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A Home of Principles: Form & Function

Written by Karen Marley
Imagery by Nick Marx, Exteriors and Matt Wittmeyer, Interiors

Imagine two lakeside homes. One is a carbon copy of the original owner’s New England residence, rotated and plunked down into its small lot. The other is designed to Frank Lloyd Wright’s principles of organic architecture of form following function. The development of these homes could not be more different, which makes it so astonishing that it’s the same structure.
    “Stylistically, the original house did not fit the location,” observes Alex Martinec, a residential designer with Bright Ideas by Martinec, a remodeling and design firm. “It 
didn’t take advantage of the reasons you move to a lake.”
    It did, however, have potential. When the new home-owners purchased it as a second home, they remodeled it in several phases. The initial work was cosmetic. When they decided to tackle the master bedroom and front deck they turned to Bright Ideas. They trusted the younger Martinec to bring a fresh approach to the design knowing he had the resources of their long-time trusted builder, George Martinec. “We didn’t give a lot of guidance,” says the homeowner. “Alex came back with a stunning design to wrap the deck with a sleek, contemporary look. It’s very functional. He utterly changed the appearance of the house.”
    The final phase came from the need for an office. The homeowner recalls, “The beauty of the final design really pulls the house together.” A casual observer will see a home of stunning, modern style. In reality the design is born of form and functionality.
    For the deck, natural materials honor the organic location. Glass railings preserve clean, uncluttered views. Sliding wood screen panels protect privacy while letting in light and welcomed breezes. A flowing connection from the deck through the home to the front door minimizes the barrier between inside and out, and references the dynamic fluidity of water that defines lakeside living.
    The concept of movement is carried in many forms. Posts in groups of two support the deck at various angles creating a stronger structure while the angles appear to change as one 
passes by.  The entry and front door suggest a slight compression and release creating a subconscious delight in moving through the entryway. The horizontal orientation of the walls and ceiling establishes flow. Extensive use of glass creates a floating sensation. Mirrored kitchen toe kicks mimic this illusion.  The “wave wall” and shelves have LED light cascading down, backwashing the glass.
    The design blurs the lines between the inside and outside creating a barely detectable visual barrier. Soffits, indoors and out, are set at the same level. Flooring, walkways, lighting fixtures, and more are made of the same materials. The home also incorporates smart design. Panels hide appliances for a countertop free of debris. Dining room panels open up revealing a wine refrigerator.
    The form and functionality do more than produce excellent design. For this home, they create an awareness of living. It’s a space to enjoy the water and experience that you’re in a beautiful place. 

Design Resources
Bright Ideas by Martinec   
Solid Surfaces, Inc.   
Thomas Landscaping

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