Located in the outskirts of Des Moines, Iowa, this new home rests on a gently sloping forested site. Three simple gable structures clad completely in black, white and gray corrugated metal are offset from each other to save as many trees as possible and provide multi-directional territorial views and privacy.
The Black – garage - is the first structure one sees upon entering the property. Black, the absence of color, is associated with elegance, sophistication and confidence.
The White – master suite - is at the opposite end of the site, furthest away from the street. The White illustrates the presence of the full color spectrum and is associated with purity, innocence, wholeness and completion and is a study in that color. White siding and roofing and white windows protect a white interior, furnishings and appointments and a white pickled wood floor. A white four poster bed and night stands sits opposite floor to ceiling windows and are a few feet away from a gracious stone fireplace. In the master bath, a long, freestanding claw foot tub is located in front of a large section of windows that look directly into the forest. The dressing room and walk-in closet is brightened by skylights and a floor to ceiling window.
The Gray - the place for living, family and guests - links the Black and White. Its color is solid and stable, creating a sense of calm and composure and relief from a chaotic world. The Gray is marked by an outsized front door covered in flat steel panels painted sports car red, the color of energy, passion and action. The door rides on an offset hinge and is protected by a gray corrugated steel awning that folds out from the wall.
Living spaces have eleven foot white beamed ceilings, polished concrete floors and expanses of gallery wall for the owner’s substantial and growing art collection. Eight foot French doors with transoms and a wall of large paned windows bring light deep into the great room where the kitchen dining and living spaces flow seamlessly together. In the corner is a two story space where notes from a baby grand piano can fill the home. Located just off the great room is the glazed porch with overstuffed furniture and a large stone fireplace where one can tuck away from the hubbub of large family gatherings to read and contemplate. On the opposite side is an elevated patio for outdoor living and grilling. Space for three dogs, laundry, pantry and mud room complete the main structure’s main floor. The Gray’s second level, accessed via an industrial steel staircase offers treehouse views from the study, deck and guest suites.
DES MOINES, IOWA
Located on one of the few remaining undeveloped in-city lots in Des Moines, Iowa, this residence is sited in a dense stand of 20 to 40 year old oak trees well off the street. To enhance privacy, architectural screen walls protect views into the home from the street and neighboring properties. Concrete and steel panels, concrete masonry and curved factory glass form the walls, while a zinc standing seam covers the bow shaped roof. The three bedroom home features steel-troweled concrete and bamboo floors, concrete and stainless steel countertops over Dakota Burl cabinetry. A sub-grade climate controlled wine cellar holds the Shadur’s ever expanding wine collection.
WEST SEATTLE, WASHINGTON
Four modern town homes located in West Seattle cram a lot of living space into three floors and 1200 square feet. The ground level is convertible and can be either a large bedroom, a den, or home office with full bath and laundry. The main floor is dedicated entirely to one floor living with an open kitchen, dining and living room and a balcony. The top floor is the master suite with walk in closets and full 4 fixture bath. An open stairwell connects all floors and leads to a full roof deck with views to downtown Seattle and the Olympic Mountains.
Boxwood is designing a home in Lima for an international family that has travelled the world. They wanted traditional architecture, a gracious garden and open living spaces. We have attempted to create as much outdoor living space as possible in an environment where security is paramount. All homes are surrounded by 3 meter tall walls and security gates. This design dedicates nearly half the in-city lot to outside space resulting in living space that is shallow and allows light penetration to be at the maximum. Main floor space includes a foyer, kitchen, dining room and large living room. The home has a master suite, den, office and junior suite on the second floor. The third floor has a full apartment, a junior suite, an artist loft and storage. The daylight basement, contains a wine cellar, maid’s quarters and utility areas. Materials are concrete, cement plaster, and tile.
TINY HOMES | STUDY
DES MOINES, IOWA
This condominium remodel involved the integration of a 1,830 square foot lower floor addition with an existing 2,400 square foot space. Boxwood’s design solution created access between the two areas via a new spiral staircase. The lower level expansion provides a master suite featuring custom cabinetry and furniture, special lighting elements, and a glass block curved wall. Remodeled existing spaces provide a new 2000-bottle wine cellar. Materials such as glass block, steel, and wood paneling were utilized throughout the condominium.
MASON CITY, IOWA
This 6,000 square foot home is sited on an isthmus of land between the Winnebago River and an abandoned limestone quarry near Mason City, Iowa. The two-story structure rises out of the natural rock cliffs at the edge of the lake, nestled among aspen, oak, and ash trees that grow out of limestone beds. The main floor houses all living areas and the master suite, while the upper level contains guest quarters and a large room with views to the west of a tributary and waterfall that runs into the river. A two-story corridor runs the entire length of the home, beginning at the study and second floor bird watch on the west, and ending at a screened porch perched on an outcropping of rock at the east. Boxwood designed and built custom light fixtures for this project, the third home Boxwood has completed for this client.
MASON CITY, IOWA
Sheathed in stucco, and glass, the Schaefer home is designed in the international style. It features a skylit spine that bisects the structure at a 15-degree angle, separating served and servant spaces - a design principle originally developed by Louis Kahn. The served side (living, dining, family and bed rooms) faces south and east and is stair stepped in a 15’ x 15’ plan module to give each room a corner window and access to the view. The home is further organized functionally according to desired privacy and formality levels. The further east along the spine one travels the more private and less formal the room functions become beginning with the formal living and dining rooms and ending in the master suite and private deck. The servant side contains spaces that serve the rest of the home (kitchen, utility, stairway, and garage). It is located away from the view on the north side of the spine and provides a buffer against harsh winter winds. The 105 foot long spine, used as an art gallery, begins as a cover over the entry and terminates at a three-story deck structure overlooking Briarstone Lake.
CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA
The design for this 10,000 square foot private residence reflects the Prairie School vernacular with a strong horizontal line. The main level of the home contains formal living and dining rooms, a family room with a screened deck, a large kitchen, guest quarters, the master suite, and a study. The upper level provides two large bedrooms with private baths, a second study, and three decks. The lower level includes a half-court basketball court, an outside covered play area, and a drive-thru four-car garage.
MASON CITY, IOWA
This custom private residence is designed in The Prairie School style, with a split-face concrete block foundation wall laid in a random ashlar pattern, and stucco upper walls that serve as reminders of turn-of-the-century Griffin and Wright homes in The Midwest. Custom pedestal lights mark the entry and complement the design of the light fixtures, fireplace, and other architectural details inside the house.
MASON CITY, IOWA
David and Cindy Peters asked us to design a home that took advantage of the territorial view their lot. The solution was to raise the living, dining kitchen, family room and two decks to the second floor and place the three bedrooms and baths on the ground floor looking away from the street into a landscaped back yard and greenbelt. A strong entry opens directly into a foyer and an open stairwell flooded with light from above and a mahogany relief detail on the wall reaches to the second floor. A mahogany box contains the kitchen and a second mahogany relief detail ties the fireplace to the window trim. Simple mahogany grills are placed in the windows and a picture rail creates a strong horizontal line separating the darker painted lower portion of the wall from the white area above the window and door heads.
CLEAR LAKE, IOWA
This 4,000 square foot custom residence was designed with cast stone bearing walls both inside and out. Ceilings in the living area and master bedroom are 20 feet high, with 10-foot ceilings in all other locations. All cabinetry and woodwork is maple and birch with a light stain. Boxwood’s lighting design for the home provides predominantly indirect lighting through coves and wall sconces. The client says that, “…you have created a structure which demands to be noticed, is well integrated into its site, and meets the aesthetic and practical needs of the owners. You went far beyond the call of duty in order to assure that all criteria were satisfied.”
This rural home, located on a 100-acre farm, borrows elements from Midwestern farmhouses, which often started small and grew via a series of additions. A steeply pitched roof, lattice, and wings built off the main structure, as well as the weathered wood often seen on the windswept prairie, signal the home’s ancestry. A new roof over existing fieldstone walls recreated the barn that had collapsed years before.
CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA
Sited on a very steep slope, the design inspiration for this custom residence was based on the concept of a tree house, with access provided by a footbridge. Creatively making the most of a tight budget, the home includes two-story tall interior spaces and vaulted ceilings. Most of the existing trees were preserved through sensitive site planning and close coordination with the contractor.