Artist and architect make home their own.
Thursday, January 1, 2009
What better couple to manifest “wonderful’’ than Safwat and Allyson Malek; perhaps none. He’s the well-known, respected architect, she’s a fine artist of richly incandescent paintings. Although they didn’t build their house, they’ve recreated it and it speaks to how they think visually, spatially, eloquently and compatibly crafting a breezy family environment.
Safwat says, “The house was built in the late ’70s or ’80s, a traditional Tudor. We changed the dark interior floors and walls (popular in those decades) and really lightened it up.” The feeling is both New England beach house and casually elegant home.
It’s in the Highlands and so well situated that the Tudor schematic, devoid of the genre’s signature ordannana (unnecessary architectural adornment) isn’t perceived until one stands looking at it. The extant design is now grandly simple, the exterior warm, deep taupe stucco with “true white’’ trim and very impressive front terrace. This is a big house (4,810+ square feet, 5 bedrooms/4 ½ baths, attached, elevated guest cottage with its own gated driveway, four fireplaces) with big windows, oversize French doors, very high ceilings above open, balanced rooms, beautiful flow-through spaces and an atrium/solarium that steals all the other wonders here.
It measures approximately 40' by 14´along the most private side of the house. The front end has glass-surrounded French doors meeting the short side of the long ‘L’-shaped grand front terrace. The other end is where the family/media room/Safwat’s office is found, as well as a glass door to the handsome, drought-resistant rear landscape.
The atrium armature and glass begin one story up, slant down and become ellipsoid, banishing any harsh angles. The continuum of Travertine floors from the atrium and entire front terrace isn’t noticed, but sensed as tranquil. Allyson says, “This is everybody’s favorite room. We eat out here (radiant heat– also bathrooms) and relatives, friends, laptops seem to always end up in here.”
It views another spectacular dimension of ocean, forest and foothill vistas enjoyed from three sides of the house. The Highlands is known for views but there are views– and then there are views. Here the natural topography aims the sightline down to and far across the ocean, sights that induce a gentle sense of entitlement.
The front door opens to a foyer the size in which reception lines form. High ceilings reign throughout this house, thus the entryway’s 18’ chandelier blooms its crystal sparkle a good 10' overhead. The living room (wood-burning fireplace) is to the left and immediately reveals a world of natural light coming from three sets of glass-surrounded French doors to either the atrium or front terrace. A plaster, ceiling medallion seems to curtsy to all below, the smaller one above the dining room table supports a hanging lamp proudly.
Off to one side of the dining room a pantry hall opens into a truly amazing chef’s kitchen flush with black/blue quartz counters; the crystals cut with the surface but glowing beneath like fairy pools. Safwat says, “We redesigned it all and put in two of every amenity.” If food is generally top of mind, this is a tough kitchen to walk leave.
Upstairs the once-again elegantly simple master suite needs a million words or more to get it right; big alcove window seat (bed), Herculean windows on one wall with attached doors on either side to the private balcony, the floor space perhaps once intended for whirling dervishes and their audiences. Immensely special boudoir.
About that swimming pool: enviable, organically shaped, contiguous Jacuzzi…
More words, please.