“Every project is a co-creation,” observes architect Charles Stinson. There may be no better example of this than the lakefront home he and his team designed for a couple that had admired Stinson’s work for 25 years. The husband and wife brought on Stinson, builder Steven Streeter and an assembly of artists and craftspeople to make their dream home a reality. The result? A modernist abode clad with locally quarried limestone balanced by expansive steel-framed windows. A nod to Frank Lloyd Wright–“He was the first guy to compose rather than design,” notes Stinson–the rooflines cantilever over one another, shading the clerestory windows. “I imagined the home floating on the property,” says the architect. “This house was conceived by studying the property, where the sun was rising and setting, and the views.”
Located at one of the highest points along the waterfront, Stinson says he wanted to create “a tower on the lake. Like a lighthouse.” To that end, as the owners walk from their single-story master bedroom–a cozy, neutral-toned escape overlooking the lake–to the main living areas on the opposite end of the house, the ceilings escalate in height, culminating in a rising tower that encompasses a family game area. The doorways are lower, however, and the kitchen is tucked into a light-filled niche. “It gives you a sense of shelter and comfort, but it also opens up and allows your spirit to soar,” Stinson says. “It’s a beautiful puzzle.”
Indeed, the high-gloss olive wood kitchen cabinetry’s reveal lines up with the grout line in the stone walls, the placement of the figured eucalyptus moldings and the various ceiling planes. Even the height of the furnishings, which include several custom pieces in exotic woods by artist Thomas Schrunk–whom the husband has known since their college years–aligns with the reveals. “It all has a horizontal feel to it,” Stinson says.
That also goes for the matching double-sided stone and hand-troweled plaster fireplaces that flank the expansive great room, and the sustainably made wool-and-silk Tibetan rugs by Stephanie Odegard, which define several distinct seating areas throughout the sprawling main level, adding instant warmth to the Crema limestone flooring. The owners met Odegard years ago, and she has made the rugs for three of their homes and become a close friend.
Schrunck and Odegard are just two of many creatives with whom the couple has close relationships, and they commissioned several custom works specifically for their new home. In the foyer, a painting by Hessam Abrishami depicts part of the Odegard rug on the floor beside it, and a painting of birch trees by Giovanni DeCunto references the trees surrounding the house.
When the sun sets, well-lit coves, illuminated reveals and discreet LED spots highlight the ceiling levels and architectural details, creating a warm glow throughout. The chandeliers, on the other hand, are statement-making pieces; for example, a long fixture with numerous shades that seems to float in the tower. “Lighting is a really big deal,” Stinson says. “You’re setting the house up for romance.” The cascading piece can be appreciated from both the exterior and the open upper-level lounge, which flows into a beautiful guest suite appointed with a bed, a pair of matching sofas in front of a stone fireplace, and an Eames lounge chair facing the water. When the large doors slide open, the space becomes an open-air sun porch with a commanding view of the lake and the landscape.
Like the details of the interior, the landscape design by Shane Coen precisely aligns with the architecture: Two grassy lawns are framed by well-defined beds planted with rows of native grasses and limestone hardscaping, which includes a long walkway through an allee of birch trees to a waterfront patio atop the boat house. “Our philosophy is that the form of the landscape should be the same as the architecture and it should be in sharp contrast to the natural lines found in nature,” Coen says. “You can’t compete with Mother Earth, so our landscapes never pretend they’re like her.”
Working with old friends and people they’d long admired made for a joyful experience for the owners, who are enjoying life in their new home to the fullest. During the summer, they watch sailboat regattas from the patio, and year-round the sunsets never fail to impress. Stinson, who also owns a house on the lake, shares their enthusiasm for the area. “It’s a wonderful summer lifestyle place,” he says. “It feels so good to be there.”