SMOKE and MIRRORS
When F36 came to this 4-story remodel, it was half-completed and on-hold from another time and a different cast of characters. We were hired to fill in the gaps of the first three floors and propose a new scheme for the top floor. Structure in place prior to our involvement, our challenge was to rethink the rhythms and geometries of the work in absence of the original intent; we were working in the presence of a ghost.
The clients are avid collectors of contemporary art and Asian artifacts. They expected a level of build to support and enhance the collection, which is spread throughout the house and will continue to grow and evolve.
Our work included the design of three bathrooms, a powder room, two dens, and the fourth-floor master suite. Though each part of the house has a distinct individual character, a common thread runs throughout. This thread resides partially in material palettes and detailing strategies, but even more so in the level of which restraint is applied to a latent, almost threatening opulence.
THE SECRET WORLD
Hidden behind a concealed door in a wall mural by Rodney Ewing and below the grand staircase, a powder room and a service stair take on a life of their own. Through the detailing of a partition between, the powder room is spatially integrated with the soaring vertical space of the service stair.
The partition is composed of Graylite glass on one side and Mirrorpane 2-way mirror on the stair side. Depending on the time of day and level of lamp lighting, visibility between the sides varies from true mirror to shaded transparency. Voyeuristic as it may sound, a concealed plumbing riser in the lower portion of the partition acts as a modesty screen.
A series of Jurgen Bey-designed “Light Shade Shade” fixtures complete the visual connection between the two spaces. The powder room fixture is on a separate dimmer switch to provide bathroom users- especially those of a paruretic nature- control over privacy.
THE TURQUOISE ROOM
A former bedroom on the third floor was remodeled to become a multi-purpose den for watching movies, gaming, reading, and jamming. The photographs show details of casework in The Turquoise Room, comprised of automotive lacquered Trupan, blackened 11 gauge steel, and Brazilian Walnut.
The fourth floor is a dedicated master suite, designed to be both frenetic and surreal. The plan is composed around two massive skylights that roll away to provide unencumbered viewing of the sky above. An island is built below each. The front island is made up of a king bed in an oversized frame with a credenza headboard. The skylight above is fitted with a skirt of the same character as the island below.
The rear island is a glass box etched in two bands- one for privacy, the other to echo the front skylight skirt. The floor of the shower comprises basalt, river rock, and traditional teak drainage platforms. The shower fixture is a Boffi Pipe, designed by Marcel Wanders. The fittings and finishes complement the most striking feature of this island: open-sky showering, rain or shine.
A walk-through closet employs doors made from exotic wood-veneered aluminum aircraft panels to ensure zero-warpage over the ten-foot height. A mirrored door to a hidden utility room amplifies the immersion of material in this compressed space. Opposite the back stair is a series of three side-lit sculpture vitrines that puncture a partial-height wall at varying degrees.
An open tub in a custom frame sits between the shower island and a water closet/lavatory space concealed by frameless etched glass. Whereas the shower etching reads as light and diaphanous, the lavatory glass picks up on the mottled antique mirror finish behind and reads as an almost titanium finish.
A series of freestanding, backlit sculpture niches and an alcove containing steel shelves detailed similarly to those in the Turquoise Room are directly adjacent to the lavatory. This area is meticulously detailed and carefully lit to highlight those objects displayed.
The master suite is fitted with colorable LEDs throughout. As the interior light changes, so follows the sky- per Josef Alber’s “Interaction of Color.” This deception of color is an extension of the “smoke and mirrors” play overall.
Art Collection, Creative Challenge: The Client
Structural Engineer: iAssociates, David Inlow
Lighting: H.E. Banks, Jodi Pritchard, and Edward J. Cansino and Associates
General Contractors: Mike Breen Construction, Gillispie Construction, Alan Hyland GC
Cabinetry: Kevin Riley