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Architects Among Us: Charles R Stinson

Posted by admin on October 26, 2016
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stinsonexampleoptModern lakefront home in leafy setting by Charles R Stinson—with elevated living area, street appeal, and privacy.

By Colleen Hawkes | Spring 2015

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Curb appeal and privacy don't always go hand in hand, but this home achieves both, and at the same time maximizes a picturesque view out to a lake.

Designed by architect Charles Stinson AIA of Charles R Stinson Architecture + Design and built by Streeter & Associates, the home is beside a park on a lakefront that attracts many visitors in summer.

“Privacy was obviously an important consideration,” Stinson says. “To provide this, we designed a three-level home, with elevated living areas and a garage tucked underneath. We also wanted to create a dramatic entry that would provide an easy transition to the raised living area.”

The architect says this was achieved by placing the entry at the halfway point between the lower two levels, and glazing the double-height void.

“At night it is almost like walking up to a lighthouse. We also created a floating roof at the front of the house, which gives it a very sculptural look. The roof is pulled away from the entry, which allows sunlight to pass through.

“The geometry of the house may look complicated, but in reality is really quite simple. It also fits with the height and scale of the homes in the neighborhood, albeit in a very expressive way.”
Charles Stinson Living Room

The intersecting horizontal and vertical planes that define the architecture are a signature of Stinson's homes. The roof, walls and first-floor balconies appear contiguous, wrapping right around the upper level of the house to create a sense of enclosure, while simultaneously framing the views from inside.

Contrasting materials are also used to good effect, says builder Steven Streeter of Streeter & Associates.

“The triple garage doors, chimneys and fascias are all in copper, which will weather naturally over time. We introduced Italian limestone as well, at the front of the house. This has a textural appeal.”

The interior reinforces the emphasis on high-end materials. The wood flooring throughout the house is solid walnut, milled in five-inch planks. This is matched by quartersawn walnut interior doors. And the Loewen windows and doors feature solid fir, which is in keeping with the natural, leafy setting.

stinsonbathAs with all Stinson's homes, there is an especially close connection with the outdoors. The living area features floor-to-ceiling glazing, with large doors opening to a pool terrace and outdoor living area.

“The floating roof at the front of the house extends right out past the pool to provide a sheltered seating area, complete with outdoor fireplace,” says Streeter. “This canopy is lined with cedar.”

The home features a Valcucine Italian Cabinetry kitchen from Valcucine Minneapolis. Emily Little, showroom manager and senior designer, says the company has collaborated with Charles R Stinson Architecture + Design and Streeter & Associates on eight projects using Valcucine cabinets.

“Our highly refined cabinets are very architectural in their detailing and overall look, which really complements Charles Stinson's design aesthetic. For this kitchen we used a matte Fire Grey glass for the upper cabinets. These can be seen from the open living and dining rooms. For the island and base cabinets, the owners picked our European Elm veneer.”

Little says the veneer incorporates the character of elm's twisted grain and color variations. However, Valcucine cuts the veneer into narrow 6cm flitches.

“This gives the veneer a subtle but noticeable horizontal linearity, which is a perfect complement to the horizontal architectural detailing of the home.”

Charles Stinson drawer design
To add a bright accent to the otherwise refined color and material palettes, the clients selected Glossy Ruby Red glass for the cabinet faces on the inside of the island.

“It makes for a fun surprise when you walk into the kitchen, and brightens the work space,” says Little.

Another key feature of the interior is the sculptural steel and wood staircase with a glass balustrade. This leads up through the void to the master suite, second bedroom, guest suite and study. Here again, the high-end materials and finishes reflect the close attention to detail.

Streeter says the main challenge in building the house was the tight city lot.

“There were a lot of regulations that affected the design and construction, but we have been able to fit in so much, without making any lifestyle compromises.”

The owners say they love watching the changing seasons.

“The house looks so different when the leaves on the trees change color. And we love how the light plays on the walls, and the way the copper is changing over time. It is as though the house itself is evolving.”

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