Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Most Beautiful House I Know - Part I

This past week I had the pleasure and privilege of spending the evening at the home of two dear friends.  My son and I were visiting colleges over spring break and our friends invited us to spend the night at their house.

This lovely home was built for the sole purpose of bringing family and friends together. It has never been photographed for any magazine or book, the owners want this to remain a private retreat, but clearly this house could grace the cover of 'Architectural Digest' or 'House Beautiful'.  The proportions of this home are perfect for family gatherings and get togethers with friends. So don't expect a Jewel Box®,  but I know you will appreciate the remarkable beauty of this home.  And many of the interior design arrangements work well in a small space. You are in for a rare treat!

The architecture of the home was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright and the Prairie Style.   Japanese and Italian styles are also woven into the design.

The house seems to grow organically from the landscape.  

Take a look at this garage!  Perhaps the loveliest place to store cars I have seen.

Antique Japanese stone planters can found throughout the grounds.

A bridge connects the main house to the coach house.

A river birch and Japanese deity greet visitors.

Let's go inside.  This red lacquered bench in the side entrance to the house, makes is a convenient place to remove shoes and outerwear.  In keeping with the Japanese undertones of the home, only slippers or stocking feet are worn indoors.

A stunning unique trait of this house is the flooring.  It may look like wood, but this is actually stone. 

Red lacquered bench in side entry.
A close-up of the stone flooring.
Pocket doors are used throughout the house.  This is a great space saver in a smaller space and also adds functionality in a larger house.

Pocket doors are used throughout the house.

The front entrance with its matching ginger jars and Japanese styled wooden chairs on either side, greets guests with a calming, welcoming, beauty.

A magnificent feature of the front entrance is the large white sculpted chandelier that hangs from the ceiling.

This one of a kind chandelier is more like a sculpted work of art.

Front entrance chandelier lit and seen from above.
Two ancient Buddhas also flank the entrance.  It is difficult to describe how lovely these pieces are.  The muted colors and peaceful poses radiate tranquility and a tangible sense of calm. 

The Buddha to the left of the entrance.

A close up of detail on the Buddha's face and robe.
Buddha to the right of the front entrance.
The Japanese influence flows into the living area.  This room combines comfort and elegant design.  But even with all its beauty, this house is made for living.  Lounging, chatting, eating and even dancing are all encouraged! 

The clean lines and restrained use of accent colors would work well in smaller spaces.  The large seating cushions are especially practical for extra seating.

Close up of the armless couch also showing ginger jars flanking the front entrance.

An antique ginger jar in the corner of the living room.

One of a pair of slipper chairs positioned to take in the lake view.

The fireplace mantel.

Original art work in the living room.

The view from the living area.
For me, one of the most beautiful rooms in this most beautiful of homes, is the Japanese dining room.  Tatami mats surround the table with cushions for seating.

The Japanese dining table with space carved for feet below.
Dining utensils in a basket by the sliding screen doors.

Early antique sepia photos of Japanese life hang in the dining room.

Not one detail in this house is overlooked.  Including the first floor powder room. 

River bed stones surround the stainless steel bowl.  The faucet and handles are installed directly into the stone wall.  Colored glass block allows light into the room, but maintains privacy.

A bamboo teakettle to the side of the sink.

A small lavatory for a small space.
In the study, dark wood is replaced with cherry.  Green and brown print and striped fabrics are pulled together by brown silk pillows. This is a stunning room!

The fireplace in the study.
My photography does not do justice to the kitchen.  I really needed a completely different camera and more skill at photography.  Actually, none of my photos show the true beauty of this home.  But back to the kitchen, the backsplash over the stove runs the entire length of the wall up to the ceiling.  It is a combination of small stainless steel and irridescent tiles, all hand laid. Convenient pot filling faucets are installed over the stove.

Frosted glass cabinets flank either side of the hood.

A creamy marble tops the kitchen island.

Original artwork in the kitchen.
The kitchen sitting area has a view to the living room.  The white leather chair seats compliment the dark wood.

Chairs from the kitchen table can easily be moved to the living area for more seating.

Close-up of a serving platter on the kitchen table.
Stay tuned for future posts covering the upstairs and lower levels of the most beautiful house I know.  And a big thank you to our hosts, who so generously allowed me to photograph and share their home.



  1. ...a truly truly remarkable are so right genevieve...the house is a piece of art...i think perhaps the loveliest thing about this beautiful place is the sentiment behind building it...a place for family and friends to gather and share their blessed you are to have such friends in your they are blessed to have an aside...i was once told that shoes are removed in japanese homes not to spare the floors (as all american school children were once taught)...but because the removal of shoes symbolized "leaving the world behind" as you entered your home...don't know if that is true...but it is a lovely all our homes...jewel box or grand...hugs

  2. Laney, you are a wise woman! Of course, I already knew that. I did a little research and found "apart from hygienic reasons, removing shoes in a Japanese home is a symbol for leaving the outside world behind." How lovely. Thanks for letting me know.

    Hugs, Genevieve

  3. I'm speechless. This home is breathtaking. I love the philosophy of leaving the outside world behind.


  4. I'd take a small version of this! Love the style.