Outside in contemporary home by Charles R Stinson

Bold geometry by architect Charles R Stinson
Bold geometry by architect Charles R Stinson architecture, condominium, daylighting, estate, facade, home, house, interior design, property, real estate, roof, window, orange
Bold geometry by architect Charles R Stinson

There is something about a welcoming entry that's guaranteed to lift the spirits for family and guests alike.

It's a concept architect Charles R Stinson is very familiar with, and one he likes to introduce to all his projects. For this house, it's a long, park-like driveway, a collection of low flat roofs reminiscent of a village, and a lantern-style tower shining like a beacon that invite you in.

"We also added a trellis walkway leading up to the house," Stinson says. "The low height gives the entry a very human scale and ensures it is not too intimidating. This axis runs right through the house to continue on the other side, reinforcing the connection between inside and out. Beyond the house it becomes a vertical trellis that cloaks an outdoor stair tower near the pool, and then continues horizontally."

The link between the indoors and outdoors is also enhanced by the material selection. Local stone features on the paving, columns and high blade walls that pierce through the horizontal planes of the house to form chimneys. Wood is also used extensively inside as well as out, with ceilings lined in cedar, floors laid in walnut and cabinets manufactured in Australian walnut.

"The entire house is a layered composition of individual forms, planes and materials, from the stone and wood to Venetian plaster, metal and limestone," the architect says. "It is a very clean palette where each material is respected, and serves to create a greater harmony."

Stinson says the materials also meet the owners' requirement for modern architecture that would be warm and inviting. A light-filled, open-plan interior was another requirement.


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There are fireplaces at both ends of this great room in a contemporary home designed by Charles R Stinson. These are highlighted by large floating panels with a white Venetian plaster finish.

With windows soaring the full height of the great room, there is plenty of natural light. But the direct rays of the sun are kept at bay by large internal soffits that extend through the walls to form the roofs of the alfresco living areas fronting the pool beyond.

"The soffits also help to keep the living spaces intimate, and they reinforce the strong geometry of the house," says Stinson. "Studies have shown that such horizontal lines have a leveling role to play they help to ground the architecture and create a more comfortable living environment."

Opposing these forms are the towering stone blade walls at either end of the great room. These house fireplaces, including a double-sided fireplace between the dining room and study. Flat white planes above these fireplaces appear to float off the stone walls.

The floating analogy also applies to the kitchen, where a bank of overhead cabinets above a window seems to float above the glass. In contrast, the kitchen is anchored at either end by large walnut-clad volumes that house large appliances and pantries.

A sense of transparency provides vital visual connections within the house as well as to the outdoors. An open stairwell ensures the link is vertical as well as horizontal.

But the focus of the architecture is just as much about the alfresco living spaces thanks to a temperate climate that allows the owners to spend much of the year outdoors.

A strong geometry of overlapping horizontal and vertical architecture, estate, evening, home, house, leisure, lighting, property, real estate, reflection, resort, resort town, sky, swimming pool, villa, water
A strong geometry of overlapping horizontal and vertical planes defines this new house by architect Charles R Stinson. A low trellis walkway that starts at the front entry continues out the other side of the house, where it becomes a vertical element wrapping an outdoor staircase.

Large sliding doors in all the living rooms and the master suite open up to the pool landscape and the covered outdoor seating areas. There is also a double-sided fireplace that serves the master bedroom and alfresco living area.

"Essentially, the house wraps around three sides of a Zen-garden poolscape," says Stinson. "Here again, low trellis walkways help to organize the space and give it a more intimate scale. The extended soffits merge with the trellis to continue the horizontal plane."

The outdoor staircase provides easy access from the exercise room, bedroom suite and games room on the upper level.

The architect added a tiki bar to one side of the pool, complete with built-in grill and an outdoor table and chairs. The room behind accommodates a pool shower, changing facilities and plant equipment for the pool.

With its stone walls, metal fascias and wood accents, the bar forms an integral part of the overall architectural composition.

Oct 06, 2013
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