Lines and Squares
An architect and a designer pare a 1930s International-style house down to its essentials—and give it back its edge
(page 2 of 3)
Behind the Scenes
Making the Most of Minimalism
(Left) Deutsch and his daughter hang out in the backyard, where a nearly 400-square-foot addition to the master bedroom projects over the deck. (Top right) Cedar and stucco conceal the original brick. “This house used to go unnoticed—now it stands out,” says Circo. (Bottom right) Front exterior: before See more photos in our gallery below.
Yes, there can be salvation from the wrecking ball even for a house that architect Ken Circo says was “an ugly Art Deco box.” Working alongside homeowner/designer Eric Deutsch, he improved the curb appeal of this 1930s home simply by covering its tired brick exterior with stucco and cedar. Deutsch loves how the gray stucco imparts the modern feeling of concrete, but concedes he also needed some texture and color to warm up all the gray. That’s why both the former garage (now a family room) in front and the new addition at the rear are clad in natural cedar siding. “The color of this cedar is very vibrant,” Deutsch says. “It puts you in a good mood.” New windows with commercial-grade glass tinted dark for energy efficiency replaced old ones, but the original windows’ shapes and locations were retained. Horizontal lines, flat roofs, and wraparound windows are elements of the International style of architecture.
See more photos in our gallery below.
1. An office area in the second-floor hallway is brightened by a skylight above the stairwell. 2. “I stained the white oak floors dark because you can get lost in an open plan like this,” Deutsch says. “These dark floors give a sense of grounding.” Twisted steel cables inside steel railings enclose the staircase. 3. Le Corbusier chairs are shown to good advantage in the main living area; past the stairway is a family room created from space formerly occupied by the garage. The only nonwhite wall in the house is behind the stairs. “It’s the tallest wall, and the pale blue color brings your eye up to the huge skylight,” Deutsch says. 4. The powder room’s subtle scene-stealer is a rectangular Philippe Starck dual-flush commode. “I admit it. I splurged on the toilet,” Deutsch says.
Photography: Andreas Larsson
Styling: Kami Bremyer