For more than 30 years, architect Charles R. Stinson has imagined homes that emphasize harmony within nature. With a style influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright, his work celebrates the balance between the shelter of indoor spaces and the freedom of the outdoors. In his latest book, Connections, Stinson shares the stories of 15 projects and each client’s journey to achieve the ideal living space. charlesrstinson.com
What was the inspiration behind Connections? My wife, Carol, noticed a connection among our clients. Most of them are self-made entrepreneurs, so they look beyond the obvious and conventional. They have faith in unseen potential and are able to put energy and resources toward ideas and concepts. These homeowners share an approach to life that makes their stories, and homes, so interesting.
How does the sense of place shape your architecture? Every project starts with spending time on the property at different times of day. Then I start defining spaces, keeping in mind nature, the views and the variance of natural light from sunrise to sunset and in different seasons. I make sure every room has sunlight, but that there is still a sense of shelter in the home. I also incorporate clerestory windows and hidden drapery pockets for privacy. There’s something great about being able to go into a different environment and celebrate that area. I try to use local materials, so if trees have to come down on-site, we’ll lumber them and use the wood as flooring.
How did your interest in art lead you to architecture? Growing up, I thought I was going to be an artist. Then, in high school I took architecture classes and appreciated the technical side of it. Architecture was a way to create functional art. Today, art still influences my work–all my designs start by hand on a wooden drawing board I got when I was 14.