Architects at Home: Jeff Sheppard

Architects at Home : Extra

Jeff Sheppard - Roth Sheppard Architects

Eighteen pages in our Winter 2017/2018 issue was simply not enough space to cover all of the incredible images shot by photographer James Florio or share all of the insights provided by the great architects who participated in our “Architects at Home” project. Included below are additional images and comments by Jeff Sheppard (Roth Sheppard Architects) about his relationship to his home. You can read the original article HERE

“My wife Carolina had a lot to do with the overall feel. It’s really been collaborative, and admittedly sometimes rather difficult, to merge my minimalist aesthetic with her desires to include touches of warmth with some really nice vintage furniture pieces and special interior features. I haven’t been much of a compromiser throughout my career but Carolina really opened me up to listening to what others have to say and really figuring out ways to enrich an idea with more layers, with more input. Our individual vision is what led to the intentional juxtaposition of new and old. It really makes the house work for us and not feel stylized. The house definitely has a sense of timeless permanence.

Each year the small courtyard becomes even more powerful, but even with its small size, it definitely needs to be tended to. I probably would not put a water feature under a giant pine tree again. The needles and pine pollen are a continual maintenance issue. But the water feature adds such a sensorial aspect to the space. The courtyard would not be the same without it.”

“Some patterns are obvious, like a low ceiling when you want to create a more intimate space, windows on more than one wall in each room, pools of light for drama, etc. Others are time tested and come from experience: not too many papa bears (1 major focal and a couple of minor foci), like a good piece of art, otherwise there is no hierarchy. And something that has turned out to be very important to us when it comes to furniture: buy the absolute best and most beautiful pieces of furniture you can from the most established sources you can. Great pieces of furniture can last a lifetime and really add a sense of permanence to your home and your life. We bought our first Ligne Roset piece 30 years ago, a couch we have now recovered 3 times and it’s still beautiful and comfortable. A timeless piece.”

“There is a lot of black in the kitchen and the ceilings are very low in both the dining and kitchen so initially I was concerned it might feel a bit claustrophobic. But the opposite is true. Since these rooms focus horizontally out to the courtyard garden, the space is actually expansive. Those who visit typically comment how warm and intimate it feels and even though the bottom of the wood beams is at 7 feet you don’t feel claustrophobic. We love the dramatic change in scale from the intimate dining kitchen to the 20-foot tall sitting room. It’s wonderful to have such distinctly different spaces to engage with.”

“The house came first and we had been using sheers in our past houses as well to contrast with the starkness of white drywall. We loved the subtly billowing movement and translucency in walls of sheer curtains. It was a simple decision for the office since we did not want to distract from the rusticated timbers and the fact that nothing was straight. Real walls would have looked odd (and quite frankly somewhat expected) juxtaposed with the primitive timbers. We also wanted to express this notion of ‘transparency’ in the design process and in the way we collaborate. The sheer curtains did this for us at the office. Additionally, and this is something we had not expected, the sheers really added a lot of brightness to the office interior. The walls are brick and there are only 3 windows. When we hung the curtains the space totally transformed, got much brighter and had this ethereal quality to it.”

“My favorite element is the courtyard. It’s another room that just happens to be outside. Every room that looks into it is visually extended. Though the house has no more windows (actually all slider glass doors) than it did when we originally bought it, we designed the courtyard, the location of trees, and the water feature to create specific vignettes from not just each room but from specific sitting and standing points in each room.

My wife loves the kitchen/dining area because to her it feels very informal and warm with a balance of modern combined with french country. She lived and traveled in Europe and just loves this part of the house because it reminds her of her travels. Though her special spot is the sanctuary of the bedroom. When you only have 1,500 square feet to work with it’s important to have getaway/respite spaces. The master suite is her getaway space. It’s not big but it has high ceilings and looks out into the courtyard from the second level. It’s like being in the trees and the clouds. The space has a real lightness to it.”

“I use my home more as a place of relaxation than stimulation. But at the same time, the relaxing aspect is what stimulates me to want to do more with each new project. I do use the house to experiment with furniture layout, spacing, etc. and I do make and design furniture (the dining table, the rolling coffee tables, the steel fireplace surround, the sliced log walls, the basket lighting above the dining table), so the house has definitely stimulated that aspect of what I do. Most of all it’s a very comfortable place to hang out together in. A fire going on a cold winter night really makes the kitchen/dining and the sitting room feel like spaces you just don’t want to leave. The huge see thru fireplace is a real focal. We love that the TV is not the focal, it’s hidden off in a corner and quite frankly we rarely find ourselves just mindlessly watching TV. Instead, we spend most of our time in the kitchen/dining and sitting room.”