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Exclusive Design: Outside, In Between, & Below

Written by Karen Marley
Imagery by Sandra Kicman and Don Cochran

It is time to return the idea of a “custom home” to its original intent; the purest form of personalized craftsmanship. For that, train your sights to a Buffalo home on the Lake Erie shoreline that has been lovingly manicured to suit the land upon which it sits, the environment that surrounds it, and the family that lives there.
    “There is nothing ordinary about this house,” says the homeowner. “Everything is custom. It took years, but everything is unique. Even the doorstops!”

With a main residence, a carriage house, and the newly built  “Viewing Room,”  the estate is a compound … of sorts. Buildings are anchored together, physically and visually, by an outdoor living space and tunnel network. These spaces are defined by unique design and artisan
craftsmanship all perfectly fused to the surrounding environment.
    The bluestone pool area and surrounding space are enclosed by a handcrafted, iron forged fence. The outdoor fireplace, built into the external wall of the main home, secures a focal point for the upper level seating area. The mountain-inspired post and beam pool cabana
built by New Energy Works with its outdoor shower, bathroom, and kitchen is also on this level. Brightly colored, whitewashed patio furniture softens the mountain timbers and stone.
    A stone wall extension near the fireplace features granite  artwork in the form of a family tree. The wall’s topline undulates gracefully, following the tree’s dynamic outline. The wood beams of a timber pergola thrust upward on the other side, marking the outdoor hot tub with the continuation of alpine elements.
    The pool mirrors its Lake Erie backdrop. Lounge chairs recline in a large shallow area under a huge umbrella designed to be in the water. The view across the pool to the lake is underscored by layers of large rocks carefully placed, mimicking the region’s layers of shale.
    A waterfall tumbles into the pool hiding a secret seat behind the curtain of water. A water slide is also built into the rocks. The view is flanked by torches and two
fire bowls.

Artisan Design
The wrought iron fence adjacent to the pool hides another surprise. Walk up to the fence and you are on the Viewing Room’s roof. Large boulders interspersed with natural grasses tumble down on one side. A close inspection reveals that these rocks are naturally camouflaged stairs connecting you to the pool area and Viewing Room entry.
    The Viewing Room’s floor-to-ceiling glass wall showcases the main feature: a view of water and sky. “It’s just the lake and you,” says Ty Allen, Design Build Manager with New Energy Works, which was responsible for the Viewing Room’s visually low-impact design.
     “The Viewing Room is visible from the water but otherwise you may not even know it’s there. The water and natural elements were the drivers,” adds Allen.
    The interior consists of two bedrooms, a bathroom and a single large kitchen, living room and family room space. Carol Schaper, of Carol Schaper Interiors, designed the interior to reflect a beachy, vacation mood with painted wood and bright colors of lime greens, blues and teals. Natural materials such as baskets, seagrass chairs and potted grasses add seaside texture. 
    Custom artistry adds unique elegance. The bathroom wall features a great blue heron standing in some reeds. A tiled, mosaic “river” complete with crabs and turtles made of thousands of hand-fired tiles runs alongside the glass wall interior.
    “I can’t understand why more designers don’t tap into our pool of local artistic talent. If you want true, unique design, you need to use these people,” says Schaper.

Style That Runs Deep
Whimsy and style also exist below the ground in the form of a network of tiled-floored tunnels connecting the compound’s buildings. A game room and golf simulator room are part of this underground world.
    “The connected nature of these various spaces to the main residence makes the carriage house and Viewing Room feel like a home inside of a home,” says Allen. To the delight of the homeowner’s grandchildren, one tunnel softly undulates asserting its subterranean mystique. Just like above the ground, it is a place like no other. 

ARC Iron Creations   
Carol Schaper Interiors   
Homestone Tile Gallery 
Kitchen Creations of WNY   
New Energy Works 
Sound and Theater  
Tiles International/The Belknap White Group  
Todd Fetzer’s Timberline Hardscapes LLC.

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