One look at the living area of the Alvarez Beach House in Peru and you know the home is something truly special. With a panoramic ocean setting to take advantage of, Longhi Architects created a visual masterpiece that the homeowners could then expand upon with furnishings that are works of art in their own right. Take, for example these Louis Ghost chairs at the dining table. Instead of settling for the usual “clear” Lucite, the homeowners instead chose to use a dozen of the Philippe Starck design that has portraits in the backrests. The sparkle of the chandelier above the table glitters off of the clear acrylic, accentuating the rim of rose that frames the portraits. In the distance the living area is clustered for conversation and the floor to ceiling windows shows off a spectacular sunset.
The facade of this spectacular home is modest. It appears to be a single storey residence with an open carport on one side and a small sitting area on the other. The carport is open to the sky above to make the most of the natural light and a row of potted trees directs visitors to the front door.
The small sitting area that lines the other side of the entry walkway is cantilevered with a small area rug of pebbles below. The bench then steps down to the deck and turns into a planter for additional greenery and colour. The entry is to the home is a pair of etched smoked glass in a geometric pattern that flows smoothly with the lines of the home itself.
Once inside the home, the magic really happens. The panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean offer an unending view of the horizon and the choice of wide-open spaces mean that the view continues uninterrupted for the length of the living space. One column offers support and a division between the dining and living areas, but that column is set away from the windows so that the view is continuous.
The furnishings in the living area are tonally the same as the flooring so as not to detract from the ocean beyond the windows. Colour, however is not forgot. Ottomans in fuschia and purple offset an area rug in a sapphire jewel tone. A chandelier above the seating area is adorned with purple crystals and cyan colour blocking is introduced on an end section of a dropped ceiling section. Each choice of colour is bold but each colour is cleverly placed in such a way that it enhances the room without detracting from the view. Your eye travels around the rich and vibrant hues but always comes to rest on the Pacific.
The colour blocked end wall continues its vibrant hue up the stairwell beside the living area and wraps itself around the homeowner’s elevator. The elevator is a fast and easy way to access both the infinity pool several flights of stairs below, and the small bar area on the pool level. The landing has no view so colour has become the focus of the décor. To balance the strong cyan tone, a swathe of purple wraps around a small bench and mirror zone. A round, red side table sits in front of the bench for a little bit of extra whimsy.
The Master Bedroom upstairs has complete privacy and can therefore take advantage of the sweeping views with floor to ceiling windows that open up to an outdoor deck. A dark stained wood ceiling keeps the room feeling intimate, while ambient lighting offers necessary lighting without creating glare or reflections on the windows. A pair of green chairs and an orange bureau continues the colour accents and a rectangular cut out on the wall brings in the geometry of the building.
The elevator leads you down to the infinity pool, but first it lets you out at the bar. Here a small cantilevered brushed metal, two level counter protrudes from the wall with clear acrylic stools on one side and bright orange stools on the other. The wine bar runs the height of the room with colourful and fun supports for the necks of the bottles. Lit from behind this wine rack is as much an art form as it is functional.
The bar backs onto a large window area that overlooks a small sunlight corridor. Although most of the view is of the building itself, a small section of greenery keeps the view from feeling too contained.
The elevator is not the only way to access the bar and pool zones. A backdoor to the home leads out onto a large deck area. The building is designed in such a way that it offers openings up to the sky while the upper floor wraps around and out.
The back deck is a study of shape and space. The concrete blocks create a large wall that the geometry of the white areas plays off of. The choice of emerald green for colour blocking references landscaping, while not actually having any and the fun concrete block shape that is attached to the emerald green brings the deep grey into the foreground, creating an area that plays off of negative and positive spaces in such a way that there is continuous movement and flow to an otherwise static location.
The back deck leads to the back stairs and this is where the architects excelled in their understanding of space and colour. A flight of concrete stairs finds its way down the natural rock that has been preserved. The boulders are casually dotted with small plants. The emerald green wall travels downward with the stairs but is broken up with more concrete block that protrudes in a random almost pixelized pattern. Every so often pillows of potting soil with plants poking forth lean against the hard edges of the concrete ledges. The use of shape, form and is a calculated study of contrasts and the final effect is stunning.
As much fun as the stairwell and bar area is, the real reason to arrive at this level is the infinity pool. Here the homeowners can take advantage of the awesome Peruvian weather by taking a dip in the pool while enjoying the ocean breezes. Here, nothing else matters.
The Alvarez Beach House is something truly special.