An exclusive selection of homes where the surroundings become a vital, eye-catching design element.
Don and Jeanine Cooksey worked with architectural designer Wallace Cunningham to conceive a house for their La Jolla, California, land—a lot that was thought to be unbuildable. The structure, which has four bedrooms and six baths and is done in white concrete, stainless steel and glass, straddles a dramatic coastal canyon. An infinity-edge pool lies between the carport and the front entrance, the latter of which is marked by a trio of concrete columns and is joined to the circular living room. Interior designer Pamela Smith placed the living room furnishings in the middle of the space, leaving the glazed wall—the view—free of obstructions.
Christopher Meloni, lead actor in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, lives with his wife, Sherman, and their two children in a Manhattan highrise. The living area overlooks Central Park.
Pierre Yovanovitch reimagined his Paris apartment—in shambles the first time he saw it—reconfiguring rooms and unifying the interior elements. The apartment, in a 1905 building, commands a view of the Seine and the Tuileries beyond.
A rectilinear reflecting pool marks the front entrance to fashion designer Randolph Duke’s hillside Los Angeles residence. Architects Austin Kelly and Monika Haefelfinger expanded and transformed the original house, adding a second level and opening the house to the site’s 270-degree views of the city.
“Our goal was to create a five-star bed-and-breakfast,” architect Howard J. Backen says of the Poetry Inn, in California’s Napa Valley, which he and his associate, designer April Powers, built for vintner Cliff Lede. The three-suite inn is nestled in the hills above Yountville. The terrace off the Great Room “is an ideal spot to have some wine and enjoy the magnificent view. You can see the valley and the Mayacamas Mountains beyond,” the designer says. “The ceiling has fans and heaters. It’s an all-season area for dining and lounging.”
Characterized by its dramatic cliffside setting and rebuilt by architect Mickey Muennig, a couple’s house in Big Sur, California, serves as a calming retreat. Above: A view to the north across the western elevation of the residence, which is crafted of concrete, steel, glass and wood. “This house is very Mickey Muennig,” says Boone. “It’s signature Big Sur style.” Adds the architect, “From certain angles, the structure seems to fly.”
Commanding a view over a jungle canopy, Anantara Resort & Spa is a 90-room hotel located in the Golden Triangle, the point where Myanmar, Laos and Thailand meet. Landscape architect Bill Bensley was responsible for a complete redesign of the grounds.
Celeste Robbins designed a 9,000-square-foot ranch-inspired residence with modern lines for a family of four in Wyoming’s Grand Teton valley. “It’s a challenge to fit a house into a context and make it look like it’s always been there,” notes the Winnetka, Illinois-based architect, who collaborated on the project with interior designer Berta Shapiro.
A window in the master bedroom of designer Pierre Yovanovitch’s Paris residence frames a view of the Eiffel Tower. “Bedrooms should be intimate and warm—I used dark colors as well as darker woods,” says the designer, who lined the walls with brown cashmere. The circa 1920 watercolor of lions is by Paul Jouve.
“It’s much more African than French,” landscape architect Bill Bensley says of Maia Luxury Resort & Spa, on Mahé island in the Seychelles, which he designed with Bangkok-based architect Lek Bunnag and RSL Architects. Each villa has a pavilion consisting of an oversize outdoor tub set in a shallow-water infinity-edge pool.
“I learned about New Mexico when I first started dating Jane Fonda,” remarks Ted Turner, who built a private desert lodge on Armendaris Ranch, his 350,000-acre wild animal preserve along the dramatic Fra Cristobal Mountains. “I come out here in the winter.” “Ted said, ‘Lots of windows,’ and he got them,” says Hunt, who hung prints by George Catlin in the dining area.
To create their hillside retreat on St. John, Karl-Erivan and Katrin Haub called on architect Mike de Haas and interior designer Twila Wilson. Views of Tortola island can be see from virtually every room in the house.
Incredible Views: Homes & Spaces: architecturaldigest.com