THE GRECOUER

6671.0 Sq. Ft., Exterior Dimension
6371.0 Sq. Ft. Interior Living Area
Basement Optional

For a design professional who has a background in historic restoration and replication, creating a contemporary Traditional design (certainly a contradiction in terms) is a fun exercise because it allows me to pick design vignettes from many sources and put them into an eclectic mélange of traditional themes.   The Grecouer design has its genesis in European country design featuring high pitched, hipped roofs, with multiple, asymmetrical dormers.  The design is styled in the tradition of French countryside architecture, with an exterior graced with stone, stucco and French shutters.

Walking through a story and a half Portico, you enter a spacious, two-story Foyer which showcases a lovely, flared stairway.    The floor of the Foyer is tiled in split limestone; the walls are hand-textured with fine-grained stucco, and the ceiling features an ovate, back-lighted coffer.  Centered in the ceiling coffer is a large, rococo ceiling medallion as an escutcheon to a 13-arm, wrought iron chandelier. 

A formal Dining Room opens off to the left of the Foyer through a colonnaded portal and features a pair of custom designed china presses.  The room is designed to accommodate 12 diners.  To the right, through double French doors, is a well-lighted Office/Library with floor-to-ceiling bookcases, and tuck-away storage.

The formal staircase leads to the second floor and a viewing bridge that overlooks the Foyer and Living Room and connects the two bedroom wings. A second, well placed rear staircase allows private access to the upper floor.

The Foyer leads through to a formal, two-story Living Room that opens directly onto a covered Patio.  The Living Room is anchored by a Louis XIV carved limestone fireplace with a glazed tile surround and flanked on both sides with floor-to-ceiling bookcases.  All of these elements are inserted into a large, recessed alcove, creating a 4’-0” x 24’-0” display ledge 11 feet above the floor for plants and the display of large pieces of object d’art.  The ledge is pierced by a widened, paneled flue chase that adds a dramatic, two-story architectural element.  The space will comfortably seat upwards to 14 people.

From the Living Room, an arched portal becomes a private entry to a roomy, secluded Master Suite that includes a fireplace with a wooden, carved Charles IV fireplace surround, a commodious, windowed seating bay, and its own entrance to the Office/Library.  A luxurious Master Bath offers relaxed privacy and a double, walk-in closet allows for over 65 linear feet of double-tiered hang space.

The kitchen has a broad expanse of countertop and capacious over and under cabinetry, a large, center island, a well-appointed, commercial-grade appliance package, and a wrap-around eating bar.  The Eating Nook completes a totally open floor plan with the Kitchen and is designed to seat eight.

An informal Family Room is conveniently located off the Kitchen and Eating Nook.  A wooden, box beamed ceiling grid of darkened oak joins with built-in cabinets and a fireplace surround and over mantel  in adding natural warmth and texture to the area to create a cloistered ambiance.

Powder Rooms at both ends of the first floor and a Laundry/Mud Room provide service convience.  Two, two-car garage cottages are connected to the house by a colonnaded breezeway and front on an extended parking pad that is accessed through double portals from the entry driveway.  A full-reach pergola covers the parking pad, and large, earthen ware planting urns are home to wisteria vines that cover the pergola grid above.

The second floor has four large Bedrooms with two shared baths. Space and light define these rooms, with each Bedroom having multiple windows for letting in maximum natural light. Large walk-in closets and other storage and work areas in each Bedroom give opportunity for living versatility.

The Grecouer represents a new attitude as to what modular technologies can create and pushes the design envelop further away from traditional modular design and into the realm of custom designed, site built homes.

Bill Garnett © 2004

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