There's No Place Like Home

Ela Sathern | April 14, 2021 | Home & Real Estate

A FAMILY GEM IN GILBERT MELDS MODERN COURTYARD DESIGN WITH BARNYARD CHIC.


At an automated gate begins the decomposed granite drive that circles the entire property. To the west (right) sits the historic brick home with the modern expansion and entry to the east (left). Photographed by Roehner   Ryan Photography
At an automated gate begins the decomposed granite drive that circles the entire property. To the west (right) sits the historic brick home with the modern expansion and entry to the east (left). Photographed by Roehner Ryan Photography

THE CLIENT

This 1 ½-acre property has been in the client’s family for five generations and was the location of their original family cotton farm that once occupied 160 acres of land. Although the working farm has since expanded and moved out where more land is available, the original red-brick farmhouse that was built in the 1940s remained near the heart of Gilbert. Over the years the community has filled in around it, leaving this lot as an oasis within the developed town. “My wife and I have been thinking about this house for 11 years,” says homeowner Justin. “It’s always been in our family. We couldn’t stand to sell it.” Today, three generations of family live and work on the expanded farm at the edge of Gilbert. Even so, Justin and his wife, Dawnie, decided to keep the Gilbert property in the family and make it their forever home—and one that could be passed down within the family for generations to come.


The great room has an L-shaped custom sectional with seating built into the backside. Photographed by Roehner   Ryan Photography
The great room has an L-shaped custom sectional with seating built into the backside. Photographed by Roehner Ryan Photography

THE PRIORITY

“Creating a home that truly recognized and complemented the clients’ family and lifestyle,” says architect and builder Erik Koss of Koss Design+Build. Justin and Dawnie had very specific design concepts from the start. They began putting their own design thoughts on paper with longtime family friend and landscape architect Don Tompkins. From there, they relied on Koss to design and build a true family home. “They had a focused vision on what they wanted and they really understood how they lived, which made it easy for us to create it for them,” he says. “The big idea was always the courtyard and organizing all the elements of the project around the courtyard. From there, the elements were really designed to tell the story of the history of the property. The tale is that of an original family farm that was slowly relocated to other parts of Arizona over time. Eventually this same family refostered the property by designing and building a project that spoke of this history. We did this by rebuilding the historic home, creating a modern addition to expand that home, as well as building a new barn as a nod to the original farm structure that had long passed.”


A textured wood ceiling delineates the kitchen area from the main living and dining areas. The island is an oak cantilevered section that provides seating on each side Photographed by Roehner   Ryan Photography
A textured wood ceiling delineates the kitchen area from the main living and dining areas. The island is an oak cantilevered section that provides seating on each side Photographed by Roehner Ryan Photography

THE CHALLENGE

Blending Justin’s modern design goals with Dawnie’s more traditional aesthetic. “Our goal is to always create harmony between the owners’ personal tastes, the architecture and our creative vision,” says interior designer Tony Williams of Anthony W. Design. “With this house, the unique architecture heavily influenced the interiors, particularly in the movement of the modern side of the home, to the historic house. We wanted to create distinct spaces that parallel the distinct architecture, while also cross-pollinating between spaces to allow a seamless flow. Throughout the house you will find rustic elements intertwined with modern, which is a perfect representation of the homeowners and the lifestyle they live.”


Star lights inside the pool help mirror the sky above. Floating benches on each side of the pool align with the window wall systems of the historic home and barn beyond. Photographed by Roehner   Ryan Photography
Star lights inside the pool help mirror the sky above. Floating benches on each side of the pool align with the window wall systems of the historic home and barn beyond. Photographed by Roehner Ryan Photography

THE STRATEGY

“A courtyard design organized all the physical elements of the home while also appealing to the clients’ vision,” says Koss. The courtyard includes a raised, four-sided negative-edge pool; a bocce court area; patios; and a full outdoor kitchen beneath a cantilevered trellis. All three sides of the courtyard have large folding door systems to open up the home to the outdoor space. “For me, the raised, negative-edge pool is a showstopper in the courtyard,” he says. “The pool acts as a water feature when no one is using it while still being a fully functional pool when needed. This was always a goal of the clients and it really came out beautifully.” A glass bridge disconnects the historic home from the new, modern addition. “By creating this clean break between the two spaces we were allowed to freely explore the clients’ need to have areas of the home with more minimal design concepts and details,” says Koss. “We wanted to respect the history of the place while still making it a home that reflected our clients’ lifestyle. The modern addition uses simple natural materials such as limestone and exposed wood in an organized and clean manner to bring out the more modern sensibilities of the clients’ goals while still balancing the more traditional nature of the historic home.”


The center of attraction is the custom walnut dining table with a whimsical Big Sky Bang suspension light by Stickbulb overhead. Photographed by Roehner   Ryan Photography
The center of attraction is the custom walnut dining table with a whimsical Big Sky Bang suspension light by Stickbulb overhead. Photographed by Roehner Ryan Photography

THE DETAILS

Using materials, furniture and artwork that felt as comfortable in a modern house as in a traditional home. “The oversize limestone walls of the modern addition are such an unexpected element in a house,” says Koss. “This material gives the home a truly substantial feeling of quality and permanence. The light color reflects and bounces light day and night, and the rugged nature of the material allows it to be used inside and out.” The flooring transitions from sand-finish concrete to oak flooring. In the living room, Williams was tasked with designing a custom sectional. “We wanted something that was free-floating to not detract from the stunning limestone walls,” he says. “It had to be both attractive and functional from every angle. Additionally, with the amount of entertaining our clients enjoy, we needed it to seat a lot of people.” The giant 13-foot-by-14-foot double-sided sectional can comfortably seat 12 to 14 people, with a walnut bench along the backside.


A custom rocking chair by Chase Warren Design completes the space. Photographed by Roehner   Ryan Photography
A custom rocking chair by Chase Warren Design completes the space. Photographed by Roehner Ryan Photography

“The heart of the home is where the family spends most of their time together—the dining table,” says Williams. “I have never spent more time discussing the proper size of the dining table as I did this one. In working in such an incredible space, both in size and architectural sophistication, we knew we had to get it right. Too small and the space would dwarf it, but too big and it would impede on function of the space and become a distraction. After three site meetings and several weeks mapping it out, we landed on 14 feet, 1 inch as the perfect size.” Built by Chase Warren Design, the table, paired with two custom benches, rounded out the modern farmhouse dining scene. Dawnie’s favorite spot in the house is the kitchen, simply because she says it’s the room in which she spends most of her time. Beautifully designed Bulthaup cabinetry provides the clean, organized look she dreamed of. The highlight is a high-performance French range in turquoise—the client’s favorite color. “The 72-inch range is placed centered on the courtyard axis of the home as it acts as the main organizing element of the kitchen,” says Koss. “It is just as comfortable in a historic European structure or a modern home.”


Both bedrooms in the historic home open up to the backside of the sitting room. Built-in bookshelves, family heirloom furniture pieces and accessories adorn this room. Photographed by Roehner   Ryan Photography
Both bedrooms in the historic home open up to the backside of the sitting room. Built-in bookshelves, family heirloom furniture pieces and accessories adorn this room. Photographed by Roehner Ryan Photography

“As you transition into the historic house, we wanted to pay homage to the original use of the different spaces, so each space is a modernized rendition of the original floor plan,” says Williams. Rooms, which include the private bedrooms and baths as well as some secondary living spaces, were enlarged and vaulted as needed to accommodate modern-day amenities, and level changes were removed to create universal access. “One of the more exciting aspects of this design was the vast number of family heirlooms that were used,” says Williams. “By using these family treasures with a modern flair, and pairing with custom pieces, we were able to create spaces that are filled with a rich energy that can only be obtained with careful intentionality.” Special attention is paid to the bedrooms also: Because Justin is a hunter, the “his” bedroom is naturally designed for the modern huntsman, while “hers” is designed for the much more glamorous side of ranch life.

Although much of Justin’s taxidermy is carefully mapped out throughout the house, infused in the natural design elements, the new barn is where most is showcased. The new barn, with modern amenities, houses a guest suite, RV parking, a home gym, a gathering and living space, a workshop, an archery range, a loft space, a display area, a structure for future solar panels and plenty of storage. “The barn acts as a jack-of-all-trades element,” says Koss. “Anyone who walks through this barn immediately wonders why they don’t have a barn of their own.”


The main entry door is an 8-foot-by-8-foot pivot door made of steel and ipe wood. Once past the foyer, the house opens up to the main great room for entertaining. Photographed by Roehner   Ryan Photography
The main entry door is an 8-foot-by-8-foot pivot door made of steel and ipe wood. Once past the foyer, the house opens up to the main great room for entertaining. Photographed by Roehner Ryan Photography

THE OUTCOME

“Every single space has so much heart and energy poured into it that it makes each space so special for different reasons,” says Williams. “I love that as you walk from space to space, almost every single piece used has a story behind it. I love that every space is absolutely unique, while somehow being perfectly cohesive with the rest of the home. I love the energy of the home and design, which is truly a manifestation of the genuine and loving people who live in it.” There is a continuous thread of informal yet sophisticated aesthetics that flow throughout the home. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, ‘This is my favorite spot.’ I love our home as a whole,” says Dawnie, and Justin agrees, adding that he loves how the whole property flows, allowing for movement of people and vehicles. “It’s the house of our dreams. It’s our forever home. We have a big front door to invite everyone in.”

DESIGN DETAILS

TYPE

Single-family residence

LOCATION

Gilbert

ARCHITECT & BUILDER

Koss Design+Build, PLLC,

kossdb.com

INTERIOR DESIGN

Anthony W. Design, anthonywdesign.com

LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT

Whitmore Consulting, 602.418.2388

RESOURCES

ARIZONA FIREPLACES

Outdoor fire pit element

arizonafireplaces.com

BULTHAUP

Kitchen cabinetry

bulthaup.com

CHASE WARREN DESIGN

Custom dining table and bench, double-sided couch, coffee table, loft ladder, Wild Tiger-grain maple Maloof rocker

chasewarrendesign.com

PHOENICIAN POOL CONSTRUCTION

Four-sided, raised negative-edge pool

phoenicianpool.com

PROSPECT DIVISIONS UPHOLSTERY

Ottomans, sofas, sectional and church pew fabrication

prospectdivisions.com

SIENNA CUSTOM WINDOW & DOOR

Fleetwood and Andersen E-Series windows

siennacustom.com

SOLSTICE STONE

Exterior and interior large-format split-face limestone installed by Randy Gregory Masonry

solsticestone.com



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