Natural Tendencies

The 'nature' of the site determined the design of this two-home estate along the Loxahachee River in Martin County, Fla. Left in nearly pristine condition by the previous owners, the two-lot property contained an abundance of trees, including coco, roy...

February 01, 2002

 

Appearing to be stained glass, the works of art in both homes’ foyers depicting the local flora and fauna were hand-applied onto the windows’ hurricane-rated glass. The foyer in the main house has a 30-foot ceiling and serves as the circulation hub for the entertainment-oriented floor plan. The wrought-iron staircase and grillwork for the front doors were fabricated on site.

The "nature" of the site determined the design of this two-home estate along the Loxahachee River in Martin County, Fla. Left in nearly pristine condition by the previous owners, the two-lot property contained an abundance of trees, including coco, royal and palmetto palms as well as venerable live oaks.

"In order to preserve as many of the mature trees as possible, we made a real effort to design the house around them," architect Mitch Kunik says.

Protecting the trees made good sense from an economic standpoint as well as an environmental one, Kunik says, because municipal codes require a substantial fine for every mature tree removed during construction.

The visual connection of the home to its site is a theme repeated throughout the home, including the painted panel windows that grace the foyers in the main residence and the guesthouse.

The property’s lowest portion consists of a series of canals used years ago for catching baitfish, Kunik says, and the clients wanted to preserve and enjoy this topographical feature.

Near the river, a separate day cottage was constructed that "provides the homeowners with a totally different atmosphere than that of the main house, so that they could hang out down here and relax near the water," Kunik says.

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