Loosely translated from Latin, Mysterium Fascinatus means mysterious and bewitching. This was a driving factor for the design; to create a structure which is compelling yet veiled, stirring a desire to explore the secrets within. Located at the back of the property, the building peeks at the road from behind the live oaks giving visitors a destination which is reached by moving past the stacked fieldstone wall and down a gently curving drive. Another stone wall and weathered wrought iron gate separate the proposed "village" side of the property from the private residence which overlooks the site.
From the outside, the building creates the illusion of being rooted in history by using reclaimed wood decking and board & batten siding in conjunction with wrought iron accents. The stone cladding is a cultured veneer which protects the AAC block structure from the elements. An ancient process of charring and oiling wood to seal it against the weather and pests is used to create door, window, and roof trim which contrasts with the lighter materials.
Entering from the front door, guests find themselves in a small cloakroom which opens directly into the generous great room. This is the heart of the home and serves as its centerpiece with a high, exposed roof structure supported by wrought iron trusses springing up from stone clad pedestals. A large soapstone fireplace stands on the east wall in order to keep the cold dark nights of winter at bay. The south wall hosts several large windows providing daylighting and supplemental passive solar heating. Directly off the great room resides the kitchen which is largely open to the building across a large stainless steel island. Within the kitchen is a generous walk-in pantry for storage.
Hidden away just off the great room are the guest powder room and the master suite. The master bedroom is comfortably sized with plenty of natural light in the morning. The adjoining bathroom boasts an open walk-in shower and combination toilet/bidet as well as dual sinks and a large stained glass window which admits light while protecting privacy.
The round tower serves multiple roles within the building while harkening back to a bygone age. Foremost, it is intended to help in cooling the home; by using operable windows, the tower acts as a chimney allowing warm air to escape the living space. The tower also hosts the curved stairs to the second floor, the mechanical equipment hidden beneath the stairs, a utility space, and the office; a quiet place perched on the second floor with screened views of the interior and exterior. A second bathroom and bedroom also reside on the second floor enclosed by walls skinned with reclaimed pallet wood and a balcony which overlooks the great room.
On the south exterior of the home is a patio space protected from the sun by skeletal iron trusses skinned with a ragged section of expanded steel sheeting. Perhaps the remnants of a long forgotten wing of the house or, maybe, the beginnings of something new. Regardless, the structure permits light while providing shading for the patio and building alike.
In regards to the project goals this design delivers. It is compact while retaining a commanding presence on the site, it gives space for entertaining guests both inside & out and offers private areas in which to retreat. It is modern construction with a mix of new and old materials creating a unique environment. It is mysterious and bewitching. Mysterium Fascinatus.
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