Spencer Brickwork, Inc.
Architect: Contacts Without Company
Given the husband's English heritage, the owners asked the architect to design a residence reminiscent of the grand manors of England, the hallmark of his native land. The owners wanted their new home to have a timeless, classic look, absent any of the trendy design components prevalent on today's new houses. In keeping with the historical aspect of English manors, the owners didn't want their home to appear to be new construction. They told the architect that they wanted it to look like it had been standing for generations.
The builder had a photo of an existing English-flavored home in another market, which the owners liked. Consequently, the image became the design starting point for the project's design while also serving as a springboard for the architect's imagination.
The mason contractor conducted a search for a stone and mortar combination that would produce the look of classic elegance the owner's wanted. He recommended a mix of two stones - Garvey and Beaver Dam - a beige colored mix with soft tonal variegation. To complement the soothing tones of the stone, he had a custom mortar color (New Lime Putty) preblended especially for the project.
The residence is exceptionally large: 175-ft. long, 105-ft. deep, its roughly 11,000-sf. structure consuming 244 tons of the stone mix.
An English vernacular is well expressed throughout the composition, with gables and a dormer over the master bedroom window, cut stone trim on the lower windows, and triple windows with an arch design. Similarly, there is a turret with dentil brackets, an arched doorway with stone trim, gas lanterns, a porte-cochere with a tongue-in-grove stained bead board ceiling and stained carriage doors on the detached garage.
In the rear, there is a covered veranda with an exterior stone fireplace. A terrace adjoins a bedroom and a large gable distinguishes the great room bay. The tile by the pool is coordinated to blend with the look of the stone.
The cut stone barrel arch entry was a particular challenge for the craftsmen, given the cramped workspace. The area was too restricted to use a template, so the crew built wooden supports to prop the stones. These, in turn, had to be cut perfectly to match the dimensions of the doorframe.
Overall, there are four chimneys and six fireplaces-five interior, one exterior. Two of the interior units are built with the Garvey/Beaver Dam mix, while three feature marble facings. The unit in the hearth room extends to the ceiling in grand tradition. There is also a set of solid stone arches in the wine room.
Although constructing each of the elements provided its own problems, the greatest challenge was blending the individual pieces harmoniously. In this case, the construction and design team has combined its skill and imagination with the beauty of masonry to successfully create a grand manor in the English tradition.