Easygoing Elegance by D’Alessio Inspired Architectural Designs
By Charlé-John Cafiero
Photography by Randle Bye
French inspired, romantic, graceful style with classical and harmonious proportions, Côte d’Azur is a sophisticated home for modern living. D’Alessio Inspired Architectural Designs’ founder Andrea D’Alessio, an internationally acclaimed home designer and building expert of legacy homes, has received many accolades for his French inspired Côte d’Azur residence, including the highly commended award for outstanding “Architecture Single Residence” from the UK’s prestigious International Property Awards.
The homeowners wanted a European styled, comfortable yet elegant and sophisticated home for their growing family. Sustainable materials were a must and stone was preferable for its environmental benefits. Style and comfort were essential factors in the design as the homeowners are designers with creative young children.
The design goal for the Côte d’Azur was to create a timeless, sustainable European-inspired estate with intimate, comfortable public rooms for family and friends. A sweeping, inviting, 110-foot gated circle driveway approach creates a warm welcome to the all stone home. The hand-chiseled fieldstone facade, custom cast limestone door and window surrounds and all natural-building materials are reminiscent of 19th century European châteaux. The European styled chimneys, including a circular brick and bluestone stack chimney, emphasize the roofline from miles away.
The home impresses as soon as you enter through stunning, hand-forged wrought-iron gates to the bluestone stairs that welcome you with double hung, hand-hewn “Alder” wood doors. The warm and intimate formal entry with gold leaf tray ceiling detail features a 24-inch wide crown with layers of traditional and dentil mouldings. The ceiling medallion adds an elegant finishing touch for the gold trimmed glass light fixture. Twelve-inch base mouldings are used throughout the home with a running leaf and bead hardwood cap that accentuates the hard wood floors.
“The secret of elegant style is exquisite period details in exacting proportion throughout that maintains the integrity of the whole, yet keeps the construction from being merely a massive structure,” states D’Alessio.
The rift-and-quartersawn wide plank, white-oak floor creates a clean, open feel as you are seamlessly transitioned from the foyer into the open floor plan’s spectacular great-room with coffered ceiling. From the foyer you are met with an idyllic countryside view through the two-and-half-story great-room floor to ceiling windows and French doors that open onto a 40-foot outside terrace. A handcrafted Austrian crystal chandelier suspended from the coffered ceiling enhances this luxurious great room with custom built-in cabinets on each side of a dramatic two-story fireplace. A sweeping staircase leads to the upstairs ensuite children’s bedrooms and “Juliet” balcony that hover over the grandeur of this room.
Knowing the homeowners’ love for cooking, a warm and inviting chef’s kitchen was designed for family and friends to “hang-out” while entertaining or just to do homework. High-end finishes were used with elegant hardwood custom cabinets that cleverly conceal modern conveniences. A luxurious imported French pillowed-edge Beaumaniere Classic limestone floor creates separation from the kitchen/breakfast nook and great room. A modern day version of a fireplace-hearth is created with the marble and cream-colored Travertine, oversized limestone range-hood and ‘red-knob’ professional stove. The room’s focal point is an elegant hand-carved cherry wood center-island with a three-inch black, Spanish honed-granite counter and inset beverage sink. The armoire-styled refrigerator and center island act more like furniture, reflecting the French inspiration of the home.
Off of the foyer, glass paneled doors allow you a glimpse into an exquisite all hand-hewn cherry wood, custom paneled home-office. A beautiful cherry wood handcarved mantle surrounds the office fireplace, one of the home’s three classic Rumford fireplaces with herringbone design firebox.
The residence also features a French-blue home theater with Corinthian capital columns and state-of-the-art surround sound. You can bask in the daylight sun or read a good book on a rainy day inside the enclosed glass and wrought iron solarium with a silver leaf ceiling and circular red and white brick pavers that opens to an outdoor patio.
Sustainability and energy conservation are part of the overall home’s design, in-floor heating and high-grade insulation throughout keep heating costs down during the winter, while the use of stone construction also keeps the home cool in the summer.
“Natural stone is as green as an authentic building material can get, absorbs and releases heat slowly, performs consistently through wide temperature changes,” explains D’Alessio.
Computerized security and fire prevention systems are electronically controlled including the hi-tech security cameras that are flush mounted – cut into the stonework – hidden from view at all corners of the home. The homeowners were thrilled with the easygoing elegance that allows their energetic young family the ability to enjoy the romantic, French graceful style and classical architectural elements that inspire the home’s design.