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The monolithic Pedra da Gávea mountain serves as a mystical backdrop for this TV show host’s home in São Conrado, Rio de Janeiro. Mr Alex Lerner had the oceanside home built so that he could relive the vacation feeling he enjoys when on holiday in St. Barts. Architects Studio Arthur Casas began working on the design the moment the plot was chosen. Optimising sea views was paramount of course, so the main living space of the home had to be elevated, freed from the high walls that surrounded the triangular lot. The landscape was made a living, breathing part of the home design by destabilizing perceptions of indoors and out.
The 5,200 square foot Brazililan home cost around $213 per square foot to build, but the sweeping ocean and mountain views are priceless.
Owner Alex Lerner stood firm that the only material he saw his house being realised in was the same peachy greige stone that he had laid eyes on at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
Stone walls and natural timber come together in harmonious marriage. The blue water of an infinity pool shimmers beneath clear blue skies.
White outdoor chaise lounge chairs from Restoration Hardware, costing a cool $1,095 each, are kept pristine with washable covers. “I like things very, very clean,” Lerner admitted, and on this it seems the client and architect were perfectly matched. The house that Casas created showcases his own affinity for clean lines, and satisfies Lerner’s request for a place that would not require too much maintenance. Casas created the ambiance of a pristine vacation home, so much so that Lerner quipped: “Someday, will I have to give it back?”
Lerner confessed to owning four vacuum cleaners, and that he would have no qualms about putting one of them to use outside if any stray leaves should lay fault on his pristine new landscape.
The living room opens up fully to the sky and seascape, urging toward the veranda. The continuous floor level and ceilings achieve an unrestrained flow between the outdoors and in. The natural landscape becomes glorious decor for the home, colouring its dissolved wall.
Extensive terraces around the modern house exterior create an exciting social space.
Ambient lighting highlights every nook.
The garden is home to plants native to the Atlantic Forest.
The house is designed to merge with its green landscape, to frame and be framed by surrounding nature. The aim is that over time the home will become more and more integrated into its location, until it almost vanishes.
An intimate wooden volume forms the top floor of the house, in a much smaller footprint than the entertaining space below.
The wooden cuboid holds the master bedroom suite, which includes a large closet, spa bathroom, and a home office.
There is a hot tub submerged in the floor of the wood-clad volume, where a tall door measuring almost 12 feet tall leads directly into the master bedroom.
When the tall door is closed, it just about disappears within the wood grain. Great wooden beams build the frame of an outdoor room around the hot tub and deck.
Raised high off the ground, the infinity pool pushes out into space. At night, Lerner is able to skinny dip in relative seclusion. “I wanted to find a place for privacy,” he said. “I live alone, and here I can be naked.”
The wooden bedroom suite overhangs the main entryway to the house. A massive stone wall shields the home from the public eye. Architect Arthur Casas raised the foundation so the house below is hidden from view.
The front door opens into the living room on the mid floor.
Maid and gardener’s apartments, plus a number of guest bedrooms, are spread out across ground level.
Natural surroundings are both embraced and reflected by the rugged house design.
Notions of inside and outside become blurred and irrelevant.
Even the front door design is straddled between ideas of barricade and invitation.
Huge sliding glass panels and a stretched glass balustrade pull ocean panorama into the living area. “I spend my whole time here,” says Lerner.
A large floating staircase zigzags up the home.
Glass panels on the other side of the living room open onto a courtyard.
A comfortable lounge chair and footstool are placed by the window to enjoy the scene and ventilation.
The interior of the home is decorated predominantly in white and light wood tone to achieve the desired clean aesthetic.
Brazilian designers, Rodrigo Calixto and Guilherme Sass, made the Catamarã chairs seated at the kitchen dining island. Each chair carries a $1,100 price tag.
At the dining table, PK9 chairs by Poul Kjaerholm from Fritz Hansen ring up at $6,439 each. Diesel Fork Grande Suspension Lamps from Foscarini top the dining table, priced at $1,055 per pendant.
An open sided staircase design leads to the master suite. Wooden treads push out from their stone wall mount, where a recessed handrail hides.
Perimeter lighting keeps the scheme soft and simple, and does not encroach on the wondrous view.
Hardwood cumaru flooring floods the home, a durable choice to withstand the elements.
White ceilings keep the stone build feeling light and free inside.
Outside the master bedroom, Sérgio Machado’s artistic interpretation of a procession of ants marches across the wall.
The white bedroom is cool and calm, with crisp linens from Restoration Hardware. A 19th-century French chest rests by the bed.
A bench at the foot of the bed also comes from Restoration Hardware. The chair is by São Paulo designer, Aristeu Pires.
The luxury bathroom seems to stretch for miles thanks to the clever positioning of a custom cut frameless mirror.
Ground floor plan.
First floor plan.
Second floor plan (Master suite).
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