One family’s effort to “smuggle a modern house into a historic district” in Washington, DC, results in a brightly transformed space made for family life.
A Bay Area landscape designer works her yard like a jigsaw puzzle, packing a bevy of distinctive destinations into a steep and diminutive plot.
When Guido and Sabrina Chiavelli left their tiny apartment in Asolo to begin their family life in the northern Italian countryside, they chose to renovate a crumbling sandstone farmhouse. The desire to preserve the building's original structure while adding a modern aesthetic led the couple to augment the stone walls with teak panels and wide windows.
The first thing designers Craig Bassam and Scott Fellows did after purchasing a 1955 four-bedroom house by Willis N. Mills was strip it. "We didn't realize the exterior was straight-grain redwood," says Bassam. "It was covered in layers of gray paint." Bassam replaced the terrace's concrete pavers with bluestone and removed a concrete-block wall.
For the facade, exposed to the constant salt air, the team considered everything from copper or zinc to Kynar-coated aluminum. Eventually, a sample of titanium was tacked up for six months and showed no wear. “Part of the green philosophy is not just what is cheaper; it’s what’s sustainable,” Cranston explains. “The titanium cladding was more expensive, but this is a house we plan to be in for the rest of our lives, so we wanted something that needed virtually no maintenance.”