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Translating industrial design techniques into home architecture, this complete renovation reflects the designer's penchant for clean, geometric lines

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Architecture and design are interwoven in the creative process that leads to the construction or remodeling of a home. Often, designers and architects share overlapping roles.

Taking on both tasks for the first time, industrial designer Holger Schubert launched his architectural career with the complete renovation of his own home.

"It is a departure from industrial design, yet it includes so much of that," he says. "I wanted to make the home a portfolio piece. It was a three-and-a-half year apprenticeship, but the emphasis was on taking the design to the fullest extent possible. Every element of the home is complete."

Schubert's industrial design background set the tone for the simple palette of colors and materials he used throughout the home. Gray and white stucco, anodized aluminum, translucent glass and limestone are the primary components, with white oak and walnut providing a warm contrast.

The spare geometric lines of the exterior hint at what is inside, and splashes of green foliage soften the minimalist form.

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The entry features a small courtyard that leads to the front door of the home. A Seidle intercom system incorporates a doorbell, mailbox, intercom, keypad, motion sensor and camera. It is linked to video screens inside and to the telephone system. Combining systems into the simplest form possible was a priority for Schubert.

"My ultimate aim is to live in a home without cables," he says. "Using wireless technology and concealing cables are the starting points."

From the entry, a stairway leads up to the living room, where 20-foot ceilings and full-height windows give an airy feeling to the space. The windows draw the sun's warmth into the room and offer views to the surrounding foliage and canals.

Concrete floors have inset planters that bring the greenery inside, while the white oak coffee table adds visual warmth.

The kitchen features a honed Carrara marble countertop that sits flush with the cabinetry. A focal point is the stainless steel stove and backsplash, with a matching block of drawers beneath. Elongated handles accentuate the horizontal lines of the space.

Also on this level are the open-plan dining room, which extends from the living room, and Schubert's office. Its floor-to-ceiling windows and organza curtains diffuse sunlight and the circular desktop and flat screen monitor rotate 360° to allow for the movement of the sun. All of the cabling is concealed within the desk pedestal and led under the concrete floor to nearby cabinetry. Lights and planters are also built into the floor, creating low focal points in the open space.

A mezzanine level above the kitchen is the setting for a Japanese-style dining area. A low table is surrounded by one-inch-thick felt seating on the white oak floors. Four windows open to a courtyard, while glass partitions on the other side overlook the living room and the view to the nearby canal.

On the ground floor behind the garage, the master suite looks onto a garden and glass water feature that are given total privacy by a 12-foot ficus hedge. The lawn and pebbles have been raised to the level of the limestone bedroom floor, creating continuous indoor-outdoor flow.

The spacious bedroom is divided by two structural posts, with the bed on one side and a sofa on the other. A rotating flat screen TV accentuates the separation of the two spaces, while the fireplace and burgundy curtains add a sense of intimacy.

"To create a home just for us was very satisfying," he says. "It is especially soothing to live in a space where I have no desire to change things."

First published date: 24 August 2003

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Credit List

Architect and interior designer Holger Schubert AIA, Archisis, (Culver City, CA)
Kitchen designer Chris Tosdevin, Bulthaup
Kitchen manufacturer Bulthaup
Structural engineer Carl Howe
Siding Stucco
Window and door joinery Sliding doors from Fleetwood Aluminum Products, fixed panels from Metal Window Corp, fixed doors from Arcadia
Flooring Spanish limestone, light weight self-leveling concrete, white oak
Lighting Thomas, Capri
Home audio Crestron home control, Panasonic 50in Plasma TV
Furniture Dining table and 360° studio table by Archisis; sofas, chairs and cabinet by B&B; couch and chaise by Cassina; office chair by Herman Miller
Kitchen cabinets Stainless steel, translucent glass, painted MDF in matte white
Countertops Honed Carrara marble
Backsplash Stainless steel
Sink Undermounted stainless steel with multiple shelves from Archisis
Faucets Kroin
Oven Miele
Cooktop Gaggenau
Refrigerator Sub-Zero
Dishwasher Miele
Master bathroom cabinetry Walnut and white oak
Bathtub Waterworks, set in a Spanish limestone frame
Shower Kroin, Hansgrohe