Whitman Residence Conveys Vibe, Openness and Connectivity of Contemporary Australian Design
Photos, Credit Benjamin Hill Photography
4210 Whitman Street, Houston, TX 77027 - 3,855 square feet, 2scale architects
Embracing the owners’ desire to "live on the whole property," the design of this home is inspired by the empty-nesters’ previous life Down Under, taking cues from contemporary Australian architecture with its strong horizontal lines, use of simple materials, efficient organization and powerful indoor-outdoor connectivity. The home’s public spaces and a strongly geometric, central courtyard unite via retractable panels in the dining and living rooms that create a grand and completely seamless transition from inside to outside. Design continuity through all the spaces makes the house feel whole, livable and connected.
Upon entering, visitors will be intrigued by the contrast of large and small spaces provided by a tall slender passageway, complete with a bridge, atrium-like second-story clerestory windows and resulting magical light. Connectivity is continued in the spa-like master suite, where the northern wall opens completely to the courtyard, with a covered cooking and dining patio, built-in grill and pizza oven. Extraordinary features include the open steel stair wrapped in walnut with LED lights and frameless glass guardrails, illuminated powder sink, massive sliding walls of glass, and the frameless glass wine "cube" in the dining room—both art and functional. A sunken kiva with fire pit and a striking glass see-through pool adorn the outdoors.
Gutters and downspouts are hidden, A/C units are concealed behind screens on the flat roof, and all storage and utilities are tucked into the home’s protected western side. Bright, glare-free interiors require no daytime lighting. An existing massive, old oak tree was incorporated into the front yard, while a luxurious courtyard retreat was created in the back, with artificial turf and low-maintenance landscaping.