This is the second house we designed at Jeffrey Bruce Baker Designs. The House of Light is unique because the front features a large flat yard that appears to be a very simple site. When you touch the frontline of the house, however, you’re dropping off of a hillside that is incredibly steep. By the time you reach the back edge of this house (which is primarily just one room deep) you are about 40 feet lower in grade. It is built on a very steep mountainside.
The owner refers to the homestyle as Miami-esque and they prefer white and bright spaces. Although we have a lot of warm tones added throughout; Ipe, mahogany and walnut woodwork, the majority of the surfaces are white.
This house is all about the forms. The house is shaped like a boomerang, literally following the front edge to the end edge. This allowed us to create a great circular drive that passes the house, which affords wonderful access. The owners are big entertainers and needed a lot of parking area out front as well as garage spaces for their cars. Since the house backs up to a neighborhood of classical architecture (very traditional homes), we decided to keep angular roofs and design more traditionally. We took our inspirations from French architecture. From the front, our style is contemporary but is very respectful of scale and feature when compared to the traditional homes in the neighborhood. This was driven by the owners and we thought it was an exciting direction to follow.
We played with a variety of ceiling heights: from very small to very tall. We love it when you go from this sense of compression to really grand spaces. It creates a neat rhythm, and we used these varying heights to create organization throughout the home. When entering the home, you’re in a 300-foot high tower of glass with this massive 12-foot chandelier. You then go under a Bridgeway that separates the stair tower from the entrance tower. Here we brought the ceilings down to 8 feet. Our favorite feature of the house is that when you move into the living room, the 8-foot ceiling section is designed as a soffit that explodes out and runs the perimeter of this large room. The middle of the living room ceiling is raised to 11 foot high.
The only place where we broke this soffit is where we projected the fireplace to come in front of the soffit, emphasizing the now taller 15 feet. The 8-foot ceiling continues off to the bedroom, a secondary kitchen, a catering kitchen, into the powder room, and wraps around to the garage – which is down a beautiful glass hallway where we created a focal wine room. We added a nice belt of glass that looks out over the trees on the hillside and looks over the outdoor deck and pool on the second level.
At the far end, the house wraps around a pool. We used commercial construction: pouring a very tall concrete shell up and out of the earth, off the hillside, and filling it with gravel. The pool sits on the second level. It’s a fun element because when you get out of the pool you’re on a beautiful Ipe deck and when you step to the edge you realize you’re 35 feet up, looking through a wooded ravine on a hillside that feeds the Chattahoochee river.
This house has a lot of features when it comes to finishes. The floors are mosaic of end-cut wood, so you see the circular wood grain cut in a pattern of pieces that are 3 by 2 inches – this repeats throughout the home. Spectacular 4 inch thick planks of wood form a 3 story staircase, creating a focal point at one end of the living room. Glass walls open up from the living room and kitchen, allowing you to step right into the hot tub and pool. This home is only 5,000 square feet, but it lives very large. With the exception of the master bedroom and bathroom, the bedrooms are fairly small and intimate. The guest bedrooms don’t have a lot of square footage because we have allotted significant closet space for each.
I love the master bedroom because it has a very long and narrow bathroom that’s like a galley space. We created a wall mounted inset gas fireplace across from the soaking tub along with a very gracious floating vanity space leading to a steam shower at the end. The steam shower features a wall that slides open so you can shower outdoors on a very private third level balcony. The balcony is only accessible visually from the master bedroom.
Throughout the home, you’ll see many elements that called for a lot of interior detailing and coordination. The stone in the powder room is backlit and waterfalls down the wall to create the vanity. We floated the mirror off that allowing another layer of light to come out. We created a lot of integration by mounting the faucet directly to the mirror. The owner found a wonderful piece of crystal that we hung from a light fixture. It is curated more like an element in a museum, than a standard fixture.
The bathrooms in the house are all uniquely designed with tile. We even have stainless steel tile in his closet, creating a great display area.