Spotlight on Architectural Excellence [2021]

Discover three extraordinary residences redefining urban living in iconic locations across the globe. From the breathtaking Art House in San Francisco, ingeniously designed to harmonize with its surroundings, to the transformed Georgetown gem, seamlessly blending historical charm with modern sophistication, and the Wanaka Wedge House in New Zealand, a stunning testament to serendipitous design evolution. Join us as we delve into the stories behind these remarkable homes, each offering a unique perspective on architectural innovation and lifestyle enhancement.

1. Custom Rural or Vacation House

Originally conceived as a design for the coastal landscape of Maine, the Wanaka Wedge House found its roots in an internet plan originating from the United States. Architect Jeff Day’s vision for a home for his mother evolved over time, culminating in its adaptation into a prototype for an online house plans business in 2009. Although the company succumbed to the recession, leaving the plan accessible on their website, fate intervened when a couple in New Zealand stumbled upon it in 2017 and sought Jeff’s expertise to bring it to life.

Returning to New Zealand, a place of childhood memories, Jeff embraced the opportunity to realize the long-percolating family home, tailored to the unique terrain and building codes of the 9-acre site. While adjustments were made to suit local materials and regulations, such as transitioning from SIP to stick-built construction and changing siding to metal, the essence of the design remained intact, offering a dramatic yet harmonious addition to its surroundings. In its final form, Wanaka Wedge House stands as a testament to the interconnectedness of a vast world and the serendipitous convergence of distant dreams and local realities.

2. Custom Urban

Crafted for an art enthusiast, Art House not only serves as a bold architectural statement but ingeniously tackles the challenges typical of San Francisco’s urban landscape, including narrow lots and steep terrain. Positioned on a downward slope with captivating rear vistas and a southern street-facing aspect, the residence navigates the delicate balance between light, privacy, and shade. Aidlin Darling’s innovative approach resulted in a modern interpretation of the traditional Victorian townhouse, meticulously designed to harmonize with the eclectic neighborhood while satisfying the client’s preference for minimalist aesthetics.

The integration of a striking red cedar brise soleil, spanning two stories, serves as a multifunctional solution, abstracting neighboring window proportions, filtering light, and framing views of street trees. Meanwhile, the rear elevation showcases breathtaking panoramas of iconic San Francisco landmarks. Architectural finesse is evident in details such as a transparent stairway slot, offering glimpses of the bay beyond, and a spatial layout optimized for natural light and verdant vistas. From its soaring living room windows to its terraced gardens, Art House stands as a testament to thoughtful design that seamlessly embraces its urban context.

3. Renovation

Georgetown, nestled in the heart of Washington, D.C., stands as a beacon of historical charm and urban convenience, drawing both visitors and residents with its rich heritage, pedestrian-friendly streets, and vibrant dining and shopping scene. For Robert Gurney’s clients, the allure of this coveted neighborhood led them to leave suburban life in Alexandria, Virginia, seeking proximity to work and the vibrant city atmosphere. However, their transition came with sacrifices, trading spacious living and a Midcentury Modern gem for a petite row house with minimal amenities.

After two years, they enlisted Gurney’s expertise for a transformative renovation, opting for a contemporary overhaul that maximized space and connectivity to the outdoors. Despite the challenge of a landlocked lot, Gurney’s firm leveraged this constraint to craft a sleek modern addition at the rear, seamlessly integrating with the existing structure while expanding living spaces and enhancing natural light. The renovation showcases a harmonious blend of old and new, with European Doug fir flooring unifying the interiors and highlighting original features alongside modern touches like glazed walls and dark-stained cabinetry, resulting in a revitalized home that honors Georgetown’s timeless appeal while embracing contemporary living.

Patrick Sullivan
Phone: 804.397.5078 

John Innes
Phone: 804.397.5078 

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