Family HQ House in Houston

Family HQ House, Houston, Texan Building, Architects, Real Estate Project, Architecture Images

Family HQ House in Houston

Architect Designed Home Development, America – design by Viviano Viviano

Apr 4, 2018

Family HQ House

Design: Viviano Viviano

Location: Houston, Texas, USA

Family HQ House

Family HQ House in Houston

Interior designer and contractor commissions her son – an upstart fresh out of architecture school – to design a house she will build for herself. The resulting project becomes the social hub for a close-knit family and the inaugural work of a mother-and-son firm.

Family HQ House in Houston

Family HQ House in Houston

Michael Viviano’s parents tapped him for the design of a new house that would accommodate their busy lifestyles and serve as the social hub for their close-knit family. Their desire was to have openness to a point, but for the entertaining spaces to have a somewhat traditional degree of separation between them.

Family HQ House in Houston

The site is a busy corner lot in a bustling part of Houston, so the interior of the house and the exterior landscape needed to cultivate a quiet sense of calm. Stylistically, Michael had to ease his parents’ transition from a series of more traditional homes to a more modern setting.

Family HQ House in Houston

The massing of the house and choice of materials would need to maintain a dialogue with familiar house typologies and vernacular forms. The interior would be set up as a clean, streamlined backdrop for the antique and vintage furnishings the couple would bring with them, which would blend with contemporary pieces as they settled in.

Family HQ House in Houston Family HQ House in Houston

Who are the clients and what’s interesting about them?
Michael’s mother and father did commission him to do the architectural work, but the extent to which the project was a family affair is deeper: Michael’s mother Catherine, an interior designer with fifteen years experience in construction, built the house. The project became the starting point for a new venture together between mother and son.

Family HQ House in Houston Family HQ House in Houston

Catherine and her husband Chris are empty-nesters but entertain frequently and do host large family gatherings often. Catherine is a passionate cook and demanded a functional kitchen with efficient workflow and separation from the other public spaces.

Family HQ House in Houston

Given her knowledge of budgets and construction assemblies, Catherine was poised to be hawkish throughout the design phase. Any significant cost item would almost always need to be offset by a value-driven decision somewhere else. This mandate proved invaluable to Michael: the demand for economies and efficiencies helped the young designer find clarity and rigor in a simple scheme.

Family HQ House in Houston

What were the key challenges?
The site is long and narrow and abuts a major thoroughfare.
Michael’s parents wanted a modern house but needed to feel a connection to some aspect of the historicist homes they’d previously enjoyed.
Family dynamics were ever-present, as Michael was not only engaged in his first major venture with his mother as the builder, but with both his parents as the clients.

Family HQ House in Houston

What were the solutions?
The site planning encouraged the development of a long, slender building that would sit on the side farther from the major thoroughfare and open itself along its length to a linear garden of orderly plantings set in gravel. Both floors of the house are organized along corridors at the garden’s edge, so light and views are carefully managed throughout the interior. A row of slender silhouette sweetgum trees creates a screen that softens the relationship to the street.

Family HQ House in Houston

Family HQ House in Houston

Formally, the taut extrusion of the familiar gable façade is a nod to European and American vernaculars to which Michael’s parents were endeared. The materials palette, too, is earthy and hand-hewn. The elongated bricks speak to contemporary ideas about linearity, but the mortar slurry softens the effect and creates a muted tonality. Above the brick, the larch cladding is left in its natural state and will weather to an imperfect silver.

Family HQ House in Houston

Family HQ House in Houston

In the interior, the palette is restricted to white gypsum, concrete, white oak and a few types of natural stone. Chris’ mother is an antiques dealer, and Catherine has long utilized antique and vintage items in her interior design practice, so the couple continually rotate their favorite furnishings and artifacts against the sparse but sharply detailed architectural backdrop.

Family HQ House in Houston Family HQ House in Houston

Regarding the mixing of family and business, Chris played a pivotal role in assisting Michael and Catherine whenever they were overly engulfed in a problem detail or had a disagreement. Their external collaborators – engineers, tradesmen, vendors – were also helpful in this way. Ultimately, the family enmeshment brought on by the project produced a bourgeoning design-build practice. Catherine and Michael now work together in their eponymous firm and have never looked back.

Family HQ House in Houston Family HQ House in Houston

Family HQ House, Houston – Building Information

Key products used:
Exterior:
– custom-cut concrete bricks (1-5/8″ x 7-5/8″ x 15-5/8″ concrete solid, ripped in half lengthwise and stacked on the flat)
– tongue-and-groove larch cladding, milled in Austria and imported by Stein Wood Products
– corrugated metal roof with custom flashing details
– custom, laser-cut steel and glass front door with solid brass stops, designed by Michael Viviano and fabricated by Renfrow + Co Metalsmiths
Interior:
– Windows by Kolbe
– Fireplace by Spark
– Lighting by Apparatus Studio, Michael Anastassiades for Flos, Rich Brilliant Willing, Visual Comfort
– Plumbing fixtures by Waterstone, Axor, Hansgrohe
– All millwork and cabinetry designed by Michael Viviano and fabricated locally
– Soapstone and carrara marble in kitchen and bathrooms

Family HQ House in Houston Family HQ House in Houston

Project size: 4250 ft2
Site size: 6400 ft2
Project Budget: $1000000
Completion date: 2016
Building levels: 2

Architectural Design; Builder; Interior Design: Viviano Viviano
Structural Engineer: Insight Structures

Family HQ House in Houston

Photography: Peter Molick and Jack Thompson

Family HQ House in Houston images / information received 250118


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Family HQ House in Houston

Website: Viviano Viviano