Studio William Hefner have been shortlisted for Living Space – Americas in The International Design and Architecture Awards 2020
The setting of Mandeville Canyon brought together the best of two worlds, country, and city, in the design of this family home. For a creative couple with young kids, this mix allowed them to reinvent an idea of sophisticated farmhouse living close to town, without giving up a wholesome connection to nature day to day.
The house is a more American, New England heritage than a European one, with an honest elegance that does feel as if it comes from a lineage, has some age to it. At the same time, with all the orientation to light and the garden, and the local language of wood and stone, it’s our city version of a canyon house. The fastest way to develop that sense of history is to include mouldings and millwork—good woodwork, or what is often called good bones, essentially. These elements don’t have to be highly intricate, carved, or curvy.
Studio William Hefner were drawn to box mouldings and coffered shapes, wainscoting, picture rails, and casings, that would bring detail and a clean geometry to the house. These forms reference classic 19th century cottage architecture, but I enlarged all the proportions and brought the mouldings down to simple, flat profiles, so that they create attention without feeling heavy in the rooms.
Boxed panelling occurs everywhere throughout the house, from the double-height stair hall, to the rich, dark panelling in the dining room and the husband’s office. The family room and the kitchen bring in aspects of panelling on both walls and cabinetry; and the bathrooms have their own variation with mixed wood and marble panelling.
All of the doors are finely panelled as well, and ceilings are detailed, too: where rooflines are peaked, we added beams to cathedral ceilings, and where ceilings are flat, we employed the box panelling. This gives the whole house an intimacy, while also providing needed order and continuity to the changing volumes of the building.
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