Whether for a multi-structure compound in the country or a pied-a-terre in the city, our design strategy is purposeful and specific. Spaces are precisely crafted and carefully thought through so that each element finds itself in place. Two adjectives I have always loved are effortless and inevitable. If you can make something feel like that, you have won; because it does not call attention to itself, and yet everything falls together perfectly, making the space a pleasure to inhabit.
Our decorating is made to be walked through and lived in, not just looked at. We pay careful attention to how people spend their time, and the mundane and intimate daily activities are not merely acknowledged, but glorified. There is an inherent beauty in the repetition of personal routines, and good design should allow, enable, and indulge these familiar patterns, rather than prescribe or dictate them. This has been our ambition over the past twenty-five years, and we reflect on this characteristic of our work with pride and the utmost intention to continue to remain true to how people live.
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Ultimately, spaces derive their meaning from personal experiences, rather than a submittal to external standards and imposed schemes. I can only hope this Home Design succeeds in celebrating the potential for innovation, singularity, and the sublime within the ordinary and the everyday.
Your experience of a staircase depends on whether it is designed to bring one room into another or to separate them. For example, the staircase in a townhouse in New York City’s Greenwich Village gives the sense of a scroll unfurling from above, inviting you up to the penthouse. Here the stair extends one room into the other, encouraging one to explore the space upstairs. On the other hand, the little zebrawood spiral staircase at a house in Ormond Beach, Florida, creates a totally different experience. Think Superman’s phone booth. Going up the stair is like entering a magic cabinet and emerging into a space distinct from both the floor below and the stair itself. In this case, the staircase intentionally separates rooms to amplify a sense of privacy.
A building’s site can inform the design and character of a staircase. For a house on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Cabo San Lucas, the opportunity to literally carve a staircase from the previously unexposed rock was serendipitous. We didn’t know the rock was going to be there until we began building, but the discovery allowed us to use the natural site in a dynamic way and create the stair from the rock itself.
Staircases may also reflect the character and culture of a building and its surroundings. The stair on the outside of one of our first houses, in Atlantic Beach, Florida, is derived from the watchtowers of fire wardens seen in the woods of the northern part of the state.