Potting sheds. Carriage houses. Pigeonniers. Thunder Houses. These little architectural gems exude such charm, hold such romance and whisper greatly. I think its because they need so little program; their uncomplicated jobs are simple and intelligible. Standing as the quiet witnesses of the property, they offer shelter to the humble. A refuge to yard tools, a roof to the automobile, harborage to birds or an umbrella in the storm, these outbuildings hold safe the accessory members of the estate. I think that’s why they’re so fun to design. They come to us, free of burden, bearing no great requirements. No complicated programs. No code issues. No kitchen triangles. Like a child, they ask only for simple things. Walls. A roof. Sanctuary. A bit of window might be nice. Simply they sit but nobly they stand, the curios of the premises.
The winner of last week’s giveaway is Sherri Robinson. Congratulations! Your autographed copy of The Home Within Us is on its way. Thanks to all who stopped by to enter.
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Being honored with a commission to design someone’s new home is like an invitation to a private party. When the collaboration is at its best, your host offers himself up and, in the end, teaches you more. Such was the case of this client and his Lake Martin, Alabama home. He came prepared for our first meeting with scores of sketches and even more ideas. With this particular brilliant, crazy mind, our job was clear – distill, edit and make physical the child-like zaniness he exuded.
The house, we decided, was to have some type of playful theme. Since our client’s fanciful mind seem to dart and fly all over the place, we decided to try our hand at a victorian based house festooned with bird motifs in place of gingerbread. The house was developed, built and the client adored it.
Here, the story really begins. Being a long-time master gardener, our client decided to take the home as an inspirational seed and grow the property as a delightful, experiential, often non-sensical horticultural playground. Completing that, he then bought the adjacent property and expanded his kingdom. Over the years, the garden has become an unbelievable trip into a twisted genius’s mind. It’s as if someone handed the Mad Hatter a shovel, a bag of seeds and some fertilizer. The property began a blank canvas. Land was re-formed. Boulders dropped as if from heaven. Water sprung forth from unknown fonts. The Garden, un-mappable except in the maker’s head, is a delightful romp of discovery; an emotional and exploratory game of Chutes and Ladders with a bit of Dungeons and Dragons thrown in for excitement. A few of the hidden treasures that lie within the arcadia: an underground wine cave complete with murals, a walled croquet lawn, an oversized chess board and a grotto living room which lies behind a waterfall. Since the owner loves to enchant and entertain, there are over a dozen dining nooks, each with a specific character. Beset with requests for weddings over the nearly twenty years since starting, the owner recently completed a lovely green overlooked by an elevated party barn for receptions and dances.
He once told me the reason he has spent unbelievable time, effort and money on creating this light hearted Eden. He said he imagined someone on his death bed reviewing the days in his life and his memory would light briefly upon an amazing day spent in a garden with nothing on the agenda but diversion, decadence and delight.
All Content on this Site is the Property of McAlpine Tankersley Architecture. Copyright © 2012 McAlpine Tankersley Architecture, All Rights Reserved Worldwide