Originally designed by renowned architects Curtis and Davis, and built
in 1953, decades of neglect, a damaging 1990s renovation, and water damage from Hurricane Katrina in 2005, required a full rehabilitation. A key design feature restored to the residence was a deep mono-pitched roof overhang at the south façade of the building, extending the year-round livable area on the backyard patio. Restoring the overhang proved complicated, due to the 1990s renovation which fully enclosed the original covered space. Re-incorporating the overhang required that a completely new roof be designed and built, with a new steel structural system interwoven and concealed into the design. The south façade—water damaged beyond repair—was redesigned and composed entirely of floor-to-ceiling 7’ X 9’ sliding glass panels floating independent from columns or supporting walls. Interiors—including a fully custom kitchen and built-in furniture—are contemporary with clean, minimalist detailing trending towards mid century modernism.
Backyard patios were added to connect all major rooms below the rebuilt extended roof. These patios are divided for privacy by large, walnut-clad wing walls, treated with the Weldtex process originally used to striate plywood in the 1950s. Originally used on plywood panels in the residence, the process was re-imagined as an extra layer of texturing for the solid walnut siding. The patios connect directly to a combined saltwater pool, hot tub, and freshwater pond. The remainder of the backyard has been redesigned to include a private garden with outdoor shower and bath, and a cocktail fruit orchard.
The residence features a fully rebuilt south façade comprised almost entirely of oversized sliding glass panels. It connects directly with the backyard through this façade, engaging with a newly added linear pool, hot-tub and freshwater pond via large outdoor covered patios.
Originally designed and built in 1952, the residence’s iconic features included a deep mono-pitch roof overhang with two wing walls dividing outdoor patios for public and private functions. These design elements were not only iconic, but functioned as passive elements in a sustainable strategy providing shade to the residence’s south façade.
A renovation of the residence undertaken in the 1990s removed these iconic features and expanded the interior envelope of the building to include the previous patio spaces. A building once in harmony with nature was now fighting against it. Without passive shading a second HVAC system had to be added to keep a modest 2,300 Sf. home at a livable temperature.
The current restoration completed in 2016 restores these iconic elements by extending out from the existing footprint. The restored overhanging roof and wing-walls return to work as both passive sustainability features and key elements in a spatial sequence of public and private spaces that merge the indoor and outdoor.
In combination with a fully redesigned southern façade comprised of full height sliding glass panels, the new overhang blocks harsh summer sun while allowing for the sun to heat the residence passively throughout the winter.
When needed, the residence now features a high efficiency HVAC system that is partially powered by solar panels located on the roof.
This diagram shows the extent to which the previous 1990s renovation and addition to the residence altered the original design and parti in plan, section, and detailing, resulting in a bulkier and less iconic residence that did not do justice to Curtis and Davis’ original vision.
The current restoration brings back the original design’s iconic features while retaining the expanded interior area added previously.
As can be seen in the Façade Elevation Fragments, special attention was also paid to restoring the thin profiles used in the original design
An up-lit beam gently divides the Living/Dining room from the kitchen.
This detail is inspired by an alternate detail for the same location included by Curtis and Davis in their original Construction Documents. With the light functioning as room divider, the space is fully opened to allow for a more contemporary style of life.
Exterior brick walls are left exposed throughout the residence.
Views of the seamless transition between public patio and living / dining room.
The newly built roof overhang re-emphasizes the sloped form of the original mono-pitch roof design and dramatic placement of clerestory windows with a restored solid wood clerestory end-piece now finished in Walnut.
A new Ipe wood deck marks the edge of the public patio and connects it with the private patio, pool, and yard.
The same contemporary minimalist aesthetic continues throughout the house.
The master bathroom features two custom designed walnut clad vanities as well as a custom designed mirror and recessed mirrored and illuminated medicine cabinets.
A fully glazed door (obscured by curtains) leads to a private master garden with outdoor bathtub and shower on the side of the residence.
The repositioning of the Master suite to face into the backyard and engage the patios along the south façade fulfills the original master-planned intent for the residence.
Prior to the current restoration the previous owner of the residence replaced all original finishes, cabinetry and equipment with low-quality items of questionable color, texture and styling.
In the current restoration, new finishes, lighting, equipment and millwork work together with a new design to restore the original modernist feel of the residence while embracing a contemporary minimalist aesthetic.
View of the Kitchen bar and peninsula.
Kitchen cabinets are fully custom millwork pieces designed by the architect. They are faced with Walnut veneered plywood and topped with white quartz countertops
The cabinetry fully conceals a refrigerator and freezer, standalone refrigerated drawers, an ice machine, and a dishwashing machine.
Circular halo pendant lighting is used in the kitchen to soften the space and further define it as separate from the Living/Dining room without physical separation.
Interior areas such as the living room shown here (with views to the kitchen bar) were fully redesigned to reflect a contemporary minimalist approach respectful and appreciative of mid-century modernism.