Better Homes and Gardens (Part II)

Better Homes and Gardens


The Edward Durell Stone "Modern" House

Source: Official Souvenir Book, New York World's Fair 1964/1965, p.70, by the editors of Time-Life Books, Time Inc.,
New York
Architectural Model

The second of the World's Fair houses, the design of Edward Durell Stone, represents an entirely different concept than the Wills house. In this house, the emphasis is on self-contained living, a necessity when building space is scarce and 50x100-foot lots are often the rule. Stone's answer to suburban overexposure is to build in, to cloister a house around itself for that precious commodity, privacy.

Like so many village houses in France and the Mediterranean countries, this one presents a closed front to the street (below). Its garage starts at the street line, leaving an arrival court between garage and house. Plantings are concentrated in simple, strategic units.


The plan indicates the guiding concept of this house - a room arrangement that is geared to a family of all ages. Since people tend to live around a kitchen, it occupies a central place in the plan; the living and dining rooms are close by, and the family room is just down the hall by the garage. This arrangement helps generate systematic privacy for the family, with space for the children to entertain at one end and room at the other end for a quiet master bedroom suite and a study.

Stone Home - Exterior

Because this house lives within itself, it can take full advantage of the lot (see plan). Courtyard walls extend to the edges of the lot, with covered patios at each corner of the house; rooms are clustered so they share the view of the courts. At the same time, these rooms open into a central atrium, making corridors unnecessary.

Stone Home - Courtyard

Just to the right of the front entry (above) is one of the outdoor courts, a dramatic illustration of Stone's concept of built-in privacy. The masonry walls give it a measured scope, with the roofed-over section creating a lanai effect. The court opens from the dining room and a bedroom, becoming a natural breakfast and luncheon area.

As with each of the other courts, the one shown has a circular skylight centered in its roof, and an edging of wood grillwork. Besides relieving the sharp lines of the roof, these two details help draw more light into the house itself. Only the single prestressed concrete corner post breaks the sweep of the poured aggregate patio.

With four of these courtyards, the Stone house achieves a remarkable sense of space within a confined area. As Stone sees it, this is the only practicable solution to close quarters; on a six-acre plot, of course, the natural privacy of the land would eliminate the need for walls. But since most people build on smaller lots to be near their work, court walls are the answer for complete freedom.

The Stone House Interiors

designed by
Sarah Hunter Kelly and Esther Willcox
Stone Home - Atrium

The core of the Stone house is the skylighted atrium (above), which gives the whole house a sense of great volume and spaciousness. In keeping with the sharp, clearly defined lines of this central room, the furniture and accessories are simple, yet functional.

The deep, sculptured feeling of the circular skylight is intensified by the round garden pool, the focal point for the furniture arrangement. Matched sofas face each other across the pool, their yellow cushions repeating accents of the living room and dining room. Two pair of wrought-iron side chairs, trimmed with yellow cushions, complete the grouping. A Melaleuca sapling and two evergreen privet plants in tailored pots contrast with the unadorned architecture - and help screen off the adjoining rooms from the conversation area.

Muted green walls form a subtle background for the non-representational oil paintings, which lend a sense of proportion to the otherwise severe walls.

Stone Home - Living Room
In the living room of the Stone house, elegantly detailed furnishings conform to the regular lines of the room itself. A white, deep-sculptured rug defines the rather formal seating arrangement, which faces the fireplace wall. The black surface of the sofa and the red chair fabrics dominate the color scheme; this black-and-red combination reappears often in the paintings and accessories.
Throughout the dining room, sunlight colors set the decorating pattern. Yellow on the comfortable dining chairs accentuates the crisp design; yellow in the drapery, painting, and buffet magnifies the grain of the dark wall paneling. Stone Home - Dining Room
Stone Home - Study

The three rooms shown here - study, bedroom, and kitchen - are excellent examples of the formula behind the Stone house interiors; precise, functional design complemented by uncluttered decorating.

In the study of the Stone house, a rich blend of wood establishes the restful tone of the room. The wall paneling is prefinished teak, its light shade serving as a foil for the paintings. Walnut chairs, a rosewood lamp table, and the rosewood coffee table base add a sense of unity.

The alcove - with its electric organ and recessed ceiling light - creates an out-of-the-way music center. The three-wall mural in the alcove brings additional depth to the rest of the room.

A different kind of harmony - this time of color - marks a bedroom in the Stone house. The deep amber of the rug flows throughout the room, from the drapery to the painting, and even to the teakwood chest recessed between two closets.

Through the black-framed glass doors is one of the covered patio areas, and beyond it, a quiet sunning spot.

Stone Home - Bedroom

SOURCE: Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, September, 1964 (unless otherwise indicated)

Stone Home - Kitchen

Opening onto one of the enclosed courts is the very practical kitchen of the Stone house. Yet this room is as inviting as any of the others, primarily because of its careful detailing - darkwood paneling on the counters, warm accent colors, a copper vent hood, and a large oil painting on the wall above the tile serving counter.

The light panels are mounted flush with the ceiling beams, surrounding the serving and work areas with glare-free illumination.

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