Italianate house by TEA2 Architects

Mediterranean-style home by TEA2 Architects features classical architecture with arches, loggias, private balconies, solid stone

This pavilion-style indoor pool is flooded with natural ceiling, column, daylighting, estate, home, interior design, lobby, property, real estate, structure, swimming pool, thermae, window, orange
This pavilion-style indoor pool is flooded with natural light from a glazed roof. The columns are close to the water, enhancing the effect of a Roman bath. The house was designed by TEA2 Architects.
Architect Dan Nepp of TEA2 talks about the architecture with Trends editorial director Paul Taylor.

Integrity is a word often used by architects, but it is most aptly applied when an established architectural style is being reinterpreted for modern living.

For architect Dan Nepp of TEA2 Architects, a commitment to integrity and authenticity informed the design of the Italianate house featured on these pages.

"The house is in a prestigious suburb, on a large site," says Nepp. "The neighbouring properties feature stately, gracious homes and this house needed to complement the scale and picturesque quality of the surroundings. A Mediterranean architectural style was chosen by the owners, and it needed to be authentic in terms of its scale, materials and detailing. Strong, classical forms were essential, to balance the expected flourishes and enrichment of the interior the owners planned."

The formal gated entry leads to a large courtyard that follows the Italian tradition, harking back to a time before cars. These can be parked around the side of the house, ensuring that the formal grandeur and symmetry of the exterior are not compromised.

Walls and columns are of stone the precise pattern and size of each block was defined by the architects and laid with fine 6mm joints. And each arched opening features a carved keystone set in the authentic manner. Further evidence of the attention to detailing can be seen in the traditional wood-lined eaves and carved wood rafters that enrich the transition from stone walls to tiled roof.

Nepp says the architecture was also driven by the owners' desire for an atrium-style grand salon a feature inspired by the great glazed barrel vaults so often seen in historic railway stations in Europe.

"The owners' desire to have this open, airy space at the heart of the home drove the design," he says. "The other rooms needed to wrap around this internal courtyard this helped to determine the formal symmetry of the architecture."

Entry to this Italianate house is through the furniture, home, interior design, living room, room, window, white
Entry to this Italianate house is through the front loggia, which is furnished with drapes, a rug, and inviting sitting areas. The house was designed by TEA2 Architects.

The architect says a request for generous loggias at both the front and rear of the house was another design influence. With casual outdoor furniture and drapes softening the arched openings, the front loggia creates an inviting, glamorous entry.

A touch of whimsy is also evident at the entry, where two verses of a poem are etched into the marble floor.

"We always recommend owners inject their own personalities into their home, and it was especially appropriate for this home that the owner's fun, welcoming personalities were evident right from the entrance," says Nepp.

The entry is also designed to draw people through the house there is a visual axis right through the grand salon and out to the loggia and landscaped gardens at the rear.

"Natural light spilling into the grand salon draws you through," says the architect.

"The layering of spaces means that despite the openness of the grand salon, the entire home is not revealed at once. There is a suggestion of something more beyond."

The sense of anticipation is reinforced by a fusillade of open spaces defined by monumental stone columns, which lead through to the grand salon. Here, as the name suggests, everything is on a grand scale from the soaring glazed barrel roof, windows and doors, to the stately columns and the scale of the furnishings, which include glittering chandeliers, large sofas and a 12-seat dining table.

A suspended room in the salon in this baluster, building, column, facade, structure, window, orange, brown
A suspended room in the salon in this Italianate house is an eyrie retreat for the owners, complete with a hanging day bed and traditional furnishings. The house was designed by TEA2 Architects.

Another unexpected and somewhat playful feature is a floating room suspended high above the salon at one end. Like a house within a house, this lantern-style structure features glazed walls that provide expansive views.

"The owner had her heart set on a special room that would seemingly float at the end of the grand salon," says Nepp. "The sensation of floating would be further heightened by two hanging daybeds."

Nepp says it was important that all the rooms surrounding the grand salon could take advantage of the natural light and airy quality. The salon is consequently open to the kitchen, family room and sunroom.

The attention to interior detailing can be seen in all these spaces, which reflect the owners' unique style. An elaborate, armoire with a hand-carved, gilded cornice and painted Tuscan columns anchors the main kitchen, and custom carved lion legs introduce a touch of whimsy to the substantial island.

"Much of the interior design was about breaking away from convention," says Nepp.

For example, the family room beside the kitchen features a triple fireplace hand carved from stone. Colourful furnishings, green walls and a collection of portraits above the fireplace further enhance the relaxing, friendly ambience.

Other key features of the home include a pavilion-style indoor pool, which has a glazed gable roof. An outdoor fireplace within the rear loggia overlooks the picturesque Italianate landscaping, with its rolling green lawns and a colonnaded seating area opposite.

Oct 06, 2013
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