This West-Indies-infused domicile has all the makings of paradise and it should. One Landfall family spent oceans of time on holiday, resorting and researching the architecture and details that would become their dream home. With stacks of pictures and a few mental notes collected during a 20-year period, the family enlisted the calculated precision of architect Chuck Dietsche and the manpower of builder/contractor Chris Martin. Together they turned the familys vacation dreams into a home to love for years to come.
Each detail from the louvered shades, the expansive windows and the oh-so-soothing color palette was designed with one intention relaxed elegance; a concept Dietsche says began when European culture arrived in the West Indies.
He explains, "There was a tradition of giant palatial land ownership with big houses in England and France. When they came to the Caribbean, they couldnt quite build up to the level of what was in Europe, but they still pushed it to the extreme."
That desire to mimic giant, country estates resulted in a style that is grand in scale, but simple in finish. Many of those details have been carried over into Dietsches latest project, which he spent a year and a half planning that includes an open concept that was palatial in size rather than palatial in finish. Its more about the space and its connection to the outdoors.
With roughly 130 pages of blueprints, builders vied to construct the project, and Chris Martin won the bid. He laughs at a running joke he shares with another builder who told him, "The only reason you got the job is because you were the only one who could lift the plans." Martin was thrilled to work with such a quality, detailed architect as Dietsche because the vision for the house was in place from the very beginning. What resulted is a true tribute to the craft and architecture of the West Indies: large in scale, simple in color, and personal in every detail.
At the curb, the scale of the 7,384-square-foot structure and palatial details immediately come into focus. From the third story, where a tower houses a workout facility, to the peaks of the roof pitch, the Old World chimney pots and the stylized artichoke finials allude to the grandeur of another time and place.
What brings the design down to earth is landscape designer Buddy Jacksons lush Caribbean concept carried out in fronds and foliage a deliberate mix of tropical plants such as sabal palmetto palms and more formal boxwood topiaries. As finishing touches to the front faade, Dietsche designed a freestanding third-car garage that distills all of the design idioms in miniature, and an informal script monogram for the driveway.
Once inside, Dietsche continued the West Indies theme. The foyer is dominated by an enormous Rumford fireplace framed by double entrances into the great room. Delicate shell butterfly chandeliers hang from the ceiling.
Configured with open spaces rather than individual rooms, Dietsche describes the generously proportioned floorplan as one humongous room. Dietsche created spatial definition using the same color palette and introducing subtle pattern changes and altered textures. These tone-on-tone textures include coffered ceilings, coffered wall panels, exposed beams and carved columns.
Dietsche balanced the ground level with his and her wings, each with its own personality incorporating masculine and feminine details.
Her wing features the kitchen, formal dining area, butlers pantry, reading nook, home office and ladies lounge. On this wing of the first floor, the colors are obviously lighter with a touch of sparkle as evidenced by the iridescent reflection of the recycled-bottle Vihara backsplash that reaches all the way up the kitchen walls. Looking closer, even the Schaub hardware gives a nod to feminine beauty with a lovely mother-of-pearl inlay.
Opposite, the primary living area is anchored by a gentlemens parlor complete with a floating wet bar, wine cellar, fireplace and billiard room. An adjoining lounge doubles as an in-home theater.
Both wings have access to the terraced pool area, outdoor kitchen and outdoor fireplace. A glass door system perforates the rear faade that, when combined with louvered transom windows, creates a tropical, right-off-the-beach vibe sending natural light throughout the interior spaces. Dietsche used shades of pearl gray, sea salt and a soothing aquamarine hue with contrasting dark hardwood trim to lend a smooth monochromatic unity throughout the ground-level great room furnished with oversized comfy couches that are perfect for taking in the waterfront view across the Intracoastal Waterway to Wrightsville Beach.
A large crystal ball tops the newel post at the ground floor landing of an open staircase that divides the formal entry from the service area, leading up, then down into the pantry, mudroom, main laundry and main garage. From an elevated landing, the staircase leads to a spacious second-floor guest suite.
Martin remains impressed that the homeowners invested so much energy into hosting guests. The family requested a floor that could be sustained as its own residence. That means Dietsche made sure to incorporate a kitchenette, laundry, bath and plenty of sleeping room. Most impressive are the railcar bunk beds for young people.
A quiet reading room is tucked into the landing of the main upper floor where hand-painted silk covers the walls leading to a separate guest room and the boudoirs of the primary residents. Even the daughters rooms reflect the same color palette found throughout the rest of the home. In a sea of khakis and grays, their rooms are almost identical except for the ceilings: one an A-frame and the other a drum. Their antique wooden headboards add a quiet masculine contrast, but the feeling is quickly diminished by the glittering tiles and Louise Gaskill chandeliers in their bathrooms.
In the master suite, the bed floats against a perforated wall that functions as a built-in headboard and creates a tableau for vases of fresh flowers framing an original painting. A cozy sitting room with a central hearth adjoins the bedchamber as does a walk-in dressing room adjacent to the master bath.
"The master bathroom is probably my favorite space in the house," Dietsche says. It is a shimmering escape with a few added his-and-her perks from towel racks, to a vanity and a central oversized tub.
The bedrooms plus one guest room on the second floor, share an open veranda that looks over the rear pool and terrace. From this vantage, the views from the many windows are stunning. But its the view from the water to the house that is a work of art in symmetry, from the architectural bones of the structure to a pair of dolphin fountains craned in to rest regally on either side of the pool.
"The cast stone was really challenging," Martin says. Each sculpture weighed 500 to 800 pounds.
"The best part was being able to sit back and say, Look what we built," Martin adds.
With Martins builder sense and Dietsches Caribbean design aesthetic along with a small army of expert craftsmen and installers, the project was completed in two years.
But thats not all; this wouldnt be the right retreat without his-and-her amenities. Buddy Jackson made use of the land by installing a putting green and an herb garden on the property.
Now, every day in this house is like a year-round vacation.
Architect: Chuck Dietsche, Dietsche & Dietsche
Building Contractor: Chris Martin Chris Martin and Company, Inc.: Brian Preuss, John Fowler, Lester Luxich, Jim Sebian, Rob Spillman
Appliances: Atlantic Appliance
Bird Decorative Bath & Hardware
Bath Hardware: Bird Decorative Bath & Hardware
Shower Doors: Coastal Glass & Hardware
Plumbing: CBH Plumbing
Bird Decorative Bath & Hardware
Coleman Supply Co.
Electric: Donald Holliday Electric
Coastal Lighting Supply
Hardwood Supplier: Horizon Forest Products
Hardwood Installer: Kings Custom Hardwoods
Tile Supplier: Southeastern Tile Connection
Tile Installer: George Stubbs
Carpet Supplier/Installer: Carpet One
Kitchen Designer: Dietsche & Dietsche
Cabinet Mfg/Installer: Coastal Cabinets
Countertops/Installer: Southeastern Marble & Granite
Backsplash: Southeastern Tile Connection
Chris Martin & Co., Inc.
Risley Padula Construction
Interior Painting: Alpha Paint Tech
Exterior Painting: Stroke of Color
HVAC: Gideon Heating & Air
Sheetrock Subcontract:Universal Drywall
Security System: A Wolf Company
Landscaping: Jackson Landscaping, Inc.
Exterior Lighting: Jackson Landscaping, Inc.
Pavement/Driveway: Gardner Welty
Unique Garage Doors: Crawford Door Systems
Pools/Spas: Caribbean Pool & Spa
Pre-Cast Stone: Classic Architectural Concept Stone
Roofing: Mid-Atlantic Roofing
Roofing Supplier: Best Distributing
Blown Rite Insulation
Coastroad Hearth & Patio/Tom Parks
Sneads Ferry LP Gas Co., Inc.
Brick Supplier: Palmetto Brick/Roger Moore Brick
Gutters: Riverside Gutters
Siding, Exterior Trim and Shutters: Chris Martin and Company, Inc.
Siding and Exterior Trim Provider: Special Wood
Chris Martin and Company, Inc.
Risley Padula Construction, Inc.
Wallcoverings: Phillip Jeffreys
Wallcoverings Installer: James Deans
Rugs: Gallery of Oriental Rugs
Interior Furnishings and Decorative Accessories:
Blue Hand Home
Luxe Home Interiors
Sweetgrass, Mooresville, N.C.
Exterior Furnishings/Fabrics: Classic Designs of Wilmington