French Style Palace: Grand Manor Chateau

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Case Study:  Chateaux des Reves

Chateau des Reves: click image above for exclusive video of interior space

ABC "Good Morning America’s Home Improvement Editor Ron Hazelton combed the nation for the most beautiful and original houses he could find and profiled his top picks."
  
Chateaux des Reves is one of acclaimed Architect John C. Henry’s unknown treasures imaginatively conceived upon Gothic precedent and Old World charm. Greco-Roman detail is cleverly mixed with French Renaissance proportion. Mr. Henry was commissioned to detail completely the exterior treatments and 4 interior spaces: the Foyer, Dining Room, Living Room, and Study. An interior designer (of the client’s choosing) completed the remainder of the interiors.

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Nestled behind pines and oak trees on a secluded road and sited on a gradually sloped crest with a spectacular view to a pristine Florida lake, lies a magnificent estate designed along Gothic sensibilities but containing all of the latest contemporary amenities.

Chateaux des Reves was planned to offer privacy, security, and a sublime spirit. The client decided on a French theme for their ultimate Dream Home. Not only was it to be an accommodating Period study, the house was to be designed employing ancient geometrical principals including the Fibonacci Series and the Golden Section (apparent in portions of the elevations and floor plans). The architect used all manner of Euclidean geometry tying together the square, rectangle, octagon, hectagon, and circle into a pleasing 3 dimensional tapestry. In an age of architectural nihilism, a return to tradition became the principle on which was based proportion, grace, and beauty.

Conceived to contrast with its Mediterranean themed neighbors, this particular site of towering trees and lush green seems appropriate for the asymmetrically laid out elevation and plan, characteristic of rustic French dwellings. The home has a simple open gate approach from the lightly traveled lake road and towers over 45’ (One of the tallest structures in residential Orange County – variances were granted over the 35’ typical maximum height). A gray tile roof generally pitched with hip elements grows from the undulating façade marked by stucco and stone accents. A small turret, high to the right, completes the illusion.  A large covered porch traced by three graceful arches beckons to the entry door – a beautiful wood and wrought iron design framed by carved stone. Inside, stone and plaster details abound; with hand carved stained wood and synthetic materials cleverly woven together. The classical theme permeates the structure. Arches and columns delineate passageways and frame views. Beautiful wood floors contrast with marble and stone. Breathtaking crown moldings and vaulted ceilings arrest the eye. It is a study of classical proportion in plan and elevation.Patz great hall.JPG (521396 bytes)

Formal Living, Study, and Family rooms; Kitchen, Dining, Billiard, Play, Exercise and Master Suite are located on the first level. Hammerhead beams evoke the Gothic cathedral ceiling of the double height Children’s Play Room. A long transverse corridor is the central circulation spine. An easy and interesting flow of space permeates through interior balconies and walkways. Despite the formal stance, the house feels like home. Strategically spaced windows and doors can be opened during the cooler months to allow free-flowing breezes to waft through the house from the lake. The sun permeates the water view rear decks and pool on the south year round. 

The house took approximately 14 months to plan and 21/2 years to build. Such an undertaking cannot be possible without close cooperation among the Owner, Architect and Builder. The excellent workmanship throughout is a credit to the trim crews assigned this project and finish trades. Built of concrete on the first floor and wood framing on the second with open web trusses, the house is 145’wide by 118’ deep. (more info here)

Ultimately, it is a credit to the Owner of this imaginatively conceived and elaborately detailed project, which was brought to life through daring and perseverance.  An architect cannot exist without the vision and ambition of a willing, enlightened client.

Featured on MSN.com as one of the "most opulent party pads"  http://realestate.msn.com/10-of-the-most-opulent-party-pads-around#3

Turret at upper right of Front entry with metal roof and diamond cut glass in the French manner.  Limestone and fieldstone moldings and veneer. (above)  View of Great Room coffered ceiling (below) with rosettes and alternating low voltage lighting.

Natural stone arch between Central Hall and Ball Room, with cased niche inspired by Portuguese Renaissance motif (above)

Two story library (below) in cherry paneling, accessed by spiral stair with upper book balcony.   Inspired by the great American chateau: Biltmore Estate.

Grand fireplace in Ball Room: hand carved Baroque design in limestone with wood panel insert.  Two way fireplace to Family Room.  Barrel vault coffered ceiling (see detail at left below depicting cross-section of Foyer, Bridge, Central Hall, and Ball Room)  Upper Library below:

Foyer showcases carved stone details, two story plus skylit vault, wine cellar under stair with large stone newel post.

French Country style can have mixed characteristics of chateau and manor.  Renaissance French castle building and details are the inspiration for many American designs based on the period style originals.  Ceiling of Dining room below:

Family Room below with two-way fireplace.

The highly decorative and stone faced double height sky-lit Foyer with grand stairway impresses the visitor, while looking straight ahead through a hand carved Palladian Arch (left), the lake view is apparent through the breathtaking 29 foot high south exposure Living Room with barrel coffered ceiling. The pride of the Living or Ball Room is the nearly 24’ high stone detailed baroque fireplace. On the opposite wall is a Music Niche trimmed in complementary stone. Under the Grand Stair is a wrought iron gate with access from both the Foyer and Dining into a Wine Cellar. A glimpse down to the Elliptical Dining Room is possible as one ascends the dramatic L shaped Grand Stair to secondary bedrooms above. The Dining Room has delicate moldings set off slightly from the warm toned plaster finished curved walls. It is connected to the Kitchen via Butler Pantry.

Left middle: View of Her side of Master Bath with center tub and cabinets trimmed with cherry paneling.  Two way shower is behind ceramic tile wall.

Left lower: View of Island Kitchen: granite tops on cherry cabinets.

Bottom left: Formal Dining is based on elliptical plan with direct access to Wine Cellar via wrought iron door.  Notice niches and trim work.

 Rear elevation (above) with upper view decks and covered porches.  Gate house/ Guest quarters at right connected to main house by porte cochere.  Notice dormers and lantern on roof line.

Below right and higher above: two views of Foyer.  Stone detailing and wrought iron contrasts, marble inlaid flooring, arch at stair w/ overlook into Dining, niches, wrought iron gate to Wine Cellar, magnificent domed leaded glass ceiling.

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Please go to Ultra-Custom Services to review procedure for the design of a magnificent home like Chateaux des Reves.   See also our Castles and Mansions portfolio here

Creating the American Luxury Home Available now on CD- rom. (click below left) This is a history of the luxury home with sections on working with an architect and builder, style, modern and traditional approaches, etc.  Also, companion volume: Dream Home Design Questionnaire and Planning Kit (click right below, available as PDF file via email)

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