Inside a Sleek Suburban Oasis Designed by Architect Eric Gartner



Inside a Sleek Suburban Oasis Designed by Architect Eric GartnerOccasionally an architect is lucky enough to come across clients who know exactly what they want. Such was the case when Eric Gartner, a partner at Manhattan-based SPG Architects, signed on to help a young New York City family build their dream home in Mamaroneck. The couple—she, with a background in fashion and textiles, and he, in the construction industry—began their search for a modernist architect well before they were ready to leave their Upper East Side three-bedroom and decamp to Westchester with their three elementary-school-age children. “They knew that they would need to move soon enough, so we started the property hunt together,” says Gartner. 

Once the couple settled on a three-quarter-acre lot in a suburban neighborhood where many of the mid-20th-century homes (including theirs) were being torn down and redeveloped, Gartner got to work ticking off their wish list: a modern white façade, specific room-by-room square-footage requirements, a double-height living room, a children’s play area, six bedrooms, a pool, an outdoor dining pavilion and kitchen, and two of the wife’s favorite aesthetic accents: walnut and concrete-like finishes. “The back and forth we had about various tones of gray became almost comical,” says Gartner, who painstakingly sourced at least 50 shades in everything from porcelain floor tiles to plaster to wall coverings. “We were focused on getting it exactly right, making sure that the gray palette feels layered, not just monochromatic.” As for the exacting room dimensions, which some architects might see as a hindrance, Gartner used the directive as an opportunity to bring interest to the front and rear façades by incorporating setbacks and cantilevered sections that make everything line up from one floor to the next. “The exterior planes mask the micromanipulation of spaces behind them,” says the architect, who “designed from the inside out, as opposed to the other way around.”

Inside a Sleek Suburban Oasis Designed by Architect Eric Gartner

Even though the lot isn’t huge, outdoor programming is a crucial component of the project. “The kids hadn’t been outside the city, so my clients wanted a well-considered space,” explains Gartner, who conceived a series of rooms that open onto a secluded backyard complete with a gunite pool (the orientation of which was sited to accommodate the lot’s natural slope and minimize the amount of rock excavation), a sitting area, and an open-air dining pavilion and kitchen that matches the house’s stucco exterior. Large stretches of glass on the rear façade “expand the sense of interior space and connect it to the landscape,” the architect adds. 

Further inside the 7,000-square-foot residence, a three-story skylit staircase serves as a dramatic focal point. To mimic the look of concrete, Gartner brought in an artisan to apply gray plaster to the wall, and then installed a screen of vertical stainless-steel rods and floating walnut treads. “It brings light to the center of the house and down to the lower level, helping to integrate the kids’ playroom into the rest of the home,” he says. The wife enhanced Gartner’s elegant shell with streamlined furnishings, including reproductions of mid-20th-century designs like a Saarinen Tulip table, a Mies van der Rohe Barcelona chair, and an Eames lounge chair. “She likes to personalize her homes,” Gartner says, “so we left blank spots where she can continue to transform it over time. Our job was to provide a cohesive design that accommodates how the family wants to live and allows for enough evolution throughout the years so that the house will remain relevant into the future.” 

A version of this article appeared in the April 2018 issue of NYC&G (New York Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: Modernist Manifesto.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags

Architect Spotlight

Edit Module
Nautilus Architects
Christopher Arelt’s practice, Nautilus Architects, involves collaboration and interpretation, with each design evolving in its own way in response to the site, context and client. Chris’ work is seen as a continuation of but also a response to Modernism; or, more specifically, a return to regionalism and artistry, where clients’ projects are developed with the “head, hearts and hands” of all those involved. All of our buildings explore the use of natural light, reveal the inherent beauty of the materials being used, and bring the outdoors in.


Edit ModuleShow Tags

Architect Spotlight

Laura Kaehler Architects
Laura Kaehler Architects is an Award Winning Architectural Firm. Along with Laura Kaehler, AIA, we have a talented staff of 5 architects and designers who create new homes, renovations and additions and apartment renovations. Designing a smaller footprint while obtaining a "big look" with an open floor plan design, better craftsmanship and detailing and richer materials is what we call "Responsible Luxury" and is a key element of our design philosophy.

Laura Kaehler

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Designer Spotlight

Fiona Leonard Interiors
Fiona Leonard Interiors, LLC is a full service design firm that specializes in making a client’s home unique and custom tailored to the owners taste and lifestyle. Projects are personally supervised from initial consultation to installation. Strong relationships with carefully selected creative artisans, highly skilled craftsmen and subcontractors ensures that your project will be in good hands. With over 20 years experience working alongside well established design professionals in Connecticut and Manhattan, Fiona Leonard Interiors, LLC was established.Fiona designs interiors with a casual elegance and timeless approach. Inherent in all her work is Fiona’s passion to combine clean lines and an artistic use of color that is comfortable for the client and reflects their personal lifestyle.

Fiona Leonard Interiors

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Architect Spotlight

Daniel Conlon Architects
Wind and weather, the ebb and flow of the tide, changing color and light define the rhythm of coastal living. This recent home embraces the idea with light-filled spaces , expansive views , cozy niches, and outdoor living environments. Landscape terraces and stonework ground the building to the site, while respecting all current building codes. Daniel Conlon Architects, based in Wilton CT, has designed numerous waterfront homes throughout the Northeast.

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
 
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module