanted a space that had a contemporary feeling but with references to the past, and which featured the essence of the Four Seasons residences lifestyle,” Gluckstein says. “We designed a space that had a sensibility of the late 1920s and early 1930s Art Deco period to give it a timelessbut-contemporary feel.”

The Palm Beach Penthouse Gluckstein Design isn’t afraid of gutting a condo down to the concrete, and that’s exactly what the Toronto-based firm did to reinvent a Palm Beach, FL, penthouse. The early-1980s-era apartment offered magnificent views of the Atlantic Ocean but otherwise required a complete redo. The firm’s design created an open study, an expanded living/ dining room, and a repositioned kitchen, guest bedroom, and dressing room. Brian Gluckstein, company founder and the project’s designer, was intent on fashioning the look as beachfront contemporary with monochromatic-yet-textured looks that highlight the spectacular ocean views. The penthouse is filled with texture from chenilles, woven textiles, and herringbone linens and cottons.

The space features the luxurious yet subtle details for which GD is known: understated-yet-sophisticated onyx fireplaces, velvet-upholstered walls, high-gloss lacquered paneling, and hand-embroidered wallpaper. Gluckstein has also gained a wide following through his blog, frequent features of his work in magazines, and his 14-year stint as the interior-design and decorating expert on a Canadian TV show. Gluckstein is often called upon to help realestate agents explain design possibilities to potential homebuyers.

priorities and that exhibit the highest aspects of personality, eclecticism, and refined taste while remaining timeless. “The consistent element is a cleanness in design and a limit to pattern,” Gluckstein says, noting that most of his clients own tremendous art collections or enjoy fabulous views that should be the focus of their living spaces. GD has continued to grow not only in reputation but also in workload by riding a wave of wealthy Canadian families buying vacation homes—second, third, and even fourth homes—in Canada and the United States. “Because of our relatively strong economy, strong banks, and our dollar being very high [in value], the trend of Canadians buying condos and mountain-top and beach-front homes has grown significantly in the past three years. The dollar is great, and [US real-estate] prices are lower than they’ve been in many, many years,” Gluckstein says. Affluent families want big, accommodating vacation homes. “The sense of luxury has grown,” Gluckstein says. “Families want space for their children and

grandchildren, and they want to entertain more guests. It has become more extravagant.” Families also expect the latest technologies, ranging from heated floors to sophisticated lighting controls to high-end audio/visual systems, remotecontrolled window coverings, and televisions that illuminate from behind bathroom mirrors. Gluckstein enjoys a relationship of implicit trust with his clients, even to the point of attending auctions to purchase period pieces and scouting out potential home sites. “They trust that I am out for their best interests and that I understand who they are as individuals,” Gluckstein says. “As opposed to designing a pretty space, we adapt our spaces to our clients. I know everything about their lifestyles, about who they are as individuals, about their families, and their relationships with their families. We design from there.” Though 80 percent of GD’s work is high-end residential, about 15 percent consists of designing luxury model homes and condo marketing centers for developers. GD often handles hotel- and con-

“When a potential buyer sees a house and it’s not quite right, the agents want my guidance to help the purchases. I’ll advise, ‘We can adjust that, change that, move this,” and then answer their questions. The client wants to know, ‘Can it work or can’t it?’ They don’t want to waste time or money.” Gluckstein says his clients quickly become familiar with his best assets: His passion for the work and his quality “as someone who is always pushing the limits of design and creating spaces that are extremely sophisticated but livable.”

a message from Cynthia Findlay Antiques Exceptional quality, unparalleled selection, and fabulous service describes Cynthia Findlay Antiques, established in 1978. Known internationally, Cynthia Findlay’s world-class collections are housed in 6000 square-feet of awe-inspiring, unique decorative objects, antiques and fine jewelry. Cynthia Findlay Antiques is also the favorite destination of many interior decorators, including Gluckstein Design. View a selection of our wonderful collections online, cynthiafindlay. com. Cynthia Findlay Antiques is an unprecedented shopping experience!

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Venetian Plaster Decorative Painting Stenciling Painted Floors Gilding


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p: 416.260.9057

Lillian Heard Studio 917.690.1221


15 Central Park West Baron recently finished a complete remodel of this apartment, located at a prestigious Manhattan address. The foyer (pictured) showcases decorative paint treatments by Lillian Heard Decorative Painting (

Robin Baron Design Inc. FROM FASHION STYLING TO INTERIOR DESIGN by Frederick Jerant

Photo: Philip Flicks

“I’ve spent most of my life as a style maven,” says Robin Baron, president of Robin Baron Design (RBD). “I began as a fashion designer, but my real passion was dealing in antiques. That inspired some of my clients to consult me about their interiordesign needs.” Those projects eventually became the focus of Baron’s business. The transition to full-time interior designer was seamless, she says, and her company now specializes in high-end residential projects along the Eastern Seaboard. “Every job begins and ends with the client,” Baron says. “I set out each time with a clean

palette. I want to keep things fresh and new with no preconceived notions.” That’s why she keeps no fabric or trim library in her office. It’s a technique that her staff of five finds both fun and challenging. “It’s all about the client,” she says. “I want the home to truly reflect them.” Typically, Baron accompanies her clients when they visit her design resources. “I like to watch their visceral reactions,” Baron says. “What they don’t say is often as important as what they do say. It helps me understand what might appeal to them and what might not. Part of my job is like lifestyle coaching. I

help my clients arrive at the best view of themselves and find a different way of looking at life. Basically, I want to empower them through the choices they make,” she says. Many of Baron’s clients express environmental concerns. “They may not want to go 100 percent green, but they still want eco-conscious options,” she says. Baron addresses those concerns in several ways: easily renewable and responsibly harvested wood, recyclable products, organically produced fabrics, and repurposed materials whenever possible. Baron attributes part of her success to repeat business: many of her clients have second and third homes. But her long, solid associations with her vendors are equally important. “I really appreciate who they are and what they do for me,” she says. Recently, Baron completed a total renovation of an apartment at 15 Central Park W. in New York. That building, designed by Robert A. M. Stern, is one of

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GEOMETRIC GUEST-BEDROOM WALL The only living area to not have a painted wall, the apartment’s guest bedroom is adorned with geometric wallpaper that offers the appearance of woven strips of wood.

“Part of my job is like lifestyle coaching. I help my clients arrive at the best view of themselves and find a different way of looking at life.” Robin Baron, president

MASTER BATH The apartment’s master bath features glass mosaic tiles and mirrored inlays to create a vine pattern.


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The walls are adorned with custom decorative paint treatments by Lillian Heard Decorative Painting, and custom-made wenge-wood doors feature burnished stainless-steel accent strips. In the master bath, glass mosaic tiles and mirrored inlays create an intricate vine pattern along the walls. The vanity continues that theme and features white-onyx countertops and a vessel sink. The kitchen utilizes custom SieMatic cabinetry by Bilotta Kitchens throughout and is complemented by unique onyx countertops and a bronze/ glass backsplash.

The foyer’s original wood flooring was replaced with carefully cut marble in three colors and precisely inlaid bronze circles to form an arabesque pattern, which was fabricated by Artistic Tile. The guest bath’s taupe limestone floor has bronze inlays for visual interest and features a 4-inchthick custom limestone sink with a sharply angled, grooved back panel. The guest bedroom includes the only wall in the apartment not done up with decorative paint. It’s covered with geometric wallpaper that is reminiscent of woven wood strips. “If there’s a consistent thread in what I do, it’s that I like to mix things up,” Baron says. “I never want my work to look as if I used just one look from one showroom. It keeps me creative and inspired and makes every job interesting.

Photos: Philip Flicks

Manhattan’s most prestigious residential addresses. “It’s a new building, but these tenants wanted a major upgrade from the original furnishings and appointments,” she says. “Everything I used was custom designed and custom made.”


Joseph Stabilito Designs Integrating an Artistic Vision with client demands by Ben Corbett “Automatically when I walk into a space, ideas in my head start to go together, and right away I see visions of different things I would do,” Joseph Stabilito says. “But I don’t try to impose my vision. I always want to hear the client’s input. It’s a backand-forth process—an integration. I’m not living there; they are, and it has to work for them.” With one foot planted in interior design and the other in fine arts, Stabilito has spent the past thirty years cultivating an eye for detail and a reputation for excellence. Since going independent five years ago, he has grown his firm—Joseph Stabilito Designs—into a force to be reckoned with on the New York scene. Infusing a client’s desires with his own creative prowess, Stabilito’s work sings

with authenticity and originality, and he attributes much of his success as a designer to his longtime career as an abstract painter. “They’re equally important to me” he says of design and making art. “They’re intertwined. I’m constantly informing one with the other—meaning my interiors are informed by my painting and vice versa. Color is a big part of it. I have a very good sense of color because of my painting background.” Color was everything at the condo project on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, and he achieved a range of counterpoints throughout this twobedroom apartment by selecting diverse fabrics and materials. For instance, the cherry bar with

COZY-CHIC NYC APARTMENT Open on one side to the kitchen and dining area and on the other side to an impressive view of the Hudson River with Manhattan in the distance, this living area features a chic-yet-cozy design. The four chairs are from Donghia ( and are upholstered in whiskey-colored mohair from Pollack Associates ( Both the entertainment unit against the back wall and the ottoman (covered in natural cowhide) were custom designed by Joseph Stabilito. The three tiers in the glass cocktail table made by Maurice Villency (mauricevillency. com), can swivel around.

glass shelves offsets the social area with its large central table surrounded by custom-made mohair chairs. The client, a Connecticut resident, bought the condo as a place to stay and entertain guests during city stopovers. “On this project, everything was high-end,” Stabilito says. “They wanted something fresh and con-

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“I don’t try to impose my vision. I always want to hear the client’s input. It’s a back-and-forth process— an integration.” Joseph Stabilito, founder temporary, very different from their traditional home. It was very cohesive. We went with this cognac-whiskey color that I liked. My approach was to give them a high sense of luxury and comfort. It was very successful.” On another recently completed project—a farmhouse renovation and addition in rural Pennsylvania—the client bought the property with the idea of creating a family retreat. The challenge for Stabilito was to come up with a contemporary design that retained the home’s traditional aesthetic. “The client and I had many, many discussions,” Stabilito says. “He wanted to keep the spirit of the original house intact, and he was very careful about scale. He didn’t want to wind up with an oversized, overinflated mansion that would have been out of character with the area, but he definitely wanted more space.” Highlights of the project include three outbuildings—a poolside spa, potting shed, and garage— all connected by an underground hallway system for convenience during bad weather. Especially noteworthy is the stone fireplace, which serves as the centerpiece of the first level.

As for the types of woods used in the project: “There was no theme,” Stabilito says. “I used lots of different woods. I don’t choose any one wood throughout for any project, and sometimes, instead of wood, I’ll use metals and glass. I like to mix and match a bit, and I think it’s very important because your eye settles on fabrics and materials in different ways. They pick up light in different ways, so I like to have a combination of things.”


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A.W. Design, Inc. Designing for each client’s lifestyle by Ben Corbett If you pore through Anne Wait’s portfolio, there’s a distinct grace to her work—an inviting polish of comfort and spatial ease that sets her apart from her peers in home design. Unlike some designers, who force their own stamp onto a home’s décor, Wait’s style is more about coaxing out and developing a space with the client’s own personality. She’s a natural at it—people enjoy working with her, and A.W. Design’s customer retention speaks for itself.

“I don’t have a certain style that I work in,” says the Atlanta native, the hint of a warm southern accent basting her words. “The main thing is the client’s wishes. Lifestyle is very important. Also, some of the homes are a little more traditional, some are contemporary, so you have to go with the architecture as well.” A graduate of UCLA’s Environmental Arts program, Wait plunged into her passion 30 years ago, keep-

Photos: Strotz Photography

“It’s a two-sided fireplace using the same stone as the original,” Stabilito says. “One side faces the entry, and if you look through the hearth, you can actually see the living room. The client wanted it to look modern and yet respect the rustic quality of the original house—such as the stone wall and the rough floor that leads from the entrance going into the kitchen. But it definitely had to breathe and feel contemporary.”

LAKE LODGE FOYER The welcoming foyer in this Lake Tahoe home opens into the living room, which features a dramatic vaulted wood ceiling and tall bay window. The foyer’s walls do not touch the ceiling to accentuate the rise in height. On the ceiling are two custom-made iron chandeliers by Hammerton Lighting (


Top Design Elements for the Lake Tahoe Home • Leather-top coffee table, designed by A.W. Design ( and made by Gary Monselle upholstery; •S ofas by Burton James (; • I ron light fixtures in the kitchen and dining area from Studio Metz (, A. Rudin (, and Dana Creath Designs (; • Rugs by Michaelian & Kohlberg ( and Kravet (

SIERRA NEVADA LIVING The living room showcases a massive stone fireplace surrounded by deep couches. Colors from the stone are complemented by the furnishings and reminiscent of the fall colors at Lake Tahoe.

ing mostly on the residential side of design in the Los Angeles area but straying off occasionally to do commercial work, including restaurants and offices. A longtime member of the American Society of Interior Designers, she says the secret to successful design is comparable to good detective work. “I find most people have a general sense of what kind of feeling they like, and they’ll give me some clues: ‘I like eclectic. I like some antiques. I like an Asian feel. I want it to be super traditional. I love oriental rugs.’ So then it’s up to me to narrow it down. Working with people over the years, I get an idea of what they like.” A great example is one of her latest projects, a stunning new custom home in Incline Village at Lake Tahoe. The original plan was a complete redesign and renovation of an existing house on a half-acre lot. After some consideration, though, the client decided to tear it down and start fresh. Wait had already designed two other homes for this client in past years, so she had a pretty good sense of the family’s tastes and desires. “They wanted a sophisticated mountain look,” Wait says. “It was purely designed with their lifestyle in mind. In their other house they had loved this certain stone flooring, and they wanted it again; that set the tone for the whole color palette—sort of autumn colors, greens, and rusts and butterscotch. And the client knew she wanted a black island in the kitchen. So we went with those few elements and just expanded upon them.”

A short walk to the lake, tucked amid a towering stand of spruce and fir, the new home is a captivating piece of architecture. Downstairs, the kitchen/ dining/living area opens into a master suite that features an office, bedroom, full bath, and closet. On the opposite side of the kitchen area, a staircase opens onto a second-floor living/play area for visiting family and children. Four upstairs bedrooms provide an abundance of guest space, each with a bath and two with small loft beds. “There was a little bit of tile in some of the upstairs bathrooms, but for the rest of it they wanted stones and natural materials,” Wait says. “In the kitchen we chose a granite that’s just gorgeous,and the backsplash is this really pretty amber glass tile. It’s a simple look, but it’s just very pretty.” With vaulted ceilings staged at different elevations over the central living areas, the home provides a wide-open Western retreat, perfect for the Sierra Nevadas mountain setting. Meanwhile, finished in a natural knotty alder wood, the matching ceilings and trim pull the entire scheme together, contrasting with the dark-hued slate and hardwood floors to create a truly provocative ambiance. “The color and the lifestyle set the whole tone for this project,” Wait says. “These people really wanted it to be a special home. I don’t try to do the ‘Anne Wait look’ necessarily. I like to make each project as unique as I can.”

“The color and the lifestyle set the whole tone for this project. These people really wanted it to be a special home.” Anne Wait, designer

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MASCULINE ELEGANCE In his 535 West End Avenue project, horizonal stripes are Lönn’s signature look—these dramatic drapes are made of fabric by Romo ( The chocolate-brown ponyhair rug creates a unique texture on the floor, and burnt-orange pillows in a floral pattern from the Ankasa home collection ( add a fresh of color. luxury home quarterly 42 punch

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535 West End Avenue This guest bedroom is soft and cozy with feminine-chic details. Dusty-rose silk window treatments and sheers create an intimate environment. Tone-on-tone cream and ivory bedding by Frette Fine Linens ( features a slightly textured floral pattern. Black-and-white framed prints bring a harmonious sense of balance and incorporate a presence of nature into the room.

Patrik Lönn Design Inc. Although Patrik Lönn, founder and principal of Patrik Lönn Design, grew up in historic Linkoping, Sweden, his design sensibility has been equally influenced by the more sophisticated environment of Stockholm and international trips that began at a young age. “I started visiting Stockholm at seven years old, and I was intrigued by the city’s international flair and all it had to offer,” Lönn says. text by Sandra Guy Photos by Carrie Gensler

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“I work really hard at being a principal owner who conveys a strong brand and a strong look. I consider my style international.” patrik lönn, founder

225 West 86th Street Dining Room This dining space features silk window treatments on brass hardware from Morgik Metal Designs (morgik. com), a Patrik Lönn-designed endgrain pedestal, and a parchmentand-brass chandelier from Roman Thomas (


nother early influence was Patrik Lönn’s high-school role as student-body president, in which he made it a priority to improve the break rooms and study rooms where students sought relaxation. His efforts included obtaining local firms’ donations of paint and design services to brighten the students’ educational spaces.

Lönn pursued his passion by studying art history at Stockholm University while working full time for local interior-design firms. He then completed his undergraduate education in the United States and obtained a bachelor’s degree in interior design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in 1996. He found immediate career opportunities in New York and worked briefly for Peter Marino Architects, the award-winning international firm known for its upscale retail and residential designs including boutiques for Chanel and Dior. Marino turned out to be one of the inspirations for Lönn’s entrepreneurial ambitions, as did Randall Ridless, the former Saks Fifth Avenue vice president of store planning. Lönn worked for the interior-design firm TSR and came to know Ridless as a client. “Randy Ridless and Peter Marino conducted the design process in an intellectual way, following it from research to implementation,” Lönn says. “Their taste levels are outstanding.”


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Lönn then earned a master’s degree in design management at the Pratt Institute in 2001 while working at TSR and Ralph Lauren. He gained experience in store planning and design while working for Ralph Lauren and enjoyed equally valuable experience as a creative director for a small firm before deciding to fulfill his lifelong dream of opening his own studio, which he did in 2007. The firm has grown consistently despite the recession thanks to a loyal clientele and Lönn’s passion for making a difference in people’s lives through design. A sure sign of Lönn’s success came when the sister of one of his clients rushed up to him at a party, gripped his hand, and told him that he had invigorated her sister’s life by reinventing the woman’s apartment. The project, a 5,000-square-foot space at Park Avenue and 77th Street in New York City, involved reinventing a dark space and turning it into a light, airy, and modern apartment accented by clean, crisp design colors that showed off an impressive collection of artwork. “The beauty of this work is that you can change people’s environment and improve their living conditions,” Lönn says. Lönn describes his aesthetic as blonde and bright, crisp and understated. This minimal yet functional philosophy allows for an elegant look that reflects Lönn’s Scandinavian heritage as well as his global travels. “I work really hard at

The Sag Harbor Hamptons Study This intimate home office features custom wallpaper in overlapping textured cream parchment by Elizabeth Dow (; the room’s focal point falls on the nine-foot print by Michele Oka Doner (; the iron pendant lamp with a parchment shade creates an intimate setting; and the Swedish vintage rug from FJ Hakimian ( adds softness to the space.

being a principal owner that strongly verbalizes the company’s brand and design standards to staff and clients,” he says. “I consider my style international.” Lönn has found success designing model apartments for real-estate developers, as well. Two of his latest ventures are 535 West End Ave. in New York City and a den and library for the prestigious Hampton Designer Show House benefiting Southampton Hospital. The 535 West End project highlighted blonde, crème, and monochromatic lines set off by fabulous artwork, straightforward window treatments, and a focus on mid-century furniture by Jean Michel Frank along with neoclassical Russian and Scandinavian antiques. The result is an elegant and timeless interior. The combined den and library at the Hampton Designer Show House also exemplifies Lönn’s love of a creamy, monochromatic color scheme accented with oak furniture in varying hues and finishes. The setting showed off contemporary art, photography, and sculpture. Lönn worked with the Jayne Baum Gallery and Stephen Haller Gallery to bring in a variety of artwork to anchor the space. “We introduced some Scandinavian vintage textiles, including several from HJ Hakimien, Danish pottery, bookcases, and other design elements—all inspired by the Hamptons beaches,” Lönn says. “All of the materials had characteristics of the beaches’ dryness, such as natural textiles with dry textures and linens, natural oak, and waxed oak furniture with similar characteristics.” Looking forward to future projects, Lönn’s long-term goal is to build his company’s brand by creating his own line of custom furniture and lighting as well as other signature home designs.

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Unique handmade NAUTIC lighting exclusively at CIRCA ANTIQUES CIRCA ANTIQUES 11 Riverside Avenue - Westport, CT 06880 phone: 203.222.8642 46

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designer showcase

SAVAGE PROJECT Paula + Martha custom designed several pieces in this room. The L-shaped sofa, inspired by Damien Hirst and fabricated by Houston Upholstery, features a silk-screened fabric by Izquierdo Studio ( The two-way mirrored box, which serves as a full-length mirror and also allows viewing of multiple TVs at once, was fabricated by Softline International, Inc. (

Paula + Martha, LLC Art made accessible. Controlled explosions of color. Luxury spun from rudimentary materials. Interiors designed by Paula + Martha, LLC are simple and elegant with a touch of the unexpected. “Both Martha and I are painters at heart and bring a fine-arts approach to our design by combining contemporary art with a tailored and eclectic mix of furniture,” says Paula Caravelli, principal partner of Paula + Martha. text by Ruth E. Dávila photos by Phillip Ennis

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The Flaum Residence In this space, classic, elegant design meets durability with a personalized touch. These Louis XIV chairs (, upholstered in chic and durable Knoll vinyl (knolltextiles. com), feature custom-embroidered images of the owner’s Yorkie ( The lacquered waterfall table, which functions as both a desk and dining table, was custom-designed by Paula + Martha and fabricated by Park Avenue Interiors ( The custom silver-metallic and fuchsiasilk paisley carpet (edwardfields. com) fills the space with vivid color and pattern.


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“Both Martha and I are painters at heart and bring a fine-arts approach to our design by combining contemporary art with a tailored and eclectic mix of furniture.” paula caravelli, principal

designer showcase

PRECIOUS POOCH This Jeff Koons sculpture ( stands proudly upon a custom pedestal of reclaimed oak flooring.

The 2009 Kips Bay Show House Office Angled, elegant antiques energize this home office while encouraging a thoughtful meandering through the small space. This 1940s power desk stands in front of a striking photo collage. A beautifully worn antique settee graces the corner, juxtaposed by a Warhol-inspired flower sculpture and vintage orange floor lamp. Burlap is treated as a fine fabric, trimmed and lined with orange Knoll wool felt ( and pinned with a decorative rosette from John Norwood Antiques (


The overall effect opened up Savage’s pied-á-terre immensely. Caravelli fought clutter with hidden storage compartments. An antique Belgian bookcase at one end of the space holds white lacquer and fuscia fabric-wrapped boxes to store Savage’s home/office supplies. aula Caravelli met her design colleague, Martha Angus, decades ago when the two were working for The Walker Group, a New York agency specializing in cutting-edge store design. Later, at Naomi Leff and Associates, Caravelli and Angus collaborated on retail concepts for Ralph Lauren, Giorgio Armani, and the Lauder family.

When Caravelli and Angus branched out independently to do residential design, they were frequently involved in each other’s projects. The two friends became known as a dual force, which is why Caravelli, who is based in New York, chose the name Paula + Martha for her venture in 2005. Angus, who lives in San Francisco and runs her own eponymous firm, contributes to Paula + Martha’s designs. Their bicoastal setup facilitates projects across the country. No challenge is too big—or too small—for Paula + Martha. Actress and country singer Dorothy Savage’s chic Manhattan apartment presented the consummate New York predicament: a compact space, at 500 square feet, for living, working, and entertaining.

“We refused to sacrifice glamour and good design for the sake of function,” Caravelli says. She covered the floor with a fuchsia-silk and silver-metallic thread carpet, what she calls “the most striking element in the space, with its oversize paisley pattern.” Caravelli designed an L-shaped sofa that seats up to six people. A few standout pieces—like custom taffeta drapes, the fuchsia silk carpet, a cashmere throw, and scented candles—add softness and beauty without overpowering the space. For the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club in 2009, Paula + Martha created a dynamic yet intimate executive office. “In keeping with the child-friendly message of the space and to create the element of surprise, there are fun accessories throughout the room including a Warhol Brillo box and a Jeff Koons puppy dog juxtaposed against the antique furniture,” Caravelli says.

Caravelli started with sharp editing, rooted in the idea that every piece of furniture would serve multiple uses. “A corner sofa would become a bed, the desk would second as a dining table, and a mirrored wall sculpture would conceal three TVs that also function as video art.”

Using contact paper, she clad the walls with a collage of Kips Bay kids. Positive slogans from the teens such as “Success is an attitude” served as the room’s foundation. Every design choice hummed with an underlying meaning. “Simple materials like burlap represent humble beginnings, but the beautiful applications and detailing illustrate opportunity and possibility,” Caravelli says.

Marking the entry is a “floating art wall,” which cleverly conceals a storage closet while eliminating the need for a closet door. Opposite, in a small niche, a floor-to-ceiling mirrored wall reflects photography by Jeong Mee Yoon.

It was a green room as well, using eco-friendly elements such as reclaimed oak flooring, low-VOC paint, Sisal carpet, and (borrowed) vintage and antique furniture. “My favorite part of the project was the feeling of being part of

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something bigger,” she says. “It was the opportunity to illustrate this mission to the public through interior design.” In San Francisco, Paula’s sister company, Martha Angus, Inc., put a fresh green spin on a teenage boy’s room. “We really tried to not purchase any new items and use pieces that we already had—or that we borrowed,” Angus says. Local vendors, such as coup d’etat, Epoca, Jonathan Adler, Ralph Lauren, and Frankel Gallery, contributed key pieces to the design. Angus set out to instill a mood of having the impossible at one’s fingertips. “The concept behind the room was to create a fun, vibrant space that would really offer a sense of creativity and inspiration for a growing, adventurous mind.”

The ‘Modern by Design’ Show Home The 2010 Metropolitan Home’s show home is a historic, 7,700-square-foot house in the heart of the exclusive Pacific Heights neighborhood in San Francisco. The classic Campaign daybed ( used in the boys’ bedroom is adorned with throw pillows and bed linens from Ralph Lauren ( and Jonathan Adler (jonathanadler. com). The silver Parson’s desk from West Elm ( features accessories from Jonathan Adler and a classic Knoll chair. The vibrant red bathroom shows off a custom-made “thought bubble” mirror.

Drawing on abstract shapes and bold colors for energy, Angus hung black-andwhite-striped wallpaper horizontally, set off by a pop of red from the painted bathroom walls. The outcome was young and zestful yet not attached to a specific place and time. Still, it was the little quirks that made the room come together. “The custom cartoon ‘thought bubble’ mirror made out of plexiglass in the bathroom has to be the part that we love the most,” Angus says. It’s the little things, such as Paula + Martha’s use of unconventional materials and quirky design details, that sets the company apart. “The bottom line is that good design does not necessarily require pedigree,” Caravelli says. But it does require ingenuity—and that’s Paula + Martha’s forte.


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“The bottom line is that good design does not necessarily require pedigree.” paula caravelli, principal

FIT FOR A QUEEN Pink stripes and a vintage chandelier accent Savage’s modern bathroom, creating a sophisticated, regal experience.

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Cooper, Robertson & Partners Architecture, LLP

lukko table metal artistry at its ďŹ nest

unparalelled craftsmanship and design

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PALM BEACH The foyer of this 1920s manse in Florida has a vintage crystal chandelier from the Waldorf Ballroom ( Serving as the focal point of the space is a custom seat covered in Christopher Hyland Inc. fabric (christopherhyland. com). The unique prints are pieces from Andy Warhol’s “Queens” series.

De La Torre Design “I have a rather young clientele that hold quite traditional ideals but want to bridge those ideals with a more custom and comfortable look,” says Ernest de la Torre, who has done custom interior-design work everywhere from New York City to Montecito, California. “I love working with French 1920s features that have a timeless modern appeal to them for a base, but [I also] enjoy an eclectic mix from other periods.” by Tricia Despres

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BURST OF SUNSHINE This master sitting room features a bright morning burst of yellow silk ( tempered by grey flannel walls (, a Maison Jansen daybed (, a Tommi Parzinger cabinet (, Royere chairs from Paris, and an Andre Arbus rug.


“My dad is a psychiatrist, and interior design is one tick away from his profession.” ernest de la torre

or example, I would be one to pair a deep feather-cushion sofa with an Yves Klein Gold Leaf coffee table. I try to make each project unique. I don’t do a look that my clients will see over and over again, which ultimately bores me,” de la Torre says.

On September 10, 2001, de la Torre was living a comfortable, secure life. A graduate of Sotheby’s distinguished masters in decorative arts program, he had secured his dream job working at Ralph Lauren designing furnishings and textiles.

On September 11, 2001, his life and the lives of millions of others were changed forever. “I knew of 10 to 15 people who were up in those towers through clients,” de la Torre says. “I decided it was time to get on with my life in the wake of so many people having their lives cut short.” After a brief stint in real estate and five years working at IBM, the Lake Forest, Illinois, native knew he had a gift that wasn’t being fully utilized when


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his coworkers would request that he come over to do interior-design work in their own homes. These days, the long list of private clients served by his own design firm, De La Torre Design, thrives on the owner’s unique sensibilities in interior architecture. “Super-lush chenilles that I have hand loomed are a must, and while everyone complains about the wait, they are silenced when they sit down into it,” de la Torre says. “Most projects have me develop the interior architecture which can then tie to the custom pieces.” De la Torre says that that not only is he seeing an increase in the popularity of metallics, especially among ladies, but also tailored comfort. De la Torre’s got the opportunity to showcase his talents during a recent project in SoHo featuring custom-made furniture and gathering lighting textiles from all over the world. The three-story penthouse loft had as much outdoor space as interior square footage, and the client was open to any and all of de la Torre’s inspirations. “I think it came together wonderfully,” de la Torre says. “I

designer showcase WINE CELLAR The home includes an octagonal wine cellar with a flag-stone floor and cork ceiling, light fixtures by Circa Lighting (circalighting. com), and a vintage ladder from a Parisian flea market.

Tuxedo Park In this 17-bedroom manse, the dining room makes a grand statement. The walls are covered in Brunschwig & Fils silk ( that was custom stenciled with a design inspired by the vintage William Morris drapes. The table is by Dunbar and works well with the 18th-century Belgian chairs ( and the chandelier by Herve van der Straaten ( Out of an unused area in the root cellar, De La Torre fabricated a gym using old windows from a Paris flea market and reglazed them with a mirror finish. This office, designed for the man of the house, features a vintage Regency sofa from London, a reclaimed Louis Vuitton trunk as a coffee table, and a regency chair from a London flea market that’s been re-upholstered with TylerGraphic linen ( The bronze chandelier, circa 1900, once hung in the chancellor’s office in Dresden, Germany, and De La Torre added the custom shade. The fur rug on the floor was repurposed from an old carriage blanket, and the wool carpet is from Patterson, Flynn & Martin (

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was able to create modern comfort using an updated Japanese idiom, although anyone walking into the space wouldn’t sense anything more than peaceful, hip warmth for the young bachelor client.” Of course, de la Torre admits that his company has changed along with most other businesses during the recent economic turmoil. “During the actual crash of ‘08, I was working with people who literally lost all of their lifetime savings, and the billionaires took a sabbatical as the Madoff debacle made everyone feel uncertain” de la Torre says. “I find the people I work with now desire very detailed budgets more than ever and want to know what the bottom line is going to be, from the rugs right down to the towels. I definitely have had to put back on my accounting hat from business school.” These days, he has to wear not only an accounting hat but a psychology hat as well. “My Dad is a psychiatrist, and interior design is one tick away from his profession,” he says. “A client might say they want one thing when what they mean is that they want that feeling, color, or shape.You have to be able to read between the lines.” Often, this means that de la Torre is spending lots of time with clients before the project even begins by joining them on various shopping trips to Hermes and other stores and by observing their day-to-day routine. “Sometimes seeing just how they dress and the patterns and textiles they are drawn to is enough to suggest a design direction,” de la Torre says. “Following them through Hermes is a little dangerous, though. You never leave empty handed.”


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The London Townhouse The circa-1830 Adam-style revival interior provides a juxtaposition to the classic French Art Deco furnishings and museum-quality art throughout the home. The dining room has grand proportions, a custom-made dining table and set of chairs from De La Torre, and a Fernand Leger (circa 1931) situated prominently over a Jean-Michel Frank console. In the living room is another set of custom furniture by De La Torre—leather-covered chairs (, a silk sofa, and custom curtains by Rogers & Goffigon. An Andre Groult drum table is in the foreground ( Over the fireplace is Picasso’s Tête de Femme (circa 1920), and a Jean Dunand screen is displayed in the window. The Belgian linen rug is by Patterson, Flynn & Martin ( And on the wall is a Jean Dubuffet flanked by a Henry Moore sculpture (

Lavish Livability

boka creates TAILOR-MADE VACATION HOMES that are as functional as they are opulent text by Dave Hudnall Photos by Liz Ordonez

MADE IN MIAMI BOKa designed this “traditional� home in Miami, FL, with functional elegance in mind. The bar just off the main living space features custom storage and a full-service area with a sink and small refrigerator, perfect for preparing drinks for guests. april 2011

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acation homes represent different things to different people. Brian O’Keefe, the principal and namesake of BOKa, stresses that understanding a client’s needs for how the home should function is an essential element of his work; something he always strongly considers before embarking on designing a home. “I always approach projects as a collaborative effort between the client, myself, the contractors, designers, and landscapers,” he says. “One of my primary responsibilities is to help the client achieve an aesthetic and carry it out. It’s often a delicate balance of guiding, listening, and sometimes dictating the design style.”

O’Keefe’s technique follows a checklist. “If it’s a new client, we drill them with questions right at the beginning to get a sense of their vision and their understanding of their needs for the home,” he says. “‘How do you plan to use the home? Will you be entertaining, and, if so, to what extent?’ It helps us achieve our goal, which is to give our clients what they want. Surpassing their expectations gives us a real sense of satisfaction.” O’Keefe, a Mississippi State University graduate who first worked for Ken Tate Architects in Jackson, Mississippi, migrated to New York City in 1991 to work for Peter Marino. Following that experience and a yearlong stint with Alexander Gorlin Architects, he founded BOKa. The firm started out with three employees and has grown steadily. Its roots lie in traditional,


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high-end residential architecture, though its portfolio now also includes a number of recent contemporary designs. “Up until a few years ago, we were predominantly doing classical and traditional design because that’s what our clients wanted—Shingle-style in the Hamptons, Georgian homes in the South, or other eclectic styles,” O’Keefe says. “Right now we have a modern home under construction and designs for an equestrian compound in a contemporary timber style—a mix of wood, steel, glass, and concrete—in progress. We’ve expanded our aesthetic because we’ve received more requests for modern homes.” “Traditional” aptly describes O’Keefe’s style of work on a recent, near-gut renovation of an Upper East Side town house. The six-story, 25-foot-wide structure was originally a family residence, but over the years it had changed hands and been chopped up, eventually becoming a commercial building. In the process it lost many of its moldings and Old World-style details. O’Keefe’s clients, the new owners, sought an up-to-date family residence with a design that would restore the building’s former grandeur. A historian was hired to do research and search archives for photographs of the house, which revealed the fact that the room adjacent to the formal entry hall was once the library. “It was the man’s room, with game heads on the walls and bookcases,” he says. “So we honored that by converting it back into a library/reception room for the husband by adding dark, stained mahogany paneling and bookcases finished in authentic, handmade French polish.”

CUSTOM DETAILS The home’s billiard room and “his” master bath are both elegant and detail-oriented, featuring custom flooring and stonework.

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A WOMAN’S TOUCH The “hers” master closet is a serene space, featuring powder-blue textiles and custom-designed storage for every elegant gown.


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lavish livability

“Our New York clientele have their city places here, their weekend getaways in the Hamptons, and winter retreats in Palm Beach or Miami. We’re equipped to go anywhere our clients need us.” Brian O’Keefe, Owner

LUXURY IN MIAMI Brian O’Keefe was hired as the interior architect to design all of the architectural mouldings, paneling, and finishes for this house in Miami, FL, while the interior design was done by Marjorie Shushan, Inc. ( The interior architectural style takes its cues from the exterior as a tropical-classical design. The firm designed very grand-looking rooms for the formal spaces and a variety of casual rooms for the less-formal spaces. This was done by custom-tailoring the mouldings, paneling, materials, and finishes in each space. However, consistent throughout the house is a sense of everyday livability and comfort.

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GRAND ENTRANCE The home’s entry and kitchen both exude that same luxury that flows throughout each custom-designed room.


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Bringing one of New York’s finest builders,

D. Reis Contracting, together with one of the countries top millworkers, D. Reis Furniture.

Construction at its Finest On time. Every time.

Located at: 327 Sagamore Ave. Mineola, NY 11501

516.248.5676 F: 516.746.5223 T:

305 Madison Ave., NY, NY 10165 212.599.2100

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WORKING DOUBLE-TIME The home office features intricate wooden moulding, and the shelves and twosided desk offer a comfy side-by-side workspace.

“One of my primary responsibilities is to help the client achieve an aesthetic and carry it out. It’s often a delicate balance of guiding, listening, and sometimes dictating the design style.” Brian O’Keefe, Owner O’Keefe’s firm doesn’t work with interior furnishings but will work closely with designers and clients to choose fixtures, stones, and finishes. “I’ll set the architectural style of the shell of the house and carry it through to the interior architectural detailing,” he says. For example, on a recent Miami home, BOKa was brought in for the architectural interiors of a project that’s shell was designed by another firm. “For my part, it was like doing an interior renovation but for a brand new house,” O’Keefe says. “The client desired a classical, tropical residence, which was represented already in the shell of the house. So, in the formal living room, we installed an elaborate coffered walnut-stained ceiling similar to that of an Italian palazzo, and we designed baseboards, door casings, and a custom fireplace mantel, all made of tropical coral stone. The effect is visually stunning but achieves an everyday livability.” O’Keefe has designed homes in locations as varied as Palm Beach, Florida; Nashville, Tennessee; and Birmingham, Alabama; but the New York area (including Greenwich and the Hamptons) is where many of his designs are brought to life. BOKa has worked on three large homes and an apartment in New York over the past year. “Our New York clientele have their city places here, their weekend getaways in the Hamptons, and winter retreats in Palm Beach or Miami,” O’Keefe says. “We’re equipped to go anywhere our clients need us.”


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A MESSAGE FROM Pro Design New York Pro Design, Inc is a reputable, time honored supplier, fabricator, and installation contractor for the natural-stone and tile industries. Our distinguished customers are pleased with our “one stop” type of service, for all of their natural-stone needs: selection, creative design, shop drawings, fabrication, and custom installation, in a chic corporate setting. Our “high end” NYC clientele includes influential designers, celebrated architectural firms, and prominent management agents who have been celebrated and featured in architectural exhibits and leading publications through the years. At Pro Design, we offer inspired craftsmanship and old-fashioned quality while utilizing the latest most up-to-date, modern technologies. Our defined method and technique for realizing exact specifications has been unmatched in our field. Our specialties include all marbles, limestone, travertine, dimensional and exotic stone, hand-crafted ceramic, porcelain, glass and metal tiles, as well as custom mosaics. Pro Design, Inc is America’s exclusive importer for the distinguished “Ilire Collection”

Brandon Thompson H O M E R E S T O R AT I O N S 104 Central Avenue Terrytown, NY (571) 276-5463

Custom Stoneworks

Supply • Fabrication • Installation 23-2148th Street, Astoria, NY 11103 (718) 274-4444 | april 2011

luxury home quarterly


DESIGN ON DISPLAY In the heart of the most exclusive neighborhood in Southern California, Finton Construction has created a sprawling Bel Air estate that showcases a stunning art collection. TEXT BY JULIE EDWARDS PHOTOS BY ART GRAY


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A RICH HISTORY Built in the 1950s, the home was originally designed by A. Quincy Jones, a renowned Los Angeles-based architect and educator known for innovative designs in the modernist style. An avid art collector, the home’s new owner hired architect Frederick Fisher, a student of A. Quincy Jones, to modernize and renovate the home while maintaining the integrity of the original design. The owner also wanted to transform the adjacent lot he purchased to incorporate a guesthouse, tennis court, and vineyard. Finton Construction led the 18-monthlong renovation, reconfiguring the internal spaces and updating the finishes. The end result maximizes the home’s views—which overlook the Getty Center and sweep to the ocean—while providing a fitting backdrop to the owner’s impressive art display.

TEXT by Julie Edwards Photos by ??????? april 2011

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design on display


y building dream homes for elite buyers in Southern California and around the world, Finton Construction has grown its stellar reputation as a leader in luxury custom-home building and construction consulting.

“Our philosophy has always been—and remains—to deliver the highest quality product and attention to detail,” says John Finton, the firm’s founder and president. “Customer service has been paramount as part of this process, and, typically, our projects consist of clients who clearly appreciate and understand quality and the process to achieve it.”

White Space A sofa, chairs, ottomans by Charles Pfister, a cocktail table by Charles and Ray Eames (, and a custom silk rug compose the seating group in each living area, but artwork differs. This sculpture in resin and fiberglass is by John McCracken.

Founded in 1988 in Los Angeles, the company began as a small remodeling contractor with annual sales under $1 million. During the first decade, Finton Construction expanded operations to include an office in Orange County, California. In the past five years, the firm has become one of the region’s premier custom-home builders by working with worldwide clients and managing $150 million in construction works annually—and by adding a third office in Mexico.

“Our firm has succeeded with the philosophy of always putting the client first, listening to their needs, and delivering a quality product that clearly stands out among other competitors,” Finton says. “We have always focused on the project and the client—not on making money—and we feel our success has been a by-product of this [focus].” The company’s 40-percent repeat client base is perhaps the most telling and impressive testimony to its business philosophy. Although he works with A-list entertainers and business elites as clients, Finton’s rise to prominence was initiated from humble beginnings. “As a young man, I lived next door to


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design on display

“Our projects are high-end and our clients discerning, so everything we build is unique and one-of-a-kind.” -John Finton, Founder

A HOUSE OF ART The home’s design centers on the owner’s art collection. Simple, clean lines let the art be the focal point while vivid primary hues scattered throughout the home’s interior relate to the colors within the displayed works. The art pictured is a Stella in acidic corals and greens.

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PRESERVING HISTORY Designed by A. Quincy Jones, the original structure dictated the focus of the renovation: to maintain the integrity of the client’s vision while updating to modern conveniences. In the entryway an Austrian 1800s ash settee sits beneath a John Ulbricht oil-on-canvas portrait of the owner’s father.


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design on display


a builder, and in high school I worked for him through the summers and weekends,” Finton says. “When I began college, I used my construction skills to pay for school.” Finton majored in finance and real estate, and, while still attending college, he began Finton Construction. “I realized there was a real need for a highquality, well-organized residential-contracting firm in Los Angeles,” he says. Several years later, partners Mike Reeves and Dan Tontini joined the firm. By developing a highly sophisticated project-management system and formulating a sound business plan, the partners have maintained a steady growth rate for the firm, which currently oversees approximately 30 ongoing projects yearly with on-site project supervisors.

The interior, which includes floor-toceiling glass walls, was reconfigured to take maximum advantage of the views, which stretch over the Getty Center to the Pacific Ocean beyond. An existing fireplace, now re-plastered, separates the entry from both sides of the living area. Multimedia work is by Frank Stella. Flooring is rift-sawn white oak.

Currently, Finton heads the Los Angeles office, where he oversees bidding, sales, and marketing. A seasoned professional, he makes several trips each year to Europe and the Middle East to oversee the purchasing and fabrication of exotic stones and other imported materials. In fact, Finton is known for literally traveling around the world to find the right materials for his projects, including limestone directly from the French countryside and marble chosen from among the finest options in Italy. “Our projects are high-end and our clients discerning, so everything we build is unique and one-of-a-kind,” Finton says. Consistently rated among the top 10 contractors in the country since 1994, Finton Construction’s portfolio includes a large number of renovation and restoration projects, and the company has built a solid reputation as a leader in high-end custom-home construction as well. Services include a full range of construction processes, from coordinating with architects to ensure properly working systems without sacrificing design to evaluating alternate methods and materials to reduce costs to providing comprehensive construction management.

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design on display

The SUNNY SIDE In the master bathroom, flooring shifts from oak near the wenge vanity to granite around the acrylic tub. The transition prepares a visitor for the eventual transition into a palm-filled sunroom beyond.

FINTON’s TURNING POINT: “The first major turning point for the company was 15 years ago when we were hired by a prominent businessman to build a residence in a very affluent gated community within Los Angeles that is home to numerous A-list entertainers. At the time, [Finton Construction] had not completed a project at this level—the finished home was projected to be more than double the size of anything we had built. The owner took a risk by hiring Finton Construction, and it paid off for both of us. Our firm has completed several other projects for him since that time, and we also wound up building 16 additional homes within the same gated community.” —John Finton


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The firm prides itself on its concierge-style approach to clients by guaranteeing they are satisfied before, during, and after construction. Every detail is covered to ensure projects run smoothly and effectively, including online site management that charts a project’s progress daily. Client communication is paramount and includes weekly progress reports and Web-cam visits with live streaming video so clients can see their home’s construction progress from anywhere in the world. “We are well recognized for our foresight and follow-through, ensuring that even the smallest details are effectively handled,” Finton says. “One way we have been able to achieve this recognition is by fostering long-lasting relationships with the most skilled craftsmen and vendors for every facet of the building process in order to deliver a superior product.” Finton and the firm’s work has been lauded repeatedly, garnering media coverage in Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, The Robb Report, California Homes, The LA Business Journal, The NewYork Times, The Los Angeles Times,Veranda, and E! TV. Although Finton Construction works primarily in California, they also have completed projects in Europe and Asia. Finton Construction’s reputation is well cemented, and when asked how his firm has risen to such acclaim, Finton says that communication is key. “Business in general is challenging, and the construction business is not an exact science, especially custom homes,” he says. “Understanding how to communicate and listen to the client’s expectations and, in turn, provide a pleasant experience with many moving parts is—and always will be—a challenge.”

design on display

“We have always strived to make the journey of construction exciting and rewarding for the client. It is our philosophy that if the process is not fun, clients will not return, and a big part of this [approach] is communicating well and exceeding the client’s expectations.” -John Finton, Founder

STATUESQUE A cast-bronze figure by Robert Graham ( looks out from a bronze plinth in the courtyard’s sculpture court, part of a trio of bronze female nudes standing in the reflecting pool. For contrast, the walls are painted an arresting cobalt blue. april 2011

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luxury home quarterly

april 2011

design on display

DECK PLAN Designed by the distinguished OLIN Partnership (, the home’s minimalist landscape appears deceptively simple but dramatically underscores the architecture and views.

Currently, the firm is working on a high-end boutique hotel project in Mexico after being approached by a local developer who was aware of the company’s stellar reputation. Finton is also considering expanding his base by establishing offices in San Francisco and possibly New York City. Regardless of the stylistic and geographical range of projects on the board, the firm’s commitment and focus are unwavering. “We have always strived to make the journey of construction exciting and rewarding for the client,” Finton says. “It is our philosophy that if the process is not fun, clients will not return, and a big part of this [approach] is communicating well and exceeding the client’s expectations.”

A MESSAGE FROM Compas Architectural For over 30 years Compas has been procuring the rarest marble, limestone, and majolica for the most prestigious architects and designers worldwide. With offices located in Europe and the United States, Compas has access to exclusive resources and only works with exceptional craftsman. Compas also provide specific tours to European quarries to review mock ups of rare and unique materials and architectural appointments for installation into grand manors and estates worldwide. Furthermore, Compas’ in-house atelier staff utilizes advanced technology to convert conceptual drawings into practical applications thru detailed 3D rendering and plans. These capabilities allows Compas to help clienteles to visualize the final appearance of the projects. Compas savoir-faire of traditional, European craftsmen style is manifested through their artistically, detailed and original collection of European bath systems, faucets, and accessories. Compas reputation for excellence has been recognized by the world class designers, architects as well as contracting firms and their savvy clientele. For more information or to request a catalog please contact us at 310854-3023 or visit our website at

THE CHANGING ROOM While the 10-acre property’s 50-foot swimming pool was built for a previous house (which burned down in 1961), the 440-square-foot cabana is brand new. The furniture is powdercoated steel, the cabana’s infill panels are red and yellow fiberglass, and the crushed glass on the roof is blue.

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luxury home quarterly


a fresh perspective Michael Minadeo + Partners puts a spin on New England’s classic architectural style Text by Frederick Jerant

photos by Jim WestpHalen

THE STOWE POOL HOUSE A cedar-slat bench seat within the viewing portal provides a place to sit or lay in the shade. The design of this little structure provides an open invitation to relax by the pool while highlighting the surrounding landscape and beautiful mountain vistas. The design’s intention was to enhance and highlight the beauty of the site through understated architectural elements and a landscape that worked with the custom structure.


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TIMBER-FRAMED FUNCTIONALITY The long, narrow, contemporary timber- and copper-clad structure provides a visual edge and functional screen through the entire length of the pool. The separation of functionality creates a multiuse space for both swimming and entertaining.


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ne of the hallmarks of any project by Michael Minadeo + Partners in Essex, Vermont, is a reliance on a design sensibility that combines a high level of visual attractiveness with an eye toward functionality. “I see many clients who prefer a more casual lifestyle, so spaces in my buildings tend to be more open and free-flowing,” say founder of the firm Michael Minadeo. “In traditional New England style, however, those rooms would be smaller spaces with an almost formal air about them.” Minadeo takes inspiration from vernacular architecture and uses time-honored materials such as cedar planks, shingles, and mahogany siding. “I give them a contemporary interpretation,” Minadeo says. “The homes still fit in with their neighbors, but they have a slightly fresher look to them.” Although the firm specializes in custom residential projects, it also accepts new construc-

tion projects as well as renovation and interiordesign work. “We can bring a clean, modern look to interior spaces,” he says, “We can actually restructure the inside of buildings. We like to call it interior architecture.” A pool house (an AIA Honor Award winner) in Stowe, Vermont, illustrates Minadeo’s approach. “The main house is a timber-framed traditional building, but my clients wanted the pool house to have a more contemporary look,” he says. The clients’ primary home is clad with warm graystained cedar and touches of copper in the roof. For the pool house, Minadeo chose a combination of rough-sawn cedar and copper siding. “The new, clear-coat cedar will acquire a grayish patina over time, and the copper siding’s finish will evolve as well,” he says. “It changes seasonally depending on the quality of sunlight and reflections from snow.” Ultimately, Minadeo says, the building looks warm and quietly modern.

COZY OUTDOORS The board-formed fireplace lends light and a sense of animation—a perfect ambience for late-evening entertaining. Striations from the boards evoke a feeling of a minimalist sculpture. Support columns, made from Douglas fir, are attached to the blue-stone patio by a galvanized-steel bracketing system. The system also adds some visual interest to the otherwise unadorned columns.

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a fresh persepective

SIMPLE ELEGANCE The pool house’s exterior skin is made of copper, a material usually used for roofing. It exemplifies Minadeo’s penchant for using traditional materials in unexpected ways. Perennials and ornamental grasses edge the expansive blue-stone terrace that surrounds the minimalist pool.

ROOM TO PLAY The “copper box” contains the interior living space complete with a kitchenette, large bathroom with shower, and changing room. Around the corner is a simple, yet elegant, outdoor-shower space built into the exterior cedar wall.


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MOONLIT AMBIANCE The outdoor dining space is perfect for entertaining, with filtered light from the trellis above casting a warm glow on the table and chairs below.

Minadeo takes inspiration from vernacular architecture and uses time-honored materials such as cedar planks, shingles, and mahogany siding.

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“We can bring a clean, modern look to interior spaces. We can actually restructure the inside of buildings. We like to call it interior architecture.� Michael Minadeo, principal


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CONTEMPORARY TOUCH The black-painted cabinetry of the kitchenette/bar in the lounge space of the pool house gives the house a modern look. The interior living space is complete with a kitchenette, large bathroom with a shower, and a changing room.

The space can function as guest accommodations with its pullout couch, kitchenette, and shower facilities. “It’s like a little dwelling that’s independent of the main house,” he says. Outside, a fireplace adds warmth and light to evening festivities, and overhead lights, nestled in a trellis, provide soft illumination.


The firm also created an interesting home for a growing family on the shores of Lake Champlain, Vermont. The sloping, narrow site of the lake house offers spectacular views of Shelburne Point and the Adirondacks. Because of a desire for environmental sensitivity, the narrow site is flanked by stands of trees, and the home’s floor plan has a three-level vertical orientation. A stair tower that admits natural illumination connects the home’s multi-level living areas while also serving as a gallery for the wife’s extensive collection of Chinese artwork. Additionally, a secondary space at ground level houses service areas that support day-to-day living and accommodates an entry porch. Designing the home was challenging, Minadeo says, because the husband preferred a rustic look, but the wife favored contemporary Asian architecture. He melded the two by using cedar rafters, log columns, and topping the structure with a low-slung roof that recalls ancient Chinese pagodas. “Our work certainly satisfied our clients,” Minadeo says. “We also have received plenty of compliments and praise from other residents of Shelburne.” Lastly, Minadeo has recently been working on a project he refers to as the “box house.” The owners, who are previous residents of San Francisco, California, were enamored with loft living. Minadeo found the concept intriguing. “I liked the idea of a light-filled, simple box that just happens to be in a wooded area that faces Lake Champlain.” Construction began on this unusual structure in late 2010. When completed, the home will have several distinctive features and will follow the land’s natural slope, the lower story meeting the bottom of a hill. An open kitchen leads into dining and living areas, which end at a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows. The carport will rest on top of the hill, near the road; a steel bridge will provide access to the house through a stand of trees, and in keeping with the rustic locale, the home will be environmentally friendly with rooftop photovoltaic panels, solar hot water, and radiant floors. Although satisfied with current projects and comfortable in his current location, Minadeo hopes to relocate his business to a more rural location within the next few years. “I’d love to have a studio in the countryside,” he says. “I’m drawing up plans for it now!”


Environmentally sustainable design solutions grounded in the New England tradition for residential + commercial building.


802.540.0055 april 2011

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IT’S OFFICIAL Now more than ever, comfortable and wellequipped home offices are in demand. Tech-savvy and modern professionals are requesting home offices that fit their lifestyles—and those offices aren’t quite as illusive as one might think. A few design tricks, some perfect accessories, and clever strategies can make any space the perfect office away from the office.

by Zach Baliva


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An Artist’s Reprise LIVING AND WORKING SPACES COMBINE TO FORM ONE FUNKY, FUNCTIONAL HOME Photos by Rien van Rijthoven april 2011

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it’s official

Craig Steely’s

house is filled with wonderful details such as skylit stairs and custom cabinets. The upper level opens onto a deck and rooftop garden furnished with a hanging and rotating fireplace. Perhaps the most intriguing surprise, however, is his workspace. It’s not uncommon to see a home office, but Steely’s spans 500 square feet and accounts for almost 40 percent of his livable space.

Steely opened Craig Steely Architecture 15 years ago and designs modern homes in places like Hawaii, California, and Texas. “I’m very interested in integrating modern design into natural settings,” he says. He bought his own house in San Francisco in 1993 and has since remodeled it three times.



After the second remodel, Steely started looking for a storefront office but hated everything he found. “Even the best offices available were accessed through anonymous shared spaces and winding corridors,” he says. “I wanted my clients to leave the street and enter my personal space—an area specific to my architectural ideas.” Clients should feel an instant and direct connection to an architect’s work, and nothing provides that experience like a home office. He moved his wife and young son across the street and started on remodel number three. Demolishing the family home and starting over might sound like a lot, but the benefits clearly outweighed the sacrifice. The revision allowed Steely to remain on his property while finding a better way to use the space, and he embraced the opportunity to try new things on his own home. Best of all for the family as a whole, the new house would finally have useable outdoor space and sustainable elements such as a two-kW photovoltaic system.


Steely worked carefully to separate his living and work spaces. “A client should know where the office is, and family and friends should access the private space without distributing the studio,” he says. The entryway has separate doorbells for the home and studio. Visitors who enter from the street step into a foyer to find a half-inch-thick etched-glass wall and sliding door. Once there, the visitors can easily distinguish between the home and office. The effective design maintains multiple levels of privacy. The living room and workspaces are not interconnected, and the house is “off limits” to what’s happening in the office. “We’ve sacrificed a big chunk of our house to a public space, and people respect that,” Steely says. The large and open office is shared with three of Steely’s employees. A panoramic window brings natural light onto individual workstations comprised of oversize flat surfaces dotted with articulated lamps. “We use Artimede Tolomeo task lamps in different sizes if we need artificial lighting,” Steely says. “Task lighting is best because you can direct light precisely where you need it.” The space was designed more like a creative shop than a typical home office. Nothing is hidden or separated, and the architectural layout is intensely collaborative.


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Although Steely lives and works on the same lot, he wanted his office to act as a separate structure. “My home office needed to function as well—or better—as an away office. That was the goal,” he says. With this particular project, affectionately called the Beaver Street Reprise, Steely shows that flexibility can be more valuable than size. “We don’t have a home, a studio, and an office,” he says. “We have all these working together on one lot at a fraction of space and cost.”




Design Elements of the Beaver Street Reprise Office 1 – The walnut-slab conference table, designed by Craig Steely Architects, was made from a fallen tree— the same material used for the apartment’s front door.

2 – The Artemide Tolomeo Classic Task Lamp provides task lighting in a sleek, modern design. It features an aluminum body and a rotating shade and arm structure.

3 – The work tables were salvaged from an industrial designer’s office. The tabletops are custom designed to sit directly on black 30” Hon file cabinets.

4 – These classic La Fonda Chairs by Alexander Girard and Charles Eames are repeated throughout the house in both plastic- and fabric-covered models.

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5 – The roller-screen curtain by MechoShade Systems is the largest the company makes, which helps Steely control the light saturation during each season.

luxury home quarterly


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A DECK DONE MODERN The deck includes chairs from Umbra (, which were customized by cutting two inches off their legs to make them more suitable for lounging by the hanging Fireorb (

Beaver Street Reprise

New second floor


The third remodel of Craig Steely’s Beaver Street residence added 500 square feet and created a livable outdoor space. An acrylic-and-walnut door (made with leftover strips from a cabinet shop) opens to bring guests into a hall with clearly defined entries for the office and the living space. The first-floor apartment has two bedrooms and a bathroom, and the living room (two floors above) comes complete with an elaborate Vitsoe shelving system and custom cabinetry. A kitchen, filled with hard contours and modern sensibilities, shares the third level, and sliding glass doors open onto a partially covered rear deck. There, family and friends enjoy the property’s indoor/outdoor space, which includes a small grass garden and a hanging fireplace that can rotate in order to heat the interior when the doors are open.


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New third Floor




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Bedroom Storage Laundry Bathroom Entry Office Dining Kitchen Living Deck Grassy Knoll



The top-level living room contains a Togo sectional sofa from Ligne Roset (, an Osorom coffee table by Moroso (, and an upholstered bucket rocker with the original Alexander Girard fabric from Herman Miller (

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The Vitsoe 606 Universal shelving unit (vitsoe. com) expands easily if needs change or more space is required, and the design is currently enjoying its 50-year anniversary, the first shelf having been designed by then-28-year-old Dieter Rams back in 1960. Steely used these shelves in both his living room and office.

The house and its unique floor plan have proved to be great marketing tools. “Our space sets us apart from every other architect that has a traditional office,” Steely says. Architects create personal spaces for their clients and also for themselves. Anyone who walks into Steely’s office gets a more immediate and accurate idea of who he is, what he does, and how he works. Common elements used in both the public and private spaces of the home help the areas exist in harmony. In Steely’s living room stands a 1970s Vitsoe 606 Universal shelving system designed by Dieter Rams, and this element is repeated in the office. La Fonda chairs by Alexander Girard and Charles Eames also make dual appearances, as does artwork by Steely’s wife, Cathy Liu. When creating his own office, Steely focused on trusted standbys: storage, lighting, and surfaces. “We knew we’d need lots of flat spaces to lay out our drawings, lots of storage for books and materials, and lots of open space for working together,” he says. His favorite part of the room is the expansive window. “You’re going to spend a lot of time in a home office,” he says. “It might as well have the best view in the house.” He also suggests that


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those creating a home office should plan for lots of room and plenty of open space—it’s hard to be creative and productive when tucked into a corner. Storage is key, too. In Steely’s office, he uses typical office file drawers below the desks and custom shelving units floating on the wall. Many clients don’t need to turn almost half their home into office space, but those who will be meeting other clients or hosting employees require special care. Steely replicated his own strategy for Xiao-Yen Wang and Andy Martin, cofounders of the Beijing-San Francisco Film Group. The filmmaker and the producer needed a production facility, and after visiting Steely’s office, they hired him to build similar integration into a different house. “A combined space works well in many settings when clients want to separate spaces in obvious ways without a lot of hierarchy,” Steely says. Steely’s own combined house and office took a year to build, but he is more than happy with the results. “It’s one consistent space where life and work is one and the same,” he says. “Both parts work together with the same openness and the same ideas.” At Beaver Street, all aspects work together under one roof. –ZB

it’s official

WHITE COLLAR Shane Inman’s monochromatic home office doubles as an effective promotional tool


s a child, Shane Inman sketched in his notepad and built homes out of Legos. He eventually took those talents to Michigan State University to study interior design. In 2006, Inman opened his own shop, The Inman Company, based in Traverse City, Michigan, where Inman practices interior and exterior design in both Michigan and Chicago. When designing his own home office, Inman was careful to communicate the right message to potential clients.

LHQ: How has designing your own home office shaped or changed your design perspective? Shane Inman: The biggest goal for my home office when I first started my company was to save money. I started my business on sweat equity alone, and the thought of having an office outside of my home was not an option. Now, my vision of a home office has changed significantly as my work space has become an extension of my personal space and they both flow together seamlessly. After almost five years, I have been fortunate enough to relocate my home office to a larger and more sophisticated space. Should the space change often? With everything in life, flexibility and versatility are a must. Even our clients are demanding this in the designs they require. At our office, we incorporated these ideas, too, especially in our conference room. Our 10-foot-long conference table has only 6 chairs so we are able to use it as a work surface to organize design projects throughout the week. Should the table be needed for a meeting, we just add more matching chairs from the adjacent resource room.

Photo: Carrie Gensler

What challenges and solutions have you discovered to creating a good office space? A good office is one that allows you to work and get things done while being profitable. A great office is one that is meticulously organized, motivates and inspires while allowing you to maximize profits and reduce losses by working smarter— not harder.

a professional image (cork boards and ledges for displaying samples, white boards for sketching and writing, and a real conference table) and for it to be large enough to accommodate our clients and their families. The second was a resource library that could house the thousands of product samples and literature that we need in order to specify goods and materials for both our commercial and residential projects.

that is what I wanted to achieve. With a home office, I feel that the division of professional space and personal space is very important. In this particular case, a successful flow in your home office would be one with a clear division of professional and personal space.

Please describe the space.

Every home office should have an area where you can offer your guest a beverage.You need a clean restroom and a large enough space where you can interchange thoughts and ideas effectively without feeling rushed or cramped. For me to close a deal, the client needs to be next to me feeling my excitement and energy about their project, and that happens best around a conference table. I see more start-ups and small businesses working themselves out of the back room and into open floor plans where open communication can inspire themselves as well as the client.

Our office is minimalist in design and monochromatic in style. 100 percent of the office is painted white with white floors, white furniture, white fabrics, white cabinets and cubbies, and white Carrara marbletops mixed with a lot of glass and chrome. We take the approach that less is definitely more. Not a lot of people have ever been in an all-white space so when they come into our office they get a striking impression of our design capabilities.

Do home offices that host clients have other special requirements?

How does the design of a home office differ from a more traditional workspace?

Any final thoughts?

Our office is on the main level and my residential space is on the lower level. From the main level you wouldn’t know that anyone lives there, and

A home office needs to represent the company you are relying on to pay your bills. As the age-old saying goes, first impressions are everything! –ZB

What did you build into your own office? There were two definite must-haves for our new office space. One was a conference room that had

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luxury home quarterly


Manhattan Bar According to Esquire, “The Esquire man is a craftsman behind the bar and he deserves an elegant place to store his tools—like this steel trunk with designated compartments for liquor, wine, glasses, and tumblers.”


of those surveyed by Hearst Brand Development said a home-furnishing project should be like a great suit— both well tailored and comfortable.


The stylish pieces—furniture, upholstery, rugs, lighting, and accessories— are designed to grace the elegant offices of sophisticated men around the world, and the unique collection was the creative result of already-successful business relationships. Hearst Magazines publishes Esquire, a monthly general-interest magazine that targets contemporary and fashionable male readers. Like the Hearst magazine itself, Esquire’s home furnishings explore the very definition of “man at his best” in American society. The line is distributed exclusively by Four Hands, an Austin-based company that sells to retailers worldwide. Matthew Briggs, CEO and president of Four Hands, says that in adding the

Esquire Home Collection to its portfolio, his company is successfully market-


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ing to targeted consumers with specific price points. All companies involved in the Esquire endeavor identified the home-office design market as an area of opportunity but discovered that no one was previously catering exclusively to male clientele. “Hearst did a fantastic research study of their subscribers— men,” Briggs says. 96 percent of those surveyed by Hearst Brand Development said a homefurnishing project should be like a great suit—well-tailored and comfortable. When asked about quality, 91 percent called furniture a valuable investment, and 75 percent requested home furnishings, finishes, and fabrics that would appeal to men. But would Hearst and Four Hands hit a home run by offering office furniture? 85 percent of responders said they longed for one space in the house that would be 100 percent theirs. The feedback, which Briggs says helped inspire the collection, proved invaluable. The Esquire Collection provides something new. Although the prevailing idea in marketing is to target women, Esquire saw an opening in the marketplace.

Photo: Kevin Gray

With the high popularity of home offices, the design of such spaces has become a burgeoning niche that companies are rushing to fill. Of late, big corporate names are getting in on the action, and last summer the Hearst Corporation introduced its Esquire Home Collection.

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“People need to embrace the home office as an entertaining place where a man can relax. It’s no longer designed for the nine-to-fiver.” Matthew Briggs, CEO & President of Four Hands

Pieces of the Collection

“They wanted to make a splash and fulfill all channels towards the man’s needs,” Briggs says.

The entire line is named after popular cocktails (whiskey collins, gimlet, greyhound, martini) and embraces emerging trends such as a funky use of leather and mixed metals. The Triple Old Fashioned sofa’s reversible cushions of leather and linen introduce versatility to the home office, and at 86.5 inches, the sofa provides plenty of seating for clients and coworkers. Its counterpart, the Triple Whisky Collins, mixes dark loden leather with partina-brass stud detailing for a desirable and timeless look. Other popular home-office choices include a unique Spider’s Web bookcase with a criss-cross stainless-steel frame and black leather shelves. It fits nicely with the Black Russian, a sleek leather and steel desk with a lone drawer lined in blue fabric. The collection rounds out the aesthetic vision of Esquire, a publication that Briggs says is known for informing the consumer on how to dress, what to drink, what to buy, and what’s hot. Working with a similar clientele has been an asset for both companies. “The Four Hands and Esquire customers are an easy overlap, which makes this business endeavor adventurous,” Briggs says. Four Hands is selling to high-end retailers and designers, and top sellers in the 21-piece collection include the Martini Strap chair, Gimlet ottoman, Spider’s Web bookcase, Manhattan Bar trunk, and Stringer desk. According to Briggs, every office should include a bar for entertaining clients. The Rob Roy, a leather-and-cambric trunk, stands vertically for storage and sits nicely beside the Manhattan—a steel-and-leather unit that folds to ac-


1 Irish Coffee lamp table 2 Algonquin desk 3 Industrial-finish tripod lamp 4 Spider’s Web bookcase 5 Martini chair 6 Black Russian desk 7 Ruski dumbbells 8 Green apothecary jars 9 Sin City dice

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commodate diverse design options. And the Clover Club and Tall Martini are satisfying alternatives to standard bar stools. “These spaces require excellent leather chairs so clients can enjoy a good martini and a fine cigar,” Briggs says. The Esquire Collection was created in part to give men what they’ve always wanted but have been unable to find in office furniture. “A good office needs a couch with simple and clean lines that was built with a purpose and feels great to sit in,” Briggs says. Other essentials include lots of hard woods, leather, and a real man’s desk. Hearst listened to the male demographic and responded with smart, upscale pieces for the hot home-office and home-furnishing markets. “People need to embrace the home office as an entertaining place where a man can relax,” Briggs says. “It’s no longer designed for the nine-to-fiver. With the Esquire Home Collection, Hearst and Four Hands hope to resonate with men who want to work and play in the same space.”

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luxury home quarterly


it’s official





luxury home quarterly

april 2011

it’s official

On a Roll Who says an office chair has to be boring? These funky finds are part seat, part sculpture. 1. 360 chair Design by Konstantin Grcic Magis / 2. Lily swivel armchair Design by Arne Jacobsen Fritz Hansen / 3. C herner task chair with arms Design by Norman Cherner The Cherner Chair Company /


april 2011

luxury home quarterly


it’s official

Enlightened The experts agree: lighting is an essential design element for a productive home office. These task lights will keep you on track. 1. Tua Design by Marco Zito Foscarini / 2. Personal Underline Steelcase / 3. Havana task floor lamp Jonathan Adler / 4. Kelvin LED task lamp Design by Antonio Citterio, with Toan Nguyen Flos /



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Desk Duty The desk is the most essential part of any office. These modern designs will keep you motivated and inspired. 1. Mars rectangular table Design by Matthew Hilton De La Espada / 2. Desk 51 Design by Blu Dot Blu Dot / 3. Globus Design by Michiel van der Kley Artifort / 4. Cavour desk Design by Carlo Mollino Zanotta / 5. Nelson swag leg desk Design by George Nelson Herman Miller /


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Top Shelf Organization is key: keep books and papers in order with these flexible storage units. 1. Ptolomeo X4 Design by Bruno Rainaldi Opinion Ciatti 2. Optic Cube Design by Patrick Jouin Kartell 3. Rubik Design by Carlo Cumini EmmeBi



luxury home quarterly

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Photo: danny lee photography

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









RESERVED DESIGN The Reserve Residence by Rob E McQuay features a serene pathway to the main entrance, setting the private and natural tone of the entire property.

the plans

MAJESTIC MOUNTAINS The Reserve Residence’s patio is designed so that the home literally blends with the landscape outside, extending directly into the desert. The chairs and table are made of custom ironwork, keeping the space in sync with the natural setting. Because the view from the front of the house looks out on the protected Red Cliffs Desert Reserve, the home’s owners will always be able to enjoy the stunning, unobstructed views.

A Team Approach Results in Success


ob E McQuay, AIA, always makes it a point to spend the proper time and attention on the design of a building– whether it’s small or large.

It’s that attention to detail that has translated into success for his St. George, Utah-based firm, Rob E McQuay Architects & Associates.

“Most people are surprised when the way their home turns out isn’t what they had envisioned before meeting with us,” McQuay says. “We really encourage people to give time to the design, so


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by Amy E. Lemen

we ask a lot of questions to understand what they like and how they live.” That focus on design has also spawned a teambased approach to stunning custom homes with local developer Split Rock Development, Inc. McQuay worked with Split Rock on his own home in St. George, and they’ve since collaborated on hundreds of successful projects.

The Reserve Residence For Rob E McQuay, it’s all about taking advantage of a gorgeous landscape, and the Reserve Residence does exactly that. Featured in the St. George, UT, 2010 Parade of Homes, this Southwest-style home, located on an ancient lava field in The Reserve subdivision, is 4,800 square feet and brings the outside inside with disappearing walls and multiple doors that open onto expansive patios. The view from the dining room is of Snow Canyon—named for its early Mormon settlers and for the combination of white and red Navajo sandstone that peeks out amid a sea of black and gray lava rock—as well as the infinity pool that looks as if it’s about to drop into the canyon below. “You get the feeling of looking down into the canyon,” McQuay says. “We like to blur the line between interiors and exteriors.”

“Split Rock was developing most of the land we’d been working on. They brought us in on a project, and we worked well together, so we formed a

Photos: danny lee photography

Rob E Mcquay Architects & Associates

the plans


RESERVE residence

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The Rad Residence This villa exudes peace and relaxation, allowing guests to take in one of nature’s most majestic scenes on multiple outdoor patios, complete with fire pits perfect for entertaining. Ancient fields of molten lava make up the surrounding landscape and are juxtaposed against the angular sandstone pillars of the home’s exterior. The entrance water feature reflects the surroundings and creates a feeling of natural harmony. This entrance leads to the living and dining areas, which take maximum advantage of the home’s breathtaking mountain views. Guests enjoy separate quarters, a lounging area, and a custom fireplace.

The team approach includes land acquisition, design, construction, interior design, custom stonework and millwork, landscaping, and more. Brett Boyce, of Split Rock Development, says the partnership had a natural synergy from the beginning. “I love the team aspect,” he says. “It’s so much more than a builder separate from an architect or designer, and it makes sense that we work together.” Founded 30 years ago, the Rob E McQuay design team includes McQuay himself, Todd Benson, AIA and LEED AP, and Nathan Kerr. The firm was based in nearby Park City, Utah, for 21 years, handling mostly commercial and industrial projects. But that changed seven years ago when McQuay moved the firm to St. George. “We used to build about 25 percent residential,” McQuay says. “But we found a really good resi-


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dential market here and have adapted to meet that demand.” Today, about 80 percent of the firm’s work is new custom homes, and about 20 percent are additions. McQuay’s homes range in price from $500,000 patio homes to fabulous $5 million estates that overlook the region’s picturesque Snow Canyon. Most of McQuay’s clients are well established and successful and are building showpiece second homes or a retirement home in a beautiful setting. “These homes are often the culmination of the last five homes they’ve built, or this is their last house,” McQuay says. “In either case, they want to take their time and do it right.” The partnership with Split Rock, coupled with a unique residential demand from discerning clients, has spawned some of the firm’s most impressive and award-winning homes. One of those impressive projects is an expansive, 8,671-square-foot Northbridge Estates “desert

Photos: Scot Zimmerman

team,” McQuay says. “They had access to great land with views, and that’s a huge plus because the scenery here is so spectacular.”

the plans


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“The ruggedness of the lava fields and the natural red rock has driven us to really push the honesty and integrity of materials. Our

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goal is to have the house really reflect the land and

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Rob E McQuay, AIA oasis” in Washington, Utah, the center tower of which houses a three-story library. The home’s interesting mix of Tuscan and modern design was built on speculation, and the goal was to do something different that still meshed with the more traditional style of the neighborhood. “Our goal is always to make a home unique,” McQuay says. “A lot of people will go to the Parade of Homes and say they want that exact house, but we stress that it’s important to choose what they want to make a home their own.”


4012 S River Rd #1F, St. George, UT 84780

McQuay has also found that building in St. George is much different than Park City because of the climate. For example, rooflines in Park City needed to be able to withstand heavy snow and ice, so steep pitches were necessary. In St George, they can get more creative.

“Most of the rooflines are flat here, and we also design a lot of homes on lava fields, so we’re able to build a much more organic design,” he says. “Kent Bylund of Split Rock directs much of the site development and uses the excavated rock as landscape features in the design, so the house looks like it’s rising out of the landscape.” McQuay says working with the area’s rugged landscape has also helped define the firm’s style and, as Bylund puts it, has helped them create homes that are a respite for their owners in the midst of an almost violent terrain. “The ruggedness of the lava fields and the natural red rock has driven us to really push the honesty and integrity of materials,” he says. “Our goal is to have the house really reflect the land and its twists, turns, and views.”

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Photo: danny lee photography

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its twists, turns, and views.”

the plans

ROOM WITH A VIEW The living room of the Wohlner residence combines the coziness of a fire-lit space with an expansive view of the Pacific Ocean.

horst architects, InC. Redefining The Relationship Between Structure And Site


hen Horst Noppenberger, AIA, looks at a hillside property to begin the process of designing a home, he never wants to create a residence that is merely “on” the hill. Instead, he sets out to design a home that is “of ” the hill, allowing the unique and diverse topography that he sees before him to determine and inspire the composition of the structure that ultimately is constructed. And while it may sound like an unorthodox perspective to take, it’s one that has enabled Noppenberger and his highly successful company to stand out in the industry. “We are a design firm which has found our own voice, distinctive from others in our profession,” Noppenberger says of Horst Architects, Inc., the Laguna Beach, California-based architectural design firm he founded in 1990. Marked by a continuity in materials and spatial concepts, such as blurring the boundary between inside and outside space and using light as connective tis-

by Amy Meadows

sue between form and material, the firm’s voice encompasses a unique design aesthetic that is at once modern and timeless—as well as free of the stylistic trappings that are often prevalent in current architecture. “We find inspiration and truth in the early modernism of Wright, Schindler, and Neutra,” says Noppenberger, who was born in Germany and received his architecture degree in 1982 from California State Polytechnic University in Pomona. “And because working in this coastal region provides an opportunity to create buildings within the dynamic edge where land meets sea, our homes are part of the continuity of the rich tapestry of modern architecture in Southern California.” With the beautiful seaside surroundings boasting terrain that offers such a varied range of natural features, Noppenberger and his six-person team believe that it is crucial to be very site-specific with each design they undertake, letting the prop-

erty reveal its possibilities and taking their creative cues from the site’s distinctive characteristics. However, they also strive to incorporate certain fundamental design elements into every single blueprint. Noppenberger continues, “Simplicity, restraint, and sustainability are always the guiding principles of our designs.” Equally important are the individual wishes and needs of the firm’s clients. Whether it’s a family of four that requires a flexible and open design in the renovation of their vacation home or a property owner who wants to build a new home that features contrasting communal spaces and intimate settings under one roof, Horst Architects seamlessly marries the conceptual and imaginative side of architecture with the concrete, functional requirements laid out by its clients. The first step in making this process work is to build solid and enduring relationships. “The entire process is based upon trust between the architect and the owner,” Noppenberger says. “We focus on earning that trust by being ac-

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luxury home quarterly


the plans

WATER WORKS A linear reflecting pond beginning at the entry courtyard reinforces the presence of the Pacific Ocean in the distance.

“While I don’t believe in the romantic notion that architecture will save the world, I do believe that it can speak to who we are culturally in this space and time in which we find ourselves.” Horst Noppenberger


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When Horst Noppenberger and his client stood on a hillside in Laguna Beach, CA, the architect and owner imagined two wooden shipping containers being dropped by a cargo plane onto the property. In their vision, one container landed horizontally while the other landed vertically. This became the foundation of a brilliant design that brings site and structure together seamlessly. Here, Noppenberger shares a few elements that helped turn the vision into reality: • Physical lightness in the design serves as a counter to the heavy look of the large rock outcropping found on the property; • The “horizontal box,” situated on the low end of the property, contains expansive communal space in an open-ended design; • Numerous windows make the communal space bright and airy and offer the feeling of being outside; • The “vertical box,” situated at the high end of the site, is relatively closed and sheltered, providing an ideal setting for sleeping spaces.




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wohlner residence

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countable to our clients and ultimately adding value to their lifestyle and property.” Horst Architects, which also offers commercial design services, feels a strong responsibility to the environment and the community at large, which is why sustainability has been part of its design process since the firm’s earliest days. As Noppenberger says, “I believe there is a moral imperative to design with sustainability in mind. On an


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environmental level, this approach acknowledges that resources are limited and precious. On a social level, this approach yields buildings which are a part of the collective consciousness rather than self-indulgent.” That’s why details such as roof overhangs, windows for cross ventilation, and thermal storage elements such as stone and concrete walls have always been used by Noppenberger and his team. Other sustainable features such as green roofs, photovoltaic panels, and water


recycling systems—as well as the pursuit of LEED certification—have been brought into the fold as the current green movement continues to surge. No matter how a design develops, one thing is always certain: Noppenberger feels a very personal and sentimental connection to each home that carries his firm’s name. “My projects last a lifetime, as I am always going back to them to see how they are evolving,” he says. “Perhaps I see a different

the plans

The Wohlner Residence

“Simplicity, restraint, and sustainability are always the guiding principles of our designs.”

Located in the seaside community of Three Arch Bay in Laguna Beach, CA, this residence serves as a vacation home for a family of four. Horst Architects completed a renovation and addition on the home that combines elements of the past with modern touches. Noppenberger’s favorite architectural elements of the project include: • The preservation of the intimate scale of the existing 1970s beach cottage; • The elimination of interior walls and some floor areas to create a dynamic and flexible spatial configuration; • The replacement of traditional means of enclosure, such as walls and doors, with sliding panels, which open up the entire interior; • The connection of interior spaces to exterior spaces with pocket doors; • The use of travertine, mahogany, and Rhine-zinc to root the structure in the seaside terrain and provide spatial synthesis.

Horst Noppenberger

group of people interacting with the structure or just see the building in a different light. It’s kind of like going back and visiting your children, now grown and living lives of their own.”

will save the world, I do believe that it can speak to who we are culturally in this space and time in which we find ourselves.”

When it comes to projects that are on the horizon for Horst Architects, Noppenberger will draw on his other interests such as art, music, and culture to help drive the creative process—something he has done since the beginning of his career. He also will continue to travel the world with his wife, Arianna, founder of Aria Design, who often collaborates with him on the interior design of his projects, to find inspiration in significant examples of both classic and current architecture. He will turn to the dedicated consultants and subcontractors who have helped him realize his firm’s vision for countless projects over the years—a group of talented people that he believes will be vital to Horst Architects’ growth and evolution in the years to come.

A Message from Structures Inc. Structures Inc. has been in close association with Horst Architects for over ten years, during which time it has had numerous unique and successful projects. Most of our work involves contemporary design, which is consistent with Horst’s architectural style. We incorporate environmentally sound products into our engineering making us experienced in earth friendly LEED design.

Whatever lies ahead for the firm, Noppenberger will rely on his love of architecture to lead the way as his firm makes its mark. “We have a genuine passion for our work, which leads to projects of distinction and quality,” he says. “While I don’t believe in the romantic notion that architecture

In the Wohlner project, we provided services for a major remodel including the removal of bearing elements; a design which enabled us to achieve contemporary open interior spaces. In the Gaddam project, we designed a self-supporting steel and glass staircase for architectural exposure and appeal. To learn more about our company, check us out in the Product + Services Spotlight section in this issue of Luxury Home Quarterly.

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luxury home quarterly



Providing concepts and programs for deluxe homes

South Coast Architects, Inc. BLENDING OLD-WORLD CHARM WITH MODERN LUXURY by Kaleena Thompson Some would call having a home on a golf course, along the coast, or tucked in the mountains a luxury. For architect Frank Stolz, these are lifestyle homes––a second home for clients who want a one-of-a-kind destination geared toward entertainment and relaxation. As founder and principal of Newport Beach, California-based firm South Coast Architects, Inc., Stolz has designed several high-end custom homes throughout the US, in places where residents value outdoor spaces and expansive views. “Respect for the client relationship, attentive listening, and careful observation of each homeowner’s lifestyle is the branding identity of our firm,” he says.


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One of Stolz’s recent designs––a 5,475-squarefoot Tuscan villa in La Quinta, California––unearths the family’s passion for Italy. “This design originated with the client’s desire to duplicate the warmth of Tuscan architecture,” Stolz says. “The family frequents Italy, and they wanted to create a Tuscan village. Our vision was to create the feel of old Tuscany.” Stolz had to design the home in a way that reflects a Tuscan village yet accommodates the golf lifestyle and supports the desert environment. The residents were hands-on in the project, especially with the stonework. “During the selection process, we wanted to honor the budget to create and design the home,” Stolz says. “Ultimately, we

VIVA LA VILLA The home’s rear elevation (above) captures an Italian spirit through handcrafted details while fitting in with the local community’s golf lifestyle through transitional indoor-outdoor spaces. The property’s intimate spa area (opposite page, top), accessible only from the master-bedroom suite, was designed to look like an old Tuscan villa’s watering trough.

selected Eldorado Stone’s Orchard Cypress Ridge profile that offers a beautiful blend of stone sizes and colors, which adds to the Old World feel.” Stolz brought the Eldorado Stone into the interiors to carry the feel of historical accuracy throughout. Stone is used from floor to ceiling in the kitchen as well as on the fireplace in the great room and on a wall to frame the bed in the master bedroom. The commodious master suite is a se-


The Hideaway-Tuscan Villa South Coast Architects’ vision for this 5,475-square-foot private residence in a La Quinta, CA, golf-course community was to create the feel of an old Tuscan farmhouse. Following this vision, Stolz incorporated the following elements: • Architectural stone veneer. The generous use of Eldorado Stone’s products adds to the authenticity and timelessness of Tuscan architecture; • Pocket doors. 25-foot-long pocket doors open the home to the outdoors; • Indoor-outdoor living. With a nod to the desert lifestyle, the home features an emphasis on the seamless interaction between indoors and outdoors; • Courtyards. Featuring carriage-style garages and a distinctive walking path that leads to a stone tower, the courtyards set the tone for a realistic villa environment.

Much of South Coast Architects’ work has been in deserts and on golf courses, but the firm also has been involved in the design of more than 30 master-plan communities and has been collectively responsible for more than 3,000 homes. cluded hideaway with its own private garden that can only be accessed through French doors off the bathroom. An elaborate kitchen opens up to the dining room and great rooms, which have enough seating for a crowd.

One stairway winds up behind the outdoor fireplace and loops around to a casita above the garages, and the other stairway leads to a private office. A second casita is found on the ground level with its own exterior entrance off the terrace.

Large pocket doors slide away to open into the great rooms and a posh pool. “Beyond that, the colorful landscape of the golf course and majestic mountain ranges offer surreal views,” Stolz says.

The home took more than two years to design and build, and due to great passion and commitment to authenticity, the project led to much more than a typical client-architect relationship. With many of South Coast Architects’ projects, new and long-lasting friendships forge. “Creating beautiful, luxury residences while nurturing a close relationship with each client is our abiding philosophy and hallmark,” Stolz says.

Stolz designed the villa like a true artist. “I believe to be a successful architect, one must be able to sculpt a building into art no matter the style,” he says. A wooden gate at the wall entry resembles an orchard of olive trees in an Italian farmhouse. Carriage garages, a watering trough, exterior curved stairways, and a large stone tower punctuate the work of art. “We cherish the homes as much as the clients do, and for a project to be successful, we must fulfill the client’s expectation and still achieve the architectural vision,” Stolz says.

Much of the firm’s work has been in deserts and on golf courses, but the firm also has been involved in the design of more than 30 master-plan communities and has been collectively responsible for more than 3,000 homes. “I love what I do,” Stolz says. “I am blessed with a passion for architecture.”

IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS Rich details—heavy wooden beams, authentic stone, an old olive tree, a rustic staircase, and a cozy fireplace—all come together to create the home’s signature Italian atmosphere.

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luxury home quarterly



OVERLOOKING THE OCEAN This outdoor living room and spa deck is located on a bluff overlooking the ocean. “[The home is] designed to pull you out there, to draw you out to the ocean,” says Ione Stiegler, founder of IS Architecture.

IS Architecture

The Michan Residence

AN AFFINITY FOR HISTORY WEAVES ITSELF THROUGH FIRM’S CUSTOM-HOME DESIGNS by David Hudnall IS Architecture founder Ione Stiegler always harbored a love of history and architecture, which is why she wrote both her undergraduate and master’s theses on historic preservation. “It was just this perfect, natural way to fuse these two things that I’ve always been drawn to,” Stiegler says. After working in San Diego for historic-preservation and residential-architecture firms, this passion became the foundation for IS Architecture, founded in 1989 in La Jolla, California. “Historic preservation is ideal for us, because it allows us to work in any genre and immerse ourselves in the details of any style,” Stiegler says. Today, IS Architecture’s portfolio breaks down into two general styles. The first, European Traditional, includes French Provençal, Italian, and Spanish Colonial Revival, and it’s especially popular in


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Southern California. The second, American Traditional, incorporates everything from the classic Cape Cod and Craftsman Style looks to more sleek, modern residences. IS Architecture works primarily in the San Diego area, though its custom residences, remodels, and additions can also be found in Orange County and other pockets of Los Angeles. The firm provides extensive services for clients, including complete kitchen, bathroom, and interior-space designs, as well as pre-selection of finishes and materials.

Created using a mix of antiques, reclaimed materials, and modern details, this 4,800-square-foot Italianstyle outdoor living space in La Jolla, CA, was designed in a U-shape, with rooms rounded out to capture the ocean views. The inside of the “U” is a 725-square-foot covered living room with sofas, a television, a built-in barbecue, and a limestone fireplace. Eight skylights, reclaimed beams, and infrared heaters are installed in the ceiling, and the room looks onto a fountain that pours into a Jacuzzi (opposite page, bottom), where more unobstructed ocean views can be enjoyed.

Historic preservation amounts to between 60 and 80 percent of the firm’s work, depending on the year. This work has garnered the firm over two dozen awards for both preservation and customhome work.

ARCHITECTs COURTYARD ENTRY The Michan residence’s intimate, walled front-entry courtyard features an Italian hand-carved wishing well with an antique bucket and limestone paving that continues throughout the property.

“Historic preservation is ideal for us because it allows us to work in any genre and immerse ourselves in the details of any style.” Ione Stiegler, Founder

The working process of IS Architecture’s six employees is characterized as an open forum. “We’re all in one big room, constantly bouncing ideas back and forth,” Stiegler explains. “The architectural staff is always pulling me over to take a look at their designs—it’s an open approach where we’re always in touch with each other’s ideas and vision.” This collaboration can be seen in the firm’s Michan project, an Italian villa the firm recently completed in La Jolla. “Technically, it was a remodel, but at the end of the day, it’s an entirely new house,”

Stiegler says. Prior to IS Architecture’s arrival, only three rooms in the one-story, 4,800-squarefoot home offered ocean views. The firm knocked down a large, obtrusive wall and reconfigured the home to optimize views. “The whole structure now opens out onto a semienclosed patio with unobstructed views of the ocean—kind of an outdoor living room,” Stiegler says. The exterior entry courtyard features a stone finish that’s subtly consistent with the interior finish. “These clients like the warmth of an Old World

look,” she explains, “but they also have a modern art collection. We bridged that by maintaining clean lines in the design but using a lot of rich material.” This rigorous attention to the clients’ desires is a hallmark of IS Architecture’s approach and a key element of its success. “I kind of fell into working in residential design, but I immediately loved the aspect of working with people on their homes,” Stiegler says. “I like carrying out a homeowners’ vision. I like being responsible for putting a smile on their face. In the end it’s their home, not mine.”

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Beverly Hills Mediterranean

Biglin Architectural Group A lifelong passion for design shows in the details by Tricia Despres Renowned California architect Brian Biglin has spent his professional career listening to the voice of his grandfather silently encouraging him to follow his design dreams. “My grandfather always wanted to become an architect,” Biglin says from his Calabasas office. “But when he returned from the war, they were unable to locate the transcripts that would have enabled him to go to college, so he became a mechanical engineer building machinery for aircraft companies. We both have always shared a love for detail.” Established in 2000, Biglin Architectural Group specializes in finely detailed custom residential and signature commercial projects. Focusing on traditional, classical, and modern styles, Biglin says he has been influenced by architecture icons such as Frank Lloyd Wright. “For almost 11 years, I spent time working solely on classical and contemporary architecture,” says

Biglin, who worked on his first design project as a freshman in high school when he was asked by his architecture teacher to design a brand new announcer’s booth for the baseball field. “I fell in love with it.” Biglin’s firm now employs a total of 12 architects, designers, and administrative specialists. It works on a wide range of projects, from medium-size remodels to large scale, multimillion-dollar custom homes. “Most of our clients come to us with a style they are looking for,” Biglin says. “We then take that information and come up with an idea unique to their lifestyle. We have been doing much work on unique rooms, such as wine cellars and movie theatres within the home.” In recent months, many of Biglin’s clients have put a renewed importance on looking at how their family operates and making design choices accordingly. Biglin says much of his custom residential

Biglin designed this contemporary Mediterranean-inspired home in Beverly Hills, CA, which takes advantage of its small site to create interesting features. The exterior finishes blend a quiet stucco façade and wooden doors and windows with wrought-iron detailing to capture a subtle, unassuming rapport with the neighborhood. Careful examination of the site reveals design strategies used to blend the architecture with the landscape. Using the natural terrain was essential in connecting the back patio with the lower pool terrace.

work has been a result of very personal and intimate decisions. “Our job is to bring that unique element our clients are looking for to the project,” Biglin says. “Whether it’s finding a particular view or product, we want to deliver on our promise to provide unsurpassed design at all times.” Possibly as a result of the faltering economy, Biglin says he has seen a real trend of getting away from formal living. These days, many of Biglin’s projects feature rooms that blend in with one another. “It’s now all about finding the heart of the home,” Biglin says. “It’s a turn back to casual living. Of course, we still have clients that have very formal styles.Yet, even they are looking at ways that they will use their home to entertain family and friends. “ Biglin has also begun to look more seriously into green building trends. A recent project in the high-

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luxury home quarterly



“Whether it’s finding a particular view or product, we want to deliver on our promise to provide unsurpassed design at all times.” Brian Biglin, owner

end Beverly Estates area was a contemporary home that featured a number of sustainable features.

Biglin says he is especially excited to see how various Smart Home technologies will change the way he designs years into the future. “This sort of technology recently allowed us to eliminate a good portion of the electrical devices on the walls of one of our recent projects,” says Biglin, who will soon begin work on the firm’s first overseas project in the Middle East. “It’s amazing to think our clients are going to be able to turn down their lights and turn on their Jacuzzi straight from their Blackberry. No matter what changes, our clients’ lifestyles will continue to design the buildings which we work on.”

a message from William Paul’s Fine Furnishings Hector Flores and William Jensen, owners of William Paul’s Fine Furnishings and Woodwork, Inc., are leaders in the design and fabrication of fine custom cabinetry, extraordinary furniture pieces, and detailed finished carpentry. Architects, contractors, and interior designers continually seek their expertise in the creation and installation of outstanding and unique works of art. Partnering with Biglin Architectural Group has further enhanced the opportunity to excel in their craft. William Paul’s superb craftsmanship, attention to detail, and pursuit of excellence coupled with Biglin’s innovative designs has produced results which continue to intoxicate clients and reward contractors. For more information contact


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april 2011

Don Duffy Architecture PRACTICALITY PARTNERS WITH THE ART OF ARCHITECTURE by Sandra Guy 1970s television sitcoms inspired Don Duffy’s career. After admiring the father on The Brady Brunch as he designed high-rises as well as the architect character on Apple’sWay, Duffy decided that architecture was the career for him. Although real life never lives up to TV-series imagery, Duffy’s is very close. He has fashioned his own successful and collegial architectural firm, Don Duffy Architecture, that works with clients looking to build their dream homes. “I look at myself and the firm’s architects as very skilled athletes, and I request that our clients coach us to the success of their project,” Duffy says. “They are welcome to roll up their sleeves and help as well. They have a vision they have to communicate to us, and then we use our skills, knowledge, and patience to do the work that they can’t do.” Duffy spends five to six hours designing an initial presentation for each client based on his or her vision of a dream home. He aims to leave the first meeting with conceptual ideas in place and uses the early presentation to make sure that he extracts and develops the client’s ideals. “We are committing hundreds, if not thousands, of hours to the project,” he says. “The clients have to find value in every line that we draw.” Don Duffy Architecture is comprised of five dedicated architects, a project designer, and Duffy’s

wife, Laura, the office manager. The company has weathered the recession by receiving constant customer referrals for remodeling work and by benefiting from its reputation of offering good value for the services provided. The firm’s pre-recession niche was designing traditional homes in the $1–4 million range. The firm now gets a good amount of work through clients’ requests for remodels ranging from $50,000 to $1.5 million. “We’ve been able to find a balance between doing good design work and meeting customers’ demands at an efficient price point,” Duffy says. A newly built private residence on 40 rural acres in the western part of North Carolina’s Piedmont region, designed to evoke a French country house, is a prime example of Duffy’s effective work. The exterior of a slate roof, old-time hard coat, and naturally colored stucco over six-inch masonry veneer-clad walls give the house an immediate presence and European flair. “The lady of the house spent many months mixing pigment to get just the right color of stucco she had envisioned,” Duffy says. The 5,000-square-foot, four-bedroom property has antique French floor tiles; antique heart-ofpine floors; beams fashioned from hand-hewn barn timbers; hand-made Renaissance tile chosen with particular degrees of glaze, crackle, and color; a motor courtyard fashioned after a European carriage courtyard; and a pond-like swimming pool

Photo: Stanley Capps

“The home featured a large, sloping roof that provided much-needed shade for the home,” Biglin says. “We also utilized specially treated glass for the doors and windows, use of synthetic veneered plywood for ceiling details, and a solar system for the electrical use. And while this is extremely beneficial, going green means going expensive. Green is not cheap, so we pay much attention and are very selective as to the sustainable products we decide to use in our design projects.”

FRENCH COUNTRY-STYLE HOME Don Duffy Architecture designed this private residence, located on 40 rural acres in the western part of North Carolina’s Piedmont region, to evoke a French country house. The exterior’s slate roof and naturally colored stucco over six-inch masonry veneer-clad walls on 2’ x 6’ frame construction gives the house an immediate presence and European flair.

surrounded by boulders and highlighted by a stone water fountain. Additionally, wrought-iron handrails and a stained-glass window featuring the family crest exemplify Duffy’s belief in using skilled artisans to ensure the highest possible craftsmanship. “I work very hard to encourage builders to hire artisans and trades who I know can improve upon the drawings with their skill and their artistic talent,” Duffy says. Another project, the Fork Farm and Stables, a 1,200-acre horse farm south of Norwood, North Carolina—on which a client built his home, a guesthouse, and a building for larger gatherings—is an example of Duffy’s versatility. The main home features a rock foundation of Arkansas fieldstone, Western red cedar walls, a roof of asphalt shingle, and an interior fashioned mostly of reclaimed wood products. The reclaimed wood included wormy chestnut, heart pine, barn-wood siding, and trestle wood from salvaged railroads that once ran across the Great Salt Lake in Utah. Working with landscape architect Bruce Clodfelter, the architectural firm designed outdoor living spaces on all four sides of the main house—to take advantage of the property’s 360-degree views—and connected the buildings so that they flow together seamlessly. Duffy advises up-and-coming architects that a crucial business skill is taking responsibility for one’s work, exceeding the clients’ expectations, and keeping in perspective the importance of family. “I look at a building as a tool to aid in living a life,” he says. “It’s a very complex tool that can profoundly affect one’s life and the life of a family. All buildings deserve such attention.”

a message from Carlson-Farmer, INC. Nestled in the foothills of Rutherford County in Western North Carolina is Carlson-Farmer, Inc. (828-286-0317). More than 22 years ago, owners Kris Carlson and Raymond Farmer had a strong desire not only to build homes with excellence and integrity, but to develop lifelong relationships with clients. Our long-standing relationship with Don Duffy began in 1991 with the construction of a beautiful lakefront mountain home. It continued as we worked closely on the construction of the incredible design and intricate detail of the featured home. Other specialties include elegant custom homes, fine timber-frame homes, upscale additions, renovations, and historical restorations.

General Contractors P.O. Box 350, Rutherfordton, NC 28139 Phone 828-286-0317

Fax 828-286-8482


Brion Jeannette Architecture Innovative Design Meets Sustainability by Susan Flowers “That whole green thing? We’ve been doing it for 35 years,” Brion Jeanette says. At Brion Jeannette Architecture, environmentally sound practices have been standard procedure since the firm’s founding in 1974. Brion Jeannette and his wife, Bonnie, wouldn’t have it any other way. “We meld green strategies into the design of our projects,” he says.” People like the way the sun plays on our homes.” Innovation is nothing new for Jeannette. The son of an inventor and artist, he and his five siblings grew up in an atmosphere of creativity. “My dad and the family invented the first cabover camper,” Jeannette says. “We also used to make our own Halloween masks out of molded latex.”


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His education at the University of Arizona–Tucson sparked his interest in environmentally sound practices. “In Tucson, it gets extremely hot, and the intense environment teaches you how to work with the sun,” he says. Later, with his own practice in California, he employed passive solar strategies such as putting the kitchen on the east side of a house to take advantage of the sunrise. Jeannette and his firm gained a reputation for what was then the new idea of green practices, and he was asked to help develop the standards for Title 24, the administrative code which governs energy in California.

This contemporary Italian Renaissance-style villa in Newport Beach, CA, is designed to offer both privacy and magnificent views of the Bay, creating an intimate retreat. The owners are international travelers who wanted a home that allows them to retreat from the world in a private, serene, and relaxing environment. To enter the home, they drive through an auto portal into a subterranean parking garage and then walk directly into their private paradise. Perched on the bluff above the Bay, this Villa captures the beauty of sailboats, glittering lights, and spectacular sunsets. The home’s indoor spaces can be completely opened to the private outdoor areas, creating a seamless union between the interior and exterior. The temperate Southern California climate allows for energy-efficient living with an abundance of natural light and cooling Pacific breezes.

In recent years, as sustainable practices have gained mainstream appeal, Jeannette has seen an upswing

Photos: eric figge

The Newport Bayside Villa


Serenity on the Pacific Located in a community full of typical, 1970s California ranch-style tract housing, this home’s owner completely remodeled her residence, requiring a home that would make her—and her guests—want to remove their shoes and inhale beauty. The exterior was designed to be sophisticated but not pretentious so the home can maintain a low profile in the neighborhood. Inside, the residence embraces a simple, Zen-like peacefulness, allowing the owner to relax and shut out the pressures of her busy corporate life. At the entry, guests are given a hint of the design with the large, intriguing entry doors. Once inside, the motion of water and light complement each other and create a transcendent atmosphere. Stepping pads heighten the mood as visitors are delighted by koi swimming around their feet and by panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean just beyond.

“We meld green strategies into the design of our projects. People like the way the sun plays on our homes.” Brion Jeannette

in demand. “Tax benefits for these systems have become pretty phenomenal. Now I have clients coming in and saying ‘I want green’ not only because of the tax benefits but because of an increased sensitivity to the environment,” he says. Of course, in addition to setting the standard for green practices, this firm has produced outstanding architectural work, exemplified by current projects including the Serenity on the Pacific residence. This home’s design takes advantage of a fabulous ocean view and great solar exposure and uses principles of feng shui to produce a soft Asian feel. To enter, visitors step over a zigzag concrete path with a koi pond located directly beneath. “From the street, it’s an unimposing, one-story home, but it’s a space that welcomes you in with a lot of wood and a soft Zen quality to it. It’s very open, and the spaces all relate to one another,” Jeannette says. In the back, a lift-and-slide door system opens to allow the inside, patio, and pool areas to become one continuous space.

Another recent project, a Newport Bay Villa, sits on a 70-foot bluff, “but you don’t perceive that until you’re in the house,” he says. “We were trying to create the feel of an old Italian villa with a freshened-up outside, but inside we stripped away all of that antiquity, and you walk into a modern, contemporary home.You’re going to experience the full depth of view with 11-foot-high plateglass windows. The lines inside are very clean. The real principle is we want to create an element of surprise.You turn the corner and say ‘This is unbelievable.’” The pool off the living room is cantilevered 70 feet off the ground, and a lift-and-slide door opens to a side patio with an indoor-outdoor fireplace, beckoning visitors to come and sit. Over the years, Brion, Bonnie, and firm principal Amy Creager have expanded their reach to include projects all over the world, in locales such as Saudi Arabia, Budapest, Hong Kong, and Croatia. This geographic diversity is the result of the firm’s focus on client satisfaction and creative solutions

because customers from their Newport Beach home base have sought the firm out to design other homes throughout the world. Even with all their success, Brion Jeannette isn’t finished setting goals: “We don’t take anything for granted. We have to stay on top of our game.” Judging from past results, that should be no problem.

A MESSAGE FROM LANDSCAPE DIMENSIONS Landscape Dimensions has been established in Southern California for more than 15 years and is proud of its working relationship with Brion Jeannette Architecture. Landscape Dimensions offers quality work performed in a professional manner. Services include landscape design, construction, and maintenance. It seeks to form relationships in the custom-architecture field upon which to build for the future and Brion Jeannette Architecture is clearly one of those relationships.

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luxury home quarterly


COUNTRY HOME With views of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west, this central-Virginia home’s screened dining room, family room, and 1,000-square-foot Bluestone terrace take advantage of the extensive vistas. The terrace’s materials were supplied by Charles Luck Stone Center (charlesluck. com) and installed by Eddie Barden, an 80-year-old stone-and-brick mason.

brwarchitects HIGH-END DESIGN INFORMED BY WORLD TRAVEL by Sandra Guy Brwarchitects’ principal and founder, Bruce Wardell, spent the first four years of his career in the Kingdom of Tonga in the Southwest Pacific. After completing a volunteer position with the Peace Corps, Wardell received a $500 grant, which enabled him to photograph and document Tonga’s remaining indigenous buildings for six months. He tape-recorded interviews to hear and preserve the stories of the few elderly men left who had built the buildings. “I recorded stories from dozens of village elders and craftsmen about how they had built these buildings, their significance, and the stories behind the elaborate patterns of decorative lashings that held the structures together,” Wardell says, recalling how he traveled throughout Tonga’s 180 islands to complete the project for Honolulu, Hawaii-based Bishop Museum.

p: 949 425 9144 | f: 949 425 9145

Wardell’s Peace Corps experience reflects his passion not only for listening to others’ stories, but to do work with meaning and mission. “It was an opportunity to do work where people at a very fundamental level really needed what we did for them,” he says. The Peace Corps work included

designing and building schools, clinics, community centers for women’s craft guilds, and water-collection systems to ensure fresh water. Today, Wardell describes his architectural firm’s work in much the same way. “We understand that each place in a client’s home carries a set of memories that may come from a trip, a past experience, a grandmother’s house, or a quality tied to a specific emotional or psychological story,” Wardell says. “When we design a house, we are designing something that evokes a series of memories, feelings, and emotions of what it means to live at home.” Brwarchitects’ reputation for residential design took off after the firm won a design award for an addition the company refers to as a “tower” for two boys. Each architect at brwarchitects specializes in a particular area: Wardell focuses on residential and ecclesiastical projects and oversees the design for the entire office, Kurt Keesecker leads the development and commercial design studio, and Charles Dickey leads the institutional studio

License #742016

Bruce Wardell, founder & principal

and is also designing his own line of modernist children’s furniture. The architects oversee their projects every step of the way from concept development through the completion of construction. Although brwarchitects has completed work throughout the country, it concentrates its portfolio within a few hours drive of its home base of Charlottesville, Virginia. The firm’s country residence project exemplifies brwarchitects’ expertise. The project added 2,500 square feet to a 3,000-square-foot country home and renovated the existing portions of the house, which sits on 11 acres and overlooks breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west. The clients wanted more family space to accommodate their four children. They needed more livable space and wanted to leverage the site’s magnificent views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Brwarchitects designed the living room to open onto a bluestone terrace with a screened dining room, providing an open vista onto the backyard, swimming pool, and the mountains beyond. The firm also crafted an in-home office, a play-andexercise room, a car barn, an auto courtyard, and a living room large enough for the family to enjoy together. The generously scaled space in the new living room opens to a gallery beyond, and oversized windows allow the space to visually expand to the landscape. Additionally, a series of pavilions and connections create the appearance of the home having been developed over an extended period. “I enjoy getting to know our clients and understanding how and why they want their homes to feel a particular way,” Wardell says. “It’s the building of that relationship that helps us design houses tailored to the specific needs and concerns of each client.”

112 fourth street, n.e. charlottesville, virginia 22902 4 3 4 . 9 7 1 . 7 1 6 0 w w w. b r w - a rc h i t e c t s . c o m


“We understand that each place in a client’s home carries a set of memories that may come from a trip, a past experience, a grandmother’s house, or a quality tied to a specific emotional or psychological story.”

For over 20 years, by word-of-mouth and acting, mostly, in an anonymous capacity with many well-known interior designers to meld often very diverse collections of art into harmony with new interiors, architectural and geographical surroundings, Jose is uniquely recognized as an “orchestrator” of the walls, always working to maximize the presentation of each work of art and arrangements of several correlated pieces, but always in total harmony with interior work and architecture --- no matter what the challenges may appear to be. “The placement and installation of works of art is an art. Within the context of interior design one might call it wall design. The consummation of this process can enhance or detract, embracing a total environment in a way that is either pleasing or visually scattered.” -Jose R. Bordes-Barrera

Jose R. Bordes-Barrera Donna Bordes-Barrera Florida 561.630.7160 New York 212.980.5058

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the teams

Partnerships and collaborations between architecture pros

Dungan Nequette harmony and balance from architecture to interior design

THE ZEITLAN HOME Dungan Nequette’s design of this retromodern home (retro in its appearance, modern in its amenities) centers around the courtyard, an open-air space situated to allow natural light to enter the home from all directions.

Since its beginning in February of 1999, the architecture firm of Dungan Nequette has been through it all, from a fast rise to the top to a gradual settling down into the successful, unique company it is today. Its creativity and excitement for the business have remained strong. In fact, when asked about which project he might consider his favorite, Jeff Dungan, principal and partner of the firm, took a page out of a familiar answer book by replying, “The next one. We’re always most excited about what we’re working on right now and what’s coming up next.” Dungan and his business partner, Louis Nequette, share a passion for architecture that began early on. Though they attended Auburn University at


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the same time, they didn’t know each other until several years after graduation, when they both worked for the same architecture firm in Birmingham, Alabama. Before long, the two decided to strike out on their own. “It was an unusual move because I was 32 and Louis was 28, which is fairly young in the architecture business,” Dungan says. “But we became friends, and we had similar views and a mutual respect for each other. We were just crazy enough to do it.” While it may have felt crazy at the time, when the two started Dungan Nequette in Nequette’s apartment sunroom, the business quickly took off and became a raging success. “The industry was growing at a fast pace, and we found ourselves in

a tidal wave of work,” Dungan says. The company grew to about 45 employees, with a second office opening at the beach in Florida and then a third in North Carolina. Around 2005 and 2006, however, things began to slow down, and Dungan Nequette started scaling back. “It was exciting for us at the time as young architects to start from scratch and grow to be one of the biggest architecture firms in the southeast,” Dungan says. “We went through the best of times and the worst of times, and we learned a lot. We enjoyed the growth, but now we’ve found our sweet spot.” Today, the company has settled to a manageable staff of around 15 employees in the original Birmingham office, and the owners are happy with

Photos: Colleen Duffley

by Laura Judy

the teams

BARN CHIC The Zeitlan home is made almost entirely of wood (no sheetrock), giving the home a barn-like feel.

the current size. “We learned that the bigger your firm is the more time you spend running the business than actually creating and doing the design work,” Dungan says. Currently, Dungan Nequette takes on 40 to 50 projects each year, including both commercial and residential work. About half of their projects are in and around Birmingham while the rest are around Lake Martin in eastern Alabama, on the beach in Florida, in the mountains of North Carolina, and at other locations. Many of these are vacation homes or second homes. To handle the variety of work that comes in, Dungan and Nequette work in two separate studios within the firm. “Of course, we share work back and forth, but we focus on different types of projects,” Dungan says. “Louis does some custom residential work and small- and mid-size commercial work, and he also works with a couple of super-creative large-scale residential developers who basically create little towns. My studio does some custom commercial work but focuses mainly on custom homes.” Over the years, Dungan Nequette has developed a unique design style. “We do have a distinct style, but it doesn’t have a name,” Dungan says. “Basically, our style relates to the people and clients we work with and their wants and needs. We want to create a home not to impress but to make a statement that is true to the people inside and what they value.” One of his favorite projects, the Zeitlin residence in Florida, is designed around a courtyard and pool with balconies that look out over the landscaping. “The whole house is made of wood, with cedar shakes on the roof and walls

and no sheetrock inside,” Dungan says. “It’s just a great house.” While the company’s style may be hard to define, they draw a lot of inspiration from the late 1800s and early 1900s—and especially from the Arts & Crafts style of architecture. They are also inspired by English and French country homes, and these styles blend together to form the Dungan Nequette look. “Even though I can’t name it, our style is distinct and recognizable,” Dungan says. “Sometimes friends will send me a photo of a house they’ve seen and ask if we designed it, and nine times out of 10 the answer is yes.” In addition to their architectural services, Dungan Nequette has expanded over the years to include several other divisions, including the G Brand, which does graphic art-related work, and Tracery Interiors, an interior-design firm. “We were frustrated with dealing with a lot of interior designers, but with Tracery, we do most of our own interior design now,” Dungan says. Together, Dungan and Nequette also own Action Sports Art and The Homes on Abbey Road. “We never want to limit ourselves to only being architects,” Dungan says. “We’ve learned a lot over the years, and we use those lessons to broaden our design skills to new markets and projects.” While Dungan and Nequette will continue to be aggressive in taking on new creative opportunities, they will always remain true to the company they started in an apartment nearly 12 years ago. “Our heart and day-to-day business will always remain rooted in architecture,” Dungan says.

Dungan Nequette’s Top Architectural Elements When it comes to overall architectural style, Jeff Dungan says, “We want our homes to be confident but not cocky. Good architecture has harmony and balance with details that make you want to see more.” Some of Dungan Nequette’s favorite elements in a home are: • Natural materials, such as stone. “They have a timeless quality;” • Glass. “Lots of glass lets in natural light and enhances the feel of a home;” • Outdoor spaces. “We try to create a natural flow between inside and outside;” • Subtle architecture. “We like designs that are not too fancy;” • Reasonable size. “We encourage clients to not make their homes too big, showing them that they can put that money back into quality and details.”

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luxury home quarterly


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the teams BETWEEN NEW AND OLD The mix of natural stone, some new and some old, with simple white trim and wood floors makes for an inviting nook between the old house and the new addition inside the first project Huestis-Tucker designed.

“We look closely at historical precedents, but we also admire a lot of modern and contemporary architecture.” Jennifer Huestis, principal

chitecture.” The firm first studies the house and its day-to-day uses in order to better integrate appearance and functionality. “We want our work to blend well with the rest of the property,” she says. “We’re often told that after a year or two, neighbors forget that it’s a new home or a major renovation. It fits so well, it looks like it’s always been there.”

Huestis-Tucker Architects husband-and-wife team designs HOMES THAT BLEND INTO ANY NEIGHBORHOOD

Huestis-Tucker Architects particularly enjoys working on waterfront vacation homes. “Both of us have fond memories about our families’ summer places,” Tucker says. “That’s why these projects are fun for us. We like designing a place where a family will create its own memories. So we do some things a little differently to make it a little more personal for them.”

In an industry where practitioners often have readily identifiable looks, Huestis-Tucker Architects, a six-person architecture and interior-design firm near New Haven, Connecticut, has taken the opposite approach and describes itself as a low-ego firm. “We don’t create something for our own gratification,” says principal Bob Tucker, AIA. “Instead, we make buildings that will keep our clients happy for a long time.”

That project led to several others in the Connecticut beach community. Since then, the couple has designed more than 100 residential, commercial, and corporate projects in the New England area and in New York, Pennsylvania, and Utah.

Huestis-Tucker has several serial renovators on its client roster. For example, the House on the Harbor in Greenwich, Connecticut, began in 1999 and is still in progress. It started when the owners (who had worked with Tucker on their previous home) asked the firm to design a carport, and that project grew and grew. While the carport was being completed, Huestis-Tucker began several other renovations, including exterior stucco work, roofing upgrades, the interior redesign of numerous rooms, the custom designing of windows, and the creation of an outdoor entertainment area, complete with a new pool.

The company was founded in 1998 by Tucker and his wife, Jennifer Huestis, AIA. Both were industry veterans when family friends hired them for a major renovation of a newly purchased home in Wilton, Connecticut. That success was followed by the designing and building of a new beach home

Although the company’s portfolio encompasses many design genres, the firm is most comfortable working in traditional styles, “But we’re not locked into any one style,” Huestis says. “We look closely at historical precedents, but we also admire a lot of modern and contemporary ar-

Nordic Custom Builders of Greenwich, Connecticut, performed all building and installation work for the renovations. “We had lots of great craftsmen on this project,” Tucker says. “People say you can’t find them anymore, but you can, and we’re fortunate that a lot of them are in our area.”

by Frederick Jerant for a friend’s parents to replace one that had been reduced to ashes by a fire. From those ashes, the new firm was born.

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luxury home quarterly


the teams The Rawl Residence Oversize hand-cut cedar shakes and an elevated stone patio give the Rawl Residence a pronounced exterior, distinguishing it from other homes on Figure Eight Island.

foot home’s green-design approaches include passive-solar techniques, the home’s siting, and the use of shade to mitigate heat and sunlight. Additionally, Hood-Herring’s construction approach and engineering allowed for foam insulation and high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, which significantly reduces the home’s energy costs. Another memorable project for Hood-Herring is the Rawl Residence, an expansive coastal home located on Figure Eight Island in North Carolina. Experienced in the design process themselves, the owners were active participants who enjoyed the process thoroughly.

Hood-Herring Architecture Luxury residences with a Southern flair by Julie Edwards As a company, Hood-Herring Architecture strives to meet both the functional and bottom-line requirements imposed by its clients while also making an aesthetic contribution to the community. “We like to say we practice a partnership with our clients,” says Tilghman Herring, one of the firm’s founders. “Our desire is to always engage our clients in the design process, creating a collaborative relationship that’s rewarding for both us and the client so they share a sense of ownership in the final design.” A full-service architectural firm, Hood-Herring was founded in 1995 by Herring and his partner, Jay Hood, in Wilmington, North Carolina. “Having worked in commercial architecture previously, I anticipated a commercial-architecture practice,” Herring says. “But Wilmington’s growth, particularly in high-end, golf, and waterfront communities, provided wonderful, creative residentialdesign opportunities. “Though our portfolio includes a variety of projects, including office buildings, award-winning


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historic renovations, and multifamily housing, it’s the custom residential design that is most rewarding,” he says. “The opportunity for real creativity and collaboration with the owner and contractor is gratifying.” In addition to luxury custom homes, another of the firm’s areas of specialty is green building, and the firm boasts a LEED-accredited architect on staff. A clear area of expertise for Hood-Herring is the ability to incorporate renewable resources and products into its luxury design solutions, achieving a reduced carbon footprint and lower operating expenses. “We also engage the landscape design early in the process, assuring that the outdoor space is created in coordination with the indoor space and building footprint,” Herring notes. “Often, the landscaping is an afterthought, but for us it is a critical component of the overall design solution.” One recent green project of note is the Keith Residence, which is remarkably eco-friendly for its size and luxurious appeal. The 5,000-square-

Significant design elements of the project include the interior stair, which became a key sculptural element of the home. Crafted from antique chestnut, it winds up an open, exposed chamber and is visible on all three levels of the home. Other striking elements include the massive exterior brackets, which features a six-foot balcony, 100-year-old chestnut flooring, chestnut beams (salvaged from an old barn) in the great room, and oversized hand-cut cedar shakes. “The collaboration here is most evident in the final design, from forms to materials to room configurations,” Herring says. “The house was designed over two years, allowing concepts to evolve rather than meet a deadline. It was a project of immense enjoyment.” Herring points to Tanyard Parish—an urban-infill project of nine condominium units in Wilmington, North Carolina—as one of the firm’s more challenging projects to date. Because it is located in the heart of one of the South’s oldest and most established historic districts, the project carried particular requirements for its contextual design. It needed to fit with its historic neighbors while also incorporating modern amenities. The resulting condominiums are a shining example of thoughtful redevelopment and have set a standard for all other urban-infill projects. As far as marketing strategies, the firm’s website has “served us well, and our reputation with local contractors earns us many referrals, and our clients offer strong endorsements and recommendations as well,” Herring says. “For the future, our goal is to continue to practice in our respective markets, providing greener, if no less luxurious, residential-design solutions.”

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• ••• • • •• • • •• • • • • • TEL: • • •••704-633-2421 • • •• ••• ••• •• • •• •FAX: •••• •704-633-3413 •• • •• •• • •• • • • •• •• • • •• • • • • •• • • • • • • • •

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If It Can Be Done, We Can Do It! Serving the state of Utah since 1990, Jerry Stubbs Construction specializes in custom log homes, recreational homes, remodeling, and additions, With nearly two decades of experience in the construction industry, second-generation builder Jerry Stubbs has created an impact with his visually striking homes and eye for detail, emphasizing the intimate connection between the home and its owner. Passing these high standards onto his son Trever Stubbs, we are positioned to continue creating impeccably crafted homes for years to come.


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Whether you are in the market for a new home or making improvements to an existing one, Jerry Stubbs Construction is here to help. Working hand-in-hand with Jerry and Trever, your building experience will be just as rewarding as the final product. By creating homes as if they were our own, we invest a greater deal of time and energy into the final outcome. It is our pleasure to deliver the highest quality, integrity, and distinction to your home.

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C O N S T R U C T I O N , INC. 1058 East 1420 S. | Spanish Fork, UT 84660 | Email: | Phone 801.360.1605

the teams

Pontis Architectural Group Utah County’s Best-Kept Secret in high-end homes by Amy Meadows Pontis Architectural Group, founded by Alan Shurtliff, AIA, and based in Springville, Utah, has done some truly innovative work over the last four years. From building an underground sports court to designing a pool house that connects to its adjacent main house through a tunnel, many of the firm’s projects are one-of-a-kind. However, most people will never see the finished products or even know that the company had anything to do with such cutting-edge designs. Shurtliff doesn’t mind at all.

That philosophy has been at the heart of Shurtliff’s successful 16-year career in architecture, which has included positions with such renowned firms as WPA Architecture, Royal Engineering, and Curtis Miner Architecture, working mainly on commercial projects. When his passion for estate-home design prompted him to pursue a new avenue in the industry, he joined forces with Paul Magleby of Magleby Construction to establish Pontis Architectural Group.

Working with some of Utah County’s most prominent and well-established residents, Shurtliff understands that a number of his clients value discretion when it comes to their personal residences. He’s more than happy to oblige. “For us, it’s not about the project,” he explains. “It’s about the client.”

Now solely at the helm of the firm and leading a small-yet-talented team of project managers and draftsmen, Shurtliff has cultivated a loyal client base through well-earned referrals, often being called time after time to work on new projects for his homeowners. And whether it’s a primary residence located in the valley or a vacation retreat


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MEET AND GREET In the Highland home, an expanded kitchen area allows for two large islands. Generous amounts of natural light pour into the space to allow for comfortable socializing, and decorative light fixtures separate the dining area and the kitchen space.

nestled high in the mountains, Shurtliff always knows where to start with the design process. “We have to know who we’re doing the work for,” he explains. “We have to spend time with our clients—getting to know them and figuring out who they are and how they live. When we do that, we can work to find the right design solutions for their particular needs.” In today’s challenging economy, as well as in a densely populated geographic area where property for new home construction is at a premium, many clients in Utah County find that remodeling their current homes is the best option. Shurtliff welcomes the unique challenges that are associated with renovations, as he understands the inherent value of having a knowledgeable and skilled archi-

The Commercial + Residential Renovators Inc.

FIRESIDE RETREAT A large water feature and a fire pit provide a secluded refuge in what used to be wild natural vegetation.

“When you’re young, you dream of designing someone’s dream home. And sometimes, when I look at the projects I get to work on, I actually tear up a bit. I really love where I am and what I do.” Alan Shurtliff, FOUNDER

tect direct the process. He also relishes the originality that he can infuse into each different project. Although many architects choose to develop a signature style, Pontis Architectural Group has found great success working in a variety of styles, being able to design everything from a modest Arts & Crafts home to a French Renaissance estate. For instance, when one of his clients wanted an open and airy kitchen that married a mountainretreat feel with a modern aesthetic, Pontis Architectural Group was able to create a space in which those seemingly disparate elements blend seamlessly. The home, which is located on the Sundance Ski Resort, now features a spacious, family-friendly kitchen with a teardrop-shaped island, stylish cabinetry, glass countertops, and more. The family is so happy that they framed the original sketch of the space and hung it on the wall. While the clients in Pontis’ Highland residence don’t have a sketch on the wall, they have a happy family just the same. Empty nesters, the couple wanted to make their home a bona fide getaway for their visiting children and grandchildren. From a

new media room and a backyard pool area to an apartment over the newly built detached garage to a landscaped area for gardening that includes a water element and a fire pit, the home now has something for everyone thanks to an extensive remodel. And all of the details were customized specifically for the clients. “It’s not our project—it’s their project,” Shurtliff says. “It’s all about their needs.” Of course, Shurtliff and his team at Pontis Architectural Group do get something out of their spectacular projects: pride. “We have a passion for architecture—we eat it, drink it, and sleep it,” he observes. “We want our clients to have the ultimate experience with us as we make their dreams a reality.” As Shurtliff strives to do this, his own aspirations—which he had back in his 11th grade drafting class—are also coming to fruition. “When you’re young, you dream of designing someone’s dream home,” he concludes. “And sometimes, when I look at the projects I get to work on, I actually tear up a bit. I really love where I am and what I do.”

45-644 Kionaole Rd Kaneohe, HI 96744 p: 808.239.2100

vacation homes

second homes and getaways across the globe

OCEAN VIEW Floor-to-ceiling windows provide expansive views of the Pacific Ocean and Hawaii’s premiere beach. The home’s adjacent lookout tower houses a reading room and an elevated vantage point for whale watching.

Kailua Oceanfront Courtyard Residence Peter Vincent Architects creates TREASURED ESCAPE ON ONE OF THE WORLD’S FINEST BEACHES by Zach Baliva Anyone seeking proof that the two miles of sand on the island of Kailua make up Hawaii’s best beach need only ask the White House. Although the President was born in Honolulu, he spent two recent vacations 12 miles northeast of his hometown in Kailua. President Obama, like many others, has discovered the fiftieth state’s best-kept secret. Peter Vincent, AIA, is the founding and managing partner of Honolulu, Hawaii’s Peter Vincent Architects (PVA). Before moving to Honolulu island to join another firm, Vincent lived in Phoenix, Boston, and Rome. When he launched his own practice in 1992, Vincent chose to remain on the archipelago. “Architects in Hawaii can really draw on cultural and climatic themes in the


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design process,” he says, pointing to the region’s diverse Asian, American, and European influences as inspiration. History, culture, and climate drove Vincent to design a 6,000-square-foot beachfront vacation home and garage with quintessential Hawaiian touches. The roofline, for example, follows the doublepitch aesthetic made popular my famed architect Charles Dickey in the early 1900s. Other native elements, such as coral, local stone, and the clients’ wooden-bowl collection, enhance the home’s island aura.

Kailua, Hawaii Population: 33,796 Attractions: Kawainui Marshland, Mount Olomana, Seabird Sanctuaries at Flat Island, and Mokulua Islands

A long and tapered lot compelled Vincent to provide an unusual layout. “We had to find a way to take maximum advantage of ocean views on the

FINE DINING Grass cloth between the high roof’s wooden beams capture ambient light to provide the perfect mood for entertaining.

“Architects in Hawaii can really draw on cultural and climatic themes in the design process.” Peter Vincent, AIA, Founding Partner narrow end of the property and still incorporate the owner’s program for the amount of square footage,” he says. While designing the house, Vincent was also responsible for two guesthouses that will be added to the property later. A campus-style arrangement of separate structures solves the orientation problem while enhancing the connection between indoor and outdoor spaces. Guests enter from the road into a courtyard adjacent to the detached garage, where an entry gate leads past sites for the two guest pavilions and into a larger courtyard and pool, which divide the lot before it opens into an outdoor garden that reveals the main house. In the back, another large garden area separates the house and ocean. Wire-brushed, stained-wood doors and windows give the home an antique patina, which is matched by cedar-shingled roofing and exterior coral stone. The rear garden courtyard is covered by the sloping roof’s overhangs, which create shelter from

wind, rain, and sun while preserving the unforgettable ocean views. “One key feature of this home is that you can be outside but still see the ocean through floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding pocket doors that make the walls vanish—although you’re still in a protected environment,” Vincent says. Exterior stone pavers and coral used both inside and out help both spaces unfold into one another. Grass cloth between the high roof’s wooden beams captures the soft light from a large overhead fixture. These and other elements create the

perfect mood for dining at the large and welcoming table in the kitchen’s sunken dining area. The space is surrounded by views of the ocean in the rear and of the courtyard and pool in the front. One of the most unique buildings on the site is an offset tower that serves two purposes. First, the small structure prevents a neighboring house from interrupting natural panoramic vistas. Second, the building is home to a small and serene reading room. A spiral stairway leads to a loft area where hopeful whale watchers can try their luck with the family’s telescope.

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WOOD REFINEMENT Reclaimed heart-pine barn wood on the ceilings and “saw marked” oak-wood floors instill comfort and relaxation. Natural wood tones invite the outside in and the inside out.

Amicola Bungalow Lake Gaston provides CORBITT HILLS CONSTRUCTION the perfect setting TO BUILD a year-round retreat by Tricia Despres

Lake Gaston, NC Driving down the deserted back roads of North Carolina, Corbitt Hills Construction owner Sid Cutts would often find himself pulling over to the side of the road in pursuit of priceless building materials that time had long forgotten. “North Carolina has an abundance of old, collected architectural items that can be utilized well if you know how and where to incorporate them into your project,” Cutts says. “There are a bunch of old tobacco farms in the area, and I would regularly stop by these places and pick up pieces such as old barn doors or flooring.” It was these sorts of pieces that inspired Corbitt Hills Construction’s Amicalola project—a vacation home on Lake Gaston. When construction began in January, 2009, the clients were looking


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for a comfortable, back-in-time feel for their second home and were open to using all sorts of unconventional materials. “As a builder, it was important to have that trust from the clients for me to assemble their vision, and I quickly understood the rustic elegance they were looking for,” Cutts says. “Sometimes you just have to get a little bold and keep old pieces the way you find them, whether that means they are old or tarnished or rusted. You never want these collected pieces to lose their character.” Recently named the “Southern Living Custom Home Builder” for Lake Gaston, Sid and Julie Cutts of Corbitt Hills Construction worked alongside interior designer Vicky Serany of Southern Studio and Atlanta architectural firm Garrell & Associates on the project.

Population: 150,000 Attractions: Fishing, water recreation, and golfing

Since this was the client’s vacation home, Cutts relied heavily on jobsite technology and realtime photography transmitted online to keep the homeowners in touch with the progress of the project. In fact, due to how well the team communicated online, the client would only visit the site around four times a month. “We really relied on photography to demonstrate the progress of the project,” says Cutts, who serves as a member of the Vance-Granville Homebuilders and the

Member of the National Wood Flooring Association. At Davis Wood Flooring we believe in the highest quality products and craftsmanship. We use the dustless sanding system and Greenguard finishes for a clean and enviromentally friendly job. We install all types of hardwood floors, custom designs, borders and medallions.

EASING IN The natural color palette of the exterior blends perfectly into the hillside, making the transition to and from the boathouse nonintrusive and inviting.

“North Carolina has an abundance of old, collected architectural items that can be utilized well if you know how and where to incorporate them into your project.” Sid Cutts, Owner

Lake Gaston Chamber of Commerce. “I would go out to the property during the day, and at night I would download those pictures and actually sketch on top of them. We were able to virtually communicate with the clients everyday without them having to make the two-hour trip to see their home in person.” The home’s unusual half-moon shape is prevalent throughout the layout with both the informal dining area and basement utilizing circular rooms. Even the outdoor deck goes on to emulate the same half-moon shape with all features ultimately reverberating back to the lake.

“It was very important to set this house on the lot properly,” Cutts says. “We also spent a lot of time focusing on the transition between the indoors and the outdoors. For example, the exterior stone was used on both the inside and the outside along with many of the overall textures.” Living just over an hour away in Raleigh, North Carolina, the clients have now been in their vacation home for the past two years. “They tell me that their blood pressure slows as they enter the property,” Cutts says. “Even for us, the second-home approach is a much more relaxed process. Sometimes we need to challenge our clients to keep the process fun and relaxed and not revert back to including features that you would typically find in a primary residence. This was the spot that they would migrate to for rest and relaxation, and never once did we forget this during the entire building process.”

Tracey Davis Davis Wood Flooring & Construction, LLC 3001 Thelma Road Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870 Phone: 252-536-8981 Website: Email:


Serving a unique niche in the custom-home industry

A JEDI MASTERPIECE Designed to the specifications of the owner, a Star Wars fan, this custom home theater is one of Smith Brothers Construction’s most unique projects.

Smith Brothers Construction Loyalty, Honesty, and Experience Add Up to Success by Susan Flowers Cheryl, whose 30 years in the restaurant business have given her the solid management background to help keep Smith Brothers Construction’s projects on budget and on schedule.

Smith’s work as a firefighter more than three decades ago provided an indirect route to ownership of Smith Brothers Construction, the firm he’s operated for 32 years. According to wife Cheryl, his partner in the company, Smith’s long shifts at the Solana Beach, California, firehouse meant two or more days off in a row. Like many of his coworkers, Smith spent off days working on construction sites—and thereby learned almost every trade in the industry, from framing to concrete to stone. “He knows it all, from the ground up,” says

Today, Smith Brothers Construction works on high-end custom homes, creating luxury dwellings such as a recent contemporary residence in Moani’ala, Hawaii. The home, which features an award-winning home theater and breathtaking views, is designed in a semi-circular fashion around the living room. Among its numerous amenities is a kids’ pool with an infinity edge and a mosaic slide into the larger adults’ pool. The home theater, which won the 2010 PCBC Award of Merit for Best Interior Space, is designed


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around a Star Wars theme and resembles the inside of a spaceship. Like all Smith Brothers Construction projects, the Moani’ala home was designed using green practices and sustainable materials. Cheryl says that first and foremost, working in an eco-friendly way is the right thing to do. But she also believes that incorporating these materials and technologies into their homes puts her clients ahead of the

Photos: Larny Mack

Firefighter to construction-company owner is an unusual career path, but the two seemingly unrelated fields gave Jeff Smith a solid foundation for success in the building industry.


Out of This World

“We’re as good as the last house we’ve built. You don’t ever rest on your laurels.” Jeff Smith, founder curve. “It may be more expensive now, but in five or ten years, it will all come back,” she says. The firm makes a point of using green paint, recyclable woods and other repurposed materials which would otherwise be discarded, such as the flooring from a demolished Boston chocolate factory used in a recent project. Many homes created by Smith Brothers Construction feature solar panels and garages with plug-ins for clients’ electric cars. Another consistent feature of Smith Brothers Construction’s projects: client trust. Although the firm offers design services in addition to building, “We don’t charge until we actually perform the work and pay our own bills first,” Cheryl says. Jeff works to be available to clients in ways that go above and beyond the norm, and a budget drafted before

each project begins lets customers know exactly what their costs will be. “Jeff’s been doing this for so long that it’s easy for him,” Cheryl says. “He values their friendships, and he makes sure he exceeds their expectations. There’s a real trust factor there.” But even with all of their experience and outstanding track record, expectation always remain high. “We’re as good as the last house we’ve built.You don’t ever rest on your laurels.”

Smith Brothers Construction’s recent contemporary-home project in Moani’ala, HI, is an example of their commitment to excellence. The 12,000-square-foot residence features four bedrooms, seven bathrooms, and an award-winning home theater as the signature room. Inside the theater, the homeowners and their guests can relax in six luxurious recliners as they gaze up at a ceiling designed to look like outer space, complete with star-like lighting. Created around a Star Wars theme, the theater resembles the interior of a spaceship, accented by characters from the movie. The home also sports a semi-circular layout and an upper-level balcony.

With a thriving business and five kids between them (two are still in college, and the other three are out on their own), the Smiths keep busy. Their goals for the immediate future are clear: They want to continue to grow in their California and Hawaii home bases. “Everybody’s had a rough two years,” Cheryl says. “We’re really grateful for the work we’ve had, and we just want to continue to grow the business.”

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Landscape Water Features Irrigation Design / Build

Pools Spas Grills


Dedicated to quality and service

Construction & Remodel

Gemini Pool & Spa Commercial & Residential License # C-17654

406 Kamehameha Hwy., Pearl City, HI 96782 | (808) 488-7419 |

970-532-1717 1060 E. CR 6C Berthoud, CO 80513


George Shaeffer Construction Company

the Bachelor Gulch Residence The contemporary living room inside this Shaeffer Construction home features a ceiling comprised of Alder wood that has been certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.

MOUNTAINSIDE LUXURY MEETS SUSTAINABILITY by Julie Edwards Making people’s dreams of a luxury mountain home a reality is the ultimate goal of Coloradobased George Shaeffer Construction Company. “Since 1979, our company has maintained a tradition of building the finest residences in the Vail Valley,” says David Hyde, vice president of the company. “Our objective is to provide a superior quality product that’s delivered through the highest level of professional service. We undertake a select number of projects at any one time to ensure each project exceeds our client’s expectations. Our company excels when working as part of a collaborative team and prides itself on creating a positive working relationship with our clients, design teams, and subcontractors while integrating our services to form a comprehensive process that results in a truly quality home.”

Hyde runs the day-to-day operations for Shaeffer Construction while George Shaeffer, the company’s founder, serves as president and CEO, setting the company’s strategic direction. “It’s very enjoyable to work with a client and develop a personal relationship during the course of building their home,” Hyde says. “Ours is a very intimate building approach—we seek inspiration from the client and focus on why they want to live here, how they plan to use their home, and what goals they want to accomplish. These are far more important questions than the size or style of a home.” Currently, the company employs 23 associates with an average company tenure that exceeds 17 years, a level of experience that helps set them apart from the competition. For the past decade, the company has been focusing on sustainable

building and now incorporates green elements into all its projects. In 2002, Hyde became a LEED-accredited professional and, since that time, has endeavored to incorporate sustainable techniques into all of the projects he has undertaken. Shaeffer Construction not only focuses on green practices for their clients but has looked within as well to implement a company-wide waste-management and recycling program. The firm has also focused on greening the business through products purchased, including a 10-kW photovoltaic system on the company’s headquarters. “I became interested in green building because it was very apparent that it’s a better and more rewarding way to build,” Hyde says. “Our company’s

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soaking in the views of vail Showcasing Shaeffer Construction’s commitment to sustainable building, this outdoor living space in Vail, CO, was built with stone indigenous to Colorado and quarried within 500 miles.


Specializing in the installation and maintenance of complete plumbing and heating systems. Including in-floor radiant heat, snowmelt and solar systems. Residential and commercial new construction and remodels. 30 years of experience 18 years serving the Vail Valley

p: 970.926.5862 PO Box 1303 Edward, CO 81632

focus now is on building homes that are both environmentally friendly and aesthetically pleasing.” Some of the many sustainable products and techniques the company utilizes on a regular basis include renewable energy sources such as solarthermal and geothermal systems; high-performance, blown-in insulation; energy-efficient windows; passive-solar design; low-VOC finishes; radiant heating; LED lighting systems; FSC-certified wood; low-flow plumbing fixtures; and nativeplant landscaping. Hyde adds that he is encouraged by a movement in Vail toward renovation. “Vail had a big growth spurt in the 1970s—these homes are located on some prime real estate and the trend we’ve seen is to modernize homes rather than move,” he says. “Typically, we’re replacing old systems with modern, energy-efficient options such as LED-lighting or solar-thermal heating.” One of the company’s recent notable projects was a luxury 8,000-square-foot residence in Bachelor Gulch, Colorado. The home features numerous

sustainable aspects including a photovoltaic and thermal solar-panel system, beetle-kill wood cabinetry (lumber from standing dead lodgepole pines that are indigenous to Colorado and have been killed by pine beetles), a super-insulated roof system, blown-in insulation throughout, SFI-certified wood for framing, PEFC wood flooring, and FSCcertified wood for siding. The company is also working on a 10,000-squarefoot home in Beaver Creek, Colorado, and a 7,000-square-foot residence in Mountain Star, Colorado. In the future, Hyde notes that Shaeffer Construction wold like to build a net-zero or near-net-zero home. “We also plan to continue incorporating Building Information Modeling (BIM) into our current process to enhance the building experience—we would like to be a part of a team who uses BIM in all aspects from architecture and mechanical systems to structural design,” Hyde says. “We believe that this is the future of design and construction.”

Introducing The All-New • View the latest issue of Luxury Home Quarterly in a full-size, readable format • Get inspired by featured projects, builders, architects, and designers • Discover what’s in store for upcoming issues and how your company can get involved • Find out what events the Luxury Home Quarterly staff will be attending and more!


Fine cabinetry, custom furniture and kitchens handcrafted to our Client’s style and taste april 2011

luxury home quarterly


Photo: tom arban

Quality in the making. . . Est. 1971


The Starry Night Farm New and old blend seamlessly together in this hilltop farmhouse overlooking the rolling pastures of Chester County, PA. In the style of the 18th-century farms that enrich this area, the property contains a farmhouse with walls made of salvaged fieldstone from an old barn, a horse barn, and two wooden carriage houses. The six-stall horse barn (above) features a broad, sheltering roof and all of the firm’s key barndesign elements. The dining room (left) features salvaged timber-frame beams on the ceiling, country antiques, a wide-plank timber floor, and reproduction antique light fixtures.

firms holds an abiding interest in preserving and enhancing Philadelphia’s rich tradition, historic suburbs, and rural surroundings. “We find ourselves in a market in demand of historic influences, so our new construction is historically driven, and our restoration embodies historic preservation,” says Richard Buchanan, AIA, founding partner of Archer & Buchanan Architecture.

MERGING TRADITIONAL FORMS WITH RECLAIMED MATERIALS FOR A FRESH PHILADELPHIA FARMSTEAD by Kaleena Thompson The future once hung in the balance for a dilapidated contemporary pink-stucco and glass house on a hilltop overlooking Chester County, Pennsylvania. Now an 18th century-style farmstead reigns supreme on the rolling hills of the Brandywine Conservancy. Composed of a stone Colonial-style


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main house, carriage house, and barn, the property blends new and old seamlessly together. The land, nicknamed Starry Night Farm, was brought to life by West Chester, Pennsylvaniabased Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd. The

The first order of business was to assess the displaced pink house. The clients were open to renovation; however, Archer & Buchanan had other plans. “We demolished the pink house and built a very traditional farmhouse of superlative quality,” Buchanan says. Inspired by the 1720s Pennsylvania stone farmhouse, the clients were dedicated to the centuries-old design. “The clients searched near and far for antique architectural elements that respected their vision for historic character,” Fogle says. Reclaimed materials such as salvaged doors and jambs, window sills, and rugged wooden floors play to the 18th century vernacular and boost the sense that the 6,000-square-foot house and 33-acre site were meant for each other.

Photo: Jim Graham

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.

Since its inception in 1996, the company has also earned an earnest reputation in farms and equestrian facilities. Most notable is Starry Night, where “the clients wanted a home that could serve them and their guests for weekend stays and cater to their individual interests while still retaining the spirit of the Pennsylvania farmhouse,” says Jessica Fogle, LEED AP.

The adoption of antique materials punctuates Starry Night Farm, so much so, in fact, that it could fade into a history book. “Before, the landscape was an eyesore, but now it’s an understated classic farmhouse overlooking the valley,” Buchanan says. Although traditional in character, the layout is that of a contemporary home. The basement features an award-winning home theater, a study, and a wine cellar. The handrail and robust balusters lead the way to the upper floors, which contain additional bedrooms and bathrooms. A combined attached garage-carriage house is complete with an apartment above it. On the main level, the kitchen is a central presence and opens to the dining room, living room, and back porch. The rooms increase the living space and enhance options for relaxation or entertaining. “As guests transition from one room to the other, there is still a relationship,” Buchanan says. Separate from the house, a six-stall barn completes the Chester County farmstead. The barn includes fieldstone salvaged from an old barn near the property.

Experts in historic renovations, Archer & Buchanan’s award-winning 1898 Stable Renovation at the Alan H. Reed Estate in Wayne, Pennsylvania, is also worthy of high praise. The architects converted dilapidated horse stalls, carriage bays, and hay lofts to a four-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath residence and perfected its worn Tudor aesthetic. “William Price was the original architect, and we wanted to retain the architectural integrity of the time period, ” Buchanan says. The exterior brick walls were restored with a matched mortar mix. The pebbledash stucco was repaired, and the original clay roof was salvaged. The interior is reflective of the exterior. “The owners are able to see the structure inside since exposed timber is carried through the interior of the ceiling,” Buchanan says. Wood beams and cast-iron beams, antique salvaged oak flooring, deep chamfers, and balusters are just some of the historic hallmarks. Whether it’s building, restoring, or renovating homes, Archer & Buchanan is saving a part of Philadelphia’s past.

Archer & Buchanan’s Top Barn-Design Elements When Archer & Buchanan Architecture designs barns, the firm is sure to include five elements that give the structure its superior frame and finish:

David Dougan Cabinet Maker Fine Architectural Millwork & Cabinetry -Since 1983-

1. Proportions for the horse. The stalls, sliding doors, and Dutch doors provide the horses comfort, ease of movement, and easy access to the outside; 2. A center aisle. This open-air area allows cross breezes through stalls and access to both sides; 3. Bank-barn design. Built into the landscape, this barn-design style features a loft for hay storage that includes floor hatches for dropping hay into the stalls; 4. A tack room. This space comfortably accommodates storage, a powder room, feed bins, and blanket storage. This is often the social center of the barn; 5. Durable materials. The barn features a palette of stone, wood, concrete, and rubber mats with durability to spare. Phone: 610-566-3896 Fax: 610-566-4336 3432 Providence Road Media, PA


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Professional Services & Organizations ARCHITECTURE Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.,, 140-141 Biglin Architectural Group,, 115-116

Steigerwald-Dougherty,, 114

Danny Lee Photography,, 6-7, 99, 100-104

Weilert Custom Homes,, 30-31

Denise Lebreux,, 146 Eric Figge,, 118-119 Eric Staudenmaier,, 24

BOKa,, 2-3, 57-64


Brion Jeannette Architecture,, 118-119 brwarchitects,, 120-121 Compas Architectural Design,, 75

C. W. Howe Partners,, 24

Hoachlander Davis Photography, LLC,, 26-27

Structures Inc.,, 109 & 144

Jäger & Jäger, 20


James Westphalen,, 8, 76-82

AWFS®Fair,, 16

Jim Graham Photography,, 140-141

Craig Steely Architecture,, 84-90

International Contemporary Furniture Fair,, 16

Kevin Gray Photography,, 92-93

Don Duffy Architecture,, 116-117

LIGHTFAIR® International,, 16

Larny Mack Photography,, 135-136

Cooper, Robertson & Partners,, 52

Dungan Nequette,, 122-123, 124 Hood-Herring Architecture PLLP,, 126

National Convention and Design Exposition,, 16 National Green Building Conference,, 16 FINANCIAL Guaranteed Rate,, 4

Huestis-Tucker Architects, LLC,, 125 IS Architecture,, 112-113


Michael Minadeo + Partners,, 8, 76-83

Alana Homesley Interior Design,, 24

Peter Vincent Architects,, 130-131

A.W. Design, Inc.,, 40-41

Pontis Architectural Group,, 128-129 Richard Meier & Partners Architects LLP,, 25 Robert G. Sinclair Architecture, Inc.,, 147 Rob E McQuay Architects & Associates,, 6-7, 99, 100-104 Rockefeller Partners Architects,, 24

Rien Van Rijthoven,, 85-90 Stanley Capps Photography,, 116 Strotz Photography,, 40-41 Ted Yarwood,, 34-35

De La Torre Design, 53-56


Gluckstein Design,, 34-35

Acker & Sons Inc.,, 28

The Inman Company,, 91 Joseph Stabilito Designs,, 39-40 Jose R. & Donna Bordes-Barrera, 212-980-5058, 121

Ast & McFerrin Plumbing & Heating Inc., 970-926-5862, 138 Connor Co.,, 11 POOLS & SPAS Gemini Pool & Spa,, 136

Liz Caan Interiors LLC,, 146

South Coast Architects, Inc.,, 110-111

Marie Burgos Design,, 32-33


Marjorie Shushan, Inc.,, 61

Lynd Development Partners,, 15


Patrik Lönn Design,, 5, 43-45

AC Design & Development Corp.,, 34

Paula + Martha, LLC,, 47-51

Carlson-Farmer, Inc.,, 117

Robin Baron Design Inc.,, 37-38

Christiani Construction,, 28-29, 30 The Commercial + Residential Renovators Inc.,, 129 Corbitt Hills Construction,, 132-133 C. Stasky Associates LTD.,, 63

Rose Tarlow Melrose House,, 25

Landscape Dimensions, Inc.,, 119 & 120 McCaren Designs Inc.,, 144

Finton Construction,, 66-75

OLIN,, 75

George Shaeffer Construction Company,, 137-138

Pamela Burton & Company,, 24

Jerry Stubbs Construction, Inc.,, 127 O’Neill Development,, 26-27 Rocky Mountain Environmental Construction Inc., 970-532-1717, 136

PHOTOGRAPHY Art Gray, 310-663-4756, 5, 67-75 Atlantic Archives,, 144

Tom Preis Construction, 24

Carrie Gensler, 43-45, 91

Smith Brothers Construction,, 134-135

Colleen Duffley Photography,, 122-123

april 2011

SPECIALTY Mead & Josipovich Inc., 718-492-7373, 25


D. Reis Contracting,, 63

luxury home quarterly

Phillip Ennis,, 47-51 Liz Ordonez,, 57-64

Horst Architects, Inc.,, 105-109


Philip Flicks,, 37-38


Eames Office,, 68

Jonathan Adler,, 50 & 96

EmmeBi,, 98¬¬


Opinion Ciatti,, 23 & 98

Erik Jørgensen,, 19

Park Avenue Interiors,, 48

Pallucco,, 22

Fredericia Furniture,, 23

Ralph Lauren,, 50 & 54

Hellman-Chang,, 17


Tom Dixon,, 12

Herman Miller,, 89

Compas,, 148

Sachin + Babi,, 42

The Hon Company,, 87

Pro Design, Inc,, 64 & 65

Room For Children,, 145

Keleen Leathers,, 56 Ligne Roset,, 89



Maurice Villency,, 39

Camira Fabrics,, 14

1stdibs,, 55

Molteni&C,, 20

Christopher Hyland Inc.,, 53

Circa Antiques,, 46

Moooi,, 19, 21

Frette Fine Linens,, 43

Christie’s,, 53 & 54

Moroso,, 89

Izquierdo Studio,, 47

Cynthia Findlay Antiques,, 35 & 36

Nils Holger Moormann,, 20, 23

KnollTextiles,, 48 & 49

Donna Parker Habitat, Ltd. Antiques,, 48

o4i,, 14

Eileen Lane Antiques,, 46

Ralph Pucci,, 55

John Norwood Antiques,, 49

Roman Thomas,, 44

Todd Merrill Antiques,, 54

OFFI & Company,, 96

Umbra,, 88 urbancase,, 20


west elm,, 50

Delorenzo Gallery,, 56

Zanotta,, 18

Jeff Koons,, 49 Michelle Oka Doner,, 45


The Pace Gallery,, 56

Softline International, Inc.,, 47

Robert Graham,, 73 KITCHEN & BATH SYSTEMS CABINETRY David Dougan Cabinet Maker,, 141 CARPETS & RUGS Edward Fields,, 48 FJ Hakimian,, 45 Kravet,, 41 Michaelian & Kohlberg,, 41

bulthaup,, 25 LIGHTING Artemide,, 87 A. Rudin,, 41

Penn & Fletcher Inc.,, 48 Pollack Associates,, 39 Romo,, 42 STARK,, 54 WALLCOVERINGS & PAINT Brunschwig & Fils,, 55 Elizabeth Dow,, 45 Lillian Heard Studio,, 36 & 37 McCown Painting,, 145 TylerGraphic,, 55 WINDOWS & DOORS Advanced Window & Door Design,, 104 Integrity Windows and Doors,, 124 Marvin Windows and Doors,, 124 Ring’s End Lumber,, 124

BEGA,, 24 Bocci,, 24


Dana Creath Designs,, 41

MechoShade Systems,, 87

Foscarini,, 15, 96


Hammerton Lighting,, 40

Brandon Thompson, 571-276-5463, 65


Lucifer Lighting Company,, 24

Goodman Millwork Company,, 127

Fireorb,, 88,, 21

Western Red Cedar Lumber Association,, 24

Patterson, Flynn & Martin,, 55 & 56

Studio Metz,, 41 FLOORING Davis Wood Flooring, 252-536-8981, 133

METALS Morgik Metal Designs,, 44 & 45


William Paul’s Fine Furnishings and Woodwork, Inc.,, 114 Woden Woods,, 139

Soraya LTD,, 52

2Modern,, 95, 96, 97 Aurelien Barbry,, 15


Bonluxat,, 87

Bossini,, 14

Burton James,, 41 Busnelli,, 19


Charles P. Rogers Beds,, 50

Four Hands,, 92-93

Cherner Chair Company,, 7

Hive,, 7, 95, 97, 98

Donghia,, 39,, 144

april 2011

luxury home quarterly


products + services spotlight

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Cynthia Peterson or Jennifer Johnson (800) 524-7081

Larny Mack (760) 433-1865

McCaren Designs Inc.


luxury home quarterly

april 2011

Special Advertising Section

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Room For Children: Stylish Spaces for Sleep and Play Room for Children, written by Susanna Salk with a foreword by Kelly Wearstler, is the first book to present excellent design for children’s rooms. These unique spaces created by well-known designers, parents, and often even the kids themselves, prove that children’s rooms are worthy of serious design attention.

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


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

Jim Westphalen New England based photographer, Jim Westphalen specializes in interiors and architecture. His images appear regularly in such fine shelter publications as Design New England, New England Home, Better Homes and Gardens, Custom Home and Fine Home Building as well as dozens of home and garden books.

april 2011

luxury home quarterly


At home with

home in downtown Chestnut Hill, Ma Lived there 7 years

Liz Caan New England-based interior designer Liz Caan, founder of Liz Caan Interiors LLC, tells LHQ how her progressive yet traditional design style took form in her home office.

LHQ: Thanks for showing us your home! What makes this home office a place you want to work?

LC: The location, the colors, and the natural light. It is located right off the living room, amongst the hustle and bustle of our home. I furnished the space just as I would any other room and kept the colors bright and cheery.

LHQ: How would you describe the design of your home office? What inspired it?

LC: It’s a classic room in a 1920s Georgian Colonial. While the house is relatively classic and conservative, the colors and furnishings are anything but. It was inspired by one of my Henri Maik paintings that remind me of Palm Beach in the 1970s.

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

LC: My personal design style is generally colorful and playful, yet practical and functional. The colors and the whimsical accents mixed in with antiques and family heirlooms are exactly what I like to mix together to make spaces personal, yet not overly serious…a little quirky.

LHQ: How does your home office help you serve your clients? LC: It’s a home and it’s comfortable and lived-in and realistic. My home office is a reflection of my life with pets and children so I am able to show clients that an office can be a beautiful room with prime real estate and not an afterthought tucked away and furnished from an ‘office’ store.

LHQ: What is your favorite piece in the space? LC: My favorite piece is the desk. It is a family piece with a rich and storied past and I like to think we are continuing the tale.

The Pieces Tray: Jonathan Adler Needlepoint Backgammon Set,

Ottoman Fabric: Brunschwig et Fils,

Floral Desk Chair: F. Schumacher,


luxury home quarterly

april 2011

Chair fabric: Quadrille,

Side Table: Tiny Liz Table by Oomph!,

photo: Denise Lebreux

Ottoman: Custom Design by Liz Caan Interiors,

Artichoke Lamp: Stray Dog Designs Artichoke Lamp,

P H O T O : D AV I D O . M A R L O W




P H O T O : M AT T M E N D E L S O H N


“ With RGS Architecture, Rob Sinclair, the firm’s Principal, is with FAW N L A K E , VA

you from concept to completion. He and his seasoned team listen, ask questions, and anticipate challenges before they arise. My wife and I worked in lockstep with Rob for three years and

couldn’t be any more delighted with our lake house.





(C) 970.948.4269 -


W W W. R G S A R C H I T E C T U R E . C O M

Interior Design: Lauren Steichen. Cal-a-Vie Spa