Advaney House, Holland, 1991

This house in Holland is sited in an overgrown and romantic 19th century garden surrounding a quiet pond. The abandoned five-acre "garden" now consists of very large specimen trees. the rhododendron, holly and laurel - nearly a century old - presented at once a formidable challenge and a comfort to the architect. The one-meter caliper beech trees along with mature hemlock give an order and strength to the site that is unique in Holland. This house is the result of early deliberate decisions by the architect. It is sited half way into the pond to protect the garden and to take maximum advantage of the prevalent sense of water and its reflective light. The design abstracts and accents the stepped gable ends of the Dutch houses of the 16th and 17th centuries in the nearby villages. The house is constructed with small, 16th century-style, painted Flemish brick. The interior spaces express the volumes promised by the form of the house when first observed from the drive. Because of the relatively low level of sunshine, the fenestration is clear when running beneath the eaves and 22 feet high and mullioned when reaching for the light on the stepped gabled ends. The floors are teak except for the center hall, or "street," which is paved in 17th century Dutch patterns of white, green and black marble. The entire exterior of the house is painted white. The pure color was chosen because it would announce the form more clearly against the dark wall of the rare garden beyond. It follows, of course, that the interior surfaces are painted white as well in order to reflect that light within.

Published:  Elle Decor, April/May 1992: 106-115; Audio/Visual Interiors, October 1993: 42-56

Project Architect: Rodger Speas

Architectural photography: Robert C. Lautman