One-of-a-kind Custom Home
Skyline Spec House
Entrant: Dick Clark + Associates (architect, interior designer)
Builder: Jon Luce Builder (interior designer, developer)
Land planner: Benchmark Landscapes (landscape design)
Photographer: Paul Bardagjy Photography
Size: 5,012 sf
Completion: November 2012
This long, linear house is tucked between mature live oaks on a sloping site, creating a strong connection to nature and establishing a unique sense of place. Its form follows the natural topography and orients the home toward views of downtown Austin. Sliding glass doors pocket completely into the walls, creating a 40-foot-wide opening between the living area and outdoor spaces.
Stucco, stone, and zinc create a low-maintenance exterior, while floor-to-ceiling glass and deep roof overhangs create spaces that are both dramatic and comfortable. From the gray porcelain-tile floors to the extensive black-walnut built-ins, the home was designed to be easygoing, flexible, and flawless. It functions just as well for a large party as it does for a quiet moment while taking in the sunrise.
The artistry of the design is evident in such details as a stair landing that becomes a bench and the structural steel column on the deck.
The home attracted attention even before it was complete, and sold within a month of being placed on the market. With its contemporary sensibilities, it captures the attention of visitors the moment they walk up to the front door, and continues to intrigue by revealing a series of subtle surprises and unique elements.
Entrant: Dahlin Group Architecture Planning (architect)
Builder: Sterling Bay Homes
Architect of record: Gritton & Associates Architects
Interior designer: Artisan Design
Photographer: Rixon Photography, LLC
Size: 21,044 sf
Hard cost (excluding land): $267/sf
Sales price: $7.4 million
Completion: January 2013
This Florida estate, which encompasses more than 8 acres, overlooks a freshwater lake east of Tampa. The owners travel frequently to Southern California and Mexico and grew very fond of Santa Barbara-style haciendas. The design of their home—perched 40 feet above the lake—allows for large family functions and charity events and even includes built-in steps down the hillside to take advantage of the natural views.
A private gated entry ensures all visitors approach the house from the west, so they can see the low-rise Santa Barbara-style façade punctuated by landmark towers. The arched gateway opens into a large entry courtyard, which exposes many of the home’s rooms to sunlight, waterscapes, and fresh air. In fact, this area serves as an interior space for the entire year given Florida’s gentle winters.
The front door gives way to handcrafted tile work fashioned after ornate rugs, which leads into the great room. Two fireplaces open this space to a view of the lake as well as the kitchen and breakfast areas. The formal dining room, with adjacent wine-tasting area, reflects thoughtful Mexican interior finishes.
The owners each enjoy a personal space—her craft and sewing room grants views of the entry courtyard and the lake through double French doors, and his lifelong collection of sports memorabilia lies next to the outdoor dining area. Together the family enjoys watching films in a lower-level movie theater resembling the historic Tampa Theatre, which was built in 1926.
Entrant: Moore Architects, PC (architect)
Interior designer: Michael Robertson Interior Design
Structural engineer: Consulting Engineers, Corp.
Landscape architect: Jordan Honeyman Landscape Architecture, LLC
Photographer: Hoachlander Davis Photography
Size: 7,800 sf
Hard cost (excluding land): $200/sf
Completion: October 2012
When choosing a site for their new house, the homeowners knew they wanted to be surrounded by nature but still live within the Washington, D.C. area. They also wanted their house to be LEED qualified. Despite its size of 8,000 square feet, the home achieved LEED Silver certification.
In order to minimize the mass of the house, the architects designed load-bearing roofs to reduce the height from above. In addition, they brought up the ground plan by specifying local Carderock stone for the foundation walls. Retaining walls surrounding the house also used the same stone. Other outdoor areas on the property were heavily landscaped with climate-appropriate vegetation, retaining walls, and minimal turf.
LEED elements include LED lighting, geothermal heating system, heat-pump water heater, FSA-certified woods, low-VOC paints, and high R-value insulation and windows.
Broom Way Residence
Los Angeles, Calif.
Entrant: nonzero/architecture (architect)
Builder: Greeniron Constructs, Inc.
Interior designer: Laurie March
Photographer: Juergen Nogai Photography
Size: 4,200 sf
Completion: January 2012
These homeowners had originally planned to expand their house but, in the end, decided to demolish it and rebuild from scratch. The neighborhood had strict regulations that dictated humane modernism. This design reflects a contemporary interpretation of that ideal, with a greater focus on sustainability than the original house.
The home consists of a large, open, glass core for the shared living spaces, wrapped by a solid band of smaller rooms that maintain the owner’s privacy from the street. Above the opaque walls, a transparent clerestory is in keeping with the project’s historic surroundings.
Photovoltaic glass panels power the house as well as shade it, and the placement of operable windows encourages natural ventilation. A glazed steel post-and-beam structure facilitates the structure’s indoor-outdoor relationship. Views of the canyon, trees, and the distant ocean and shoreline are located throughout the house.