Houses

Lake Pontchartrain

Lean yet muscular, this residence was specifically designed to house a cutting-edge collection of contemporary paintings and photography, including works by Cindy Sherman, Alex Katz, Pat Steir, Sam Taylor-Wood, Gregory Crewdson, Collier Schorr, and Jacqueline Humphries. With the exception of a double-height, north-facing glass curtain wall, the massing of the house is solid and planar, limiting the damaging effects of natural light on the photography. The entry is signaled by the garage volume pulling away from the main body of the house, a feature that also allows for a sitting terrace with views of Lake Pontchartrain above the garage roof.

The exterior of the house—a minimalist composition of rectangular volumes articulated in silver-gray brick—approximates the sober beauty of a classic white-box art gallery. But within the home, the individual rooms are detailed to convey a softness and intimacy better suited to residential life. A sculptural, serpentine staircase, framed within the glass curtain wall, connects the lower and upper levels of the house, throwing an emphatic curve into the rectilinear scheme.

An arched, floating ceiling plane similarly tempers the scale and rigid lines of the voluminous living room. An interior spine clad in warm white oak serves as a foil to the house’s cool white plaster walls and black slate floors. The decorating here matches the architecture in confidence and complexity.

Rather than capitulating to the contemporary artworks with an all-modern scheme of furnishings, the mix embraces a broad range of Louis XVI, Biedermeier, Empire, and twentieth-century designs. In the dining room, Louis XVI–style chairs upholstered in elephant-gray leather cozy up to a classic modern white marble dining table by Florence Knoll beneath a vintage brass Gino Sarfatti chandelier in the dining room, while .

In the living room, Poul Kjaerholm’s Danish modern lounge chairs face off against patent leather English fauteuils n the living room. The interiors are punctuated by custom-designed elements such as the cerused teak and goatskin desk off the living room. The result of these ministrations is a house that ennobles the estimable artworks on view as well as the quotidian rituals of home life.

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