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Private Residence by Grunsfeld Shafer Architects

By Sophie Johnson


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This contemporary weekend home is a project by Grunsfeld Shafer Architects that is located in Illinois, USA.

The design expresses the owner’s active, environmentally conscious lifestyle.

Private Residence by Grunsfeld Shafer Architects:

“Rigorous parameters dictate the design of this weekend residence, an architecturally distinguished one-level house for a multi-generational family.

As a counterpoint to the owners’ high-rise lifestyle, the home accommodates an abundance of family and guests and offers immediate access to the land. It is also serene, comfortable and secluded.

The owners can re-energize from city life, enjoy intimate landscape views from every room and roam the grounds.

The structure is a simple configuration of three contiguous pavilions of varying heights, each housing different functions.  But all offer light-filled living spaces with significant volume to heighten the airy nature of the home.

The design reflects the family’s desire to provide an epicenter for action; access the outdoors from multiple spaces; provide room for family interactions at the pool, play areas and central fireplace; have private spaces for intimate activities such as reading; and embrace sustainable initiatives.

To these ends, the design features:

A 6500 sq. ft. floor plan that is precisely sited to maximize daylight, sightlines and ventilation and allows visual and physical access to the rolling acres.

Eco-friendly solutions that include a geothermal heating and cooling system, high-efficiency foam insulation, Low-E2 argon-filled insulated glazing, and low-VOC materials throughout; meticulously calculated overhangs to provide solar shading; and Energy Star appliances, low- flow fixtures and recycled materials including resilient flooring and carpets.

Three interconnected pavilions–a voluminous living space with a cantilevered brise-soliel to modulate the Southern light; a guest wing with three bedrooms and an exercise studio that slides open to the pool environs; and a secluded master suite pavilion.

The use of strong yet honest materials (architectural concrete, lead-coated copper, wood and stone) combined with simple, straightforward design elements such as high ceilings, varied rooflines, vermillion columns, custom designed built-in steel shelving which spans the length of the kitchen-living room space and an in-situ architectural concrete chimney.

Channel glass that streams consistent northern light, allowing for minimal use of electrical lighting during the day.

A shallow pool with a sound feature to generate a sense of tranquility, a stacked lumber BBQ and a custom designed sunshade.
Its dramatic scale signals the home’s entry and visually bridges an architectural divide between the public voluminous living space and the private master suite of the house.

The panel pivots effortlessly, providing varying degrees of transparency, security and exposure of, and to, the residence.

When fully opened at 90 degrees, it reveals the voluminous foyer to the world outside, totally transforming the nature of the space. It also provides ventilation and a direct passage to the pool environs, a covered outdoor eating area and the private grounds beyond.

Its character and presence is heightened by its high-gloss paint and slender, sculptural stainless steel pull.

In context, the thoughtfully rendered and subtly articulated portal and vermillion panel represents daring artistry and offer a stunning and vibrant counterpoint to the residence’s sedate, understated, elegant materials palette.”

Photos by: Steve Hall of Hedrich Blessing Photographers

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About Sophie Johnson

As the senior editor for HomeDSGN, Sophie is the ultimate authority on all things home. With years of experience and a deep passion for home decor, she brings an unparalleled level of expertise to everything she does. From decorating and interior design or from cleaning to organization, her insights and guidance are invaluable to anyone looking to transform their living space. Learn more about HomeDSGN's Editorial Process.

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