When Jesse committed to our French estate project, his mission was to wrap our clients in
luxury no matter where they stood on the property. Based on the intended end result, we
believe he achieved just that using a number of design categories including custom home
design, interior design, and landscape design. His design was inspired by the chateaus of
the French countryside, often set on luxuriously large lots and featuring elaborate yet
symmetrically organized landscape design features, along with a number of uniquely
detailed exterior features. Today we wanted to shed some light on a few of these details to
provide insight into the incredibly detailed process of refining, critiquing, and exploring
options for each aesthetic feature that contributes to the creation of a timeless custom
The roofline in itself is a prominent feature of this home, featuring a traditionally steep and
dramatic pitch, it serves as a nod to this historic design style while uniquely complimenting
the unrelentingly wide proportions of the front and rear facades. The roofline itself falls short
of the top of the wall, allowing Jesse to hide the eavestroughs and downspouts behind the
wall to avoid unsightly drainage pipes details. While parts of the roofline are clad in standing
seam metal roofing, the rest is meant to be clad in a rustic slate material, a period specific
detail that significantly contributes to the authenticity of the design in Jesse’s eyes.
Jesse is known for his detailed design approach that prioritizes sun studies and sketching to achieve the timeless proportions his name is associated with. This approach is even more pronounced when it comes to masonry design. Through his travels Jesse has seen old world masonry from several periods over the last 500 years, along with the methods used to create the detailed and incredibly specific design details of the past. While he uses this experience and knowledge for inspiration, Jesse interprets these historic masonry influences in a way that walks a fine line between the traditional and contemporary design styles that creates a
uniquely timeless finished product. The detailed top of wall banding along with arched window surrounds are each specifically crafted to emulate the intricate folds of similar period specific homes, while the chevron limestone inlays serve as a contemporary rendition of columns that heavily characterizes the front facade. Tall chimneys, though not required for function, serve to add to the period specific characterization of the structure and include a similar banding to the top of wall and mid-wall details.
In the center of the front facade is a limestone vestibule that features a second floor
walkout balcony. This feature is without a doubt one of the most opulent that can be
found in any elevation of this home, greeting guests with an estately presence that
demands visual attention. The arched entryway to this vestibule is another great example
of Jesse’s unique ability to blend contemporary and old world masonry details in a way
that is refreshingly timeless. The double arched glass front doors contribute to the
intended effect by setting the stylistic tone as visitors walk up to them, offering a direct
view of the two storey grand foyer and double staircase.
Symmetrical and opulent landscape design is certainly a characterizing feature of the
historic chateaus of the French countryside, so Jesse decided to draw inspiration from
these lavished estates. A center fountain that is aligned with the grand entrance vestibule
is a great way to imply the circular use of the driveway when having a large gathering. The
planter boxes at the base of the front facade wall are also notable features because of
their period specific design. These limestone clad planter boxes feature boxwood bushes
that are planted in a way that allows them to be trimmed and made to look continuous.
The low and wide proportions of these planter boxes add to the intimidatingly wide feel of
the front facade upon approach in the best way. However, the driveway turf inlays creating
a diamond pattern throughout the courtyard serves not only the purpose of creating a
luxurious experience no matter where you stay on the grounds, but it also creates the
effect of the courtyard being much larger than the actual measurements might read. This
perspective trick of the eye is a favorite of Jesse’s.
When in France, do as the French do. In this case the terraces of Paris were the
inspiration for this unique stone clad terrace feature that is exclusively accessible through the principal bedroom and ensuite bathroom. The railings are made out of a similar limestone material as the rest of the home is clad in, and feature a square profile that is in line with other contemporary masonry details seen in other areas of the facade. Ceiling mounted patio heaters make this space perfect to enjoy a cigar and a glass of wine for our client in three seasons. To Jesse, this feature also added a feeling of grandeur to the rear facade that suavely characterizes the backyard entertaining space. From this view, you will be able to see the symmetrical landscape design that Jesse created for the backyard entertaining space. This approach surprisingly doesnt necessarily rely on
expensive materials, but rather a clear and organized layout that is visually pleasing when thinking of the views from both the ground floor common areas, the second floor terrace, and of course the backyard itself. The impact of landscape design is always a factor that Jesse considers when framing both his exterior and interior designs.
In the spirit of designing symmetrically organized gardens and detailed planting plans,
there is no better example of this than the Palace of Versailles. Jesse drew on inspiration
from this opulent palace when designing the dipping pool that is centered with the main
floor great room, similar to the way the expansive pools of Versailles are centered with
the stunning Hall of Mirrors. Taking an integrated approach that incorporates home
design, interior design, and landscape design allows Jesse and our team to review, digest,
and take all aspects of the desired environment and required functionality into
consideration. In this case, the goal was to create an incredibly cohesive design that stayed in character no matter where you stand on the property. In the case of the
backyard dipping pool, the benefits are experienced outside, but they are also experienced
inside as this luxurious feature can be seen through the large two storey window wall in
the great room. This organization of space and indoor to outdoor connection brings a
sense of luxury and lushness into the space that only unique exterior environments can
offer. Pair this with the organized planter box locations, planting plans, garden lighting,
and outdoor furniture and the result is a refined, simple and luxuriously characterized
outdoor entertaining environment that feels like an extension of our clients living room.