Elias Rizo Arquitectos got back to basics in their approach to designing a pair of houses for two brothers with similar tastes and singular personalities. The designers employed a common palette of materials like wood, stone and metal – which maintained a connection between the two houses and the exterior environment itself. The architecture appears at one with the earth by virtue of its materials and the shape of the structure, carved into the slope side. The stone walls work their way from outdoors in, bringing with them an alfresco feeling that’s still cozy (and almost cave-like), thanks to the large windows throughout.
Large expanses of glass let light in white reflecting the outdoors, helping the house to blend with its surroundings.
A distinctive “wild west” theme prevails throughout, from the alluding “rough” materials to the literal rancher accessories. From the architects: “The clients expressed a desire that entrance into the houses be conceived as an experience in its own right. We then proceeded to articulate the entry modules with their various spaces (mud room, garage, storage, and service quarters) around open courtyards that catch the eye and allow daylight in.”
Inside, flexibility is a key component of the design. Many of the walls and windows are movable partitions that connect spaces with each other and the outdoors. The grainy, large-plank wood ceiling becomes an instant focal point of this main living area. Of course, the view vies for your attention – and undoubtedly, it always wins.
The two houses on the property are within sight and fairly easy reach, though not too close for comfort. House A occupies the higher part of the property, and is more secluded in relation to its counterpart. An angular floor plan is centered inward around an open courtyard. Meanwhile, House B features a rectangular floor plan looking out on the property and beyond.
Though largely open, the layout includes nooks that add interest and define function with the space. Wood and stone are complemented by rustic timber furnishings, supple leather upholstery and hides.
A massive steel fireplace occupies the main wall of this sitting area, boasting a well-worn, well-used aesthetic. The fireplace features an open firebox with an adjacent wood storage area.
The sloping wood ceiling angles up toward the sliding glass wall at the rear of the room, flooding the space with natural light and counteracting the heaviness of the fireplace.
The kitchen has an industrial edge, with an exposed steel ceiling looming over rustic wood cabinets and open shelves, stainless steel appliances and a large center island for casual dining and prep.
A simple hallway has few but thoughtful artifacts – a large gear leans against the wall, and a beautifully crafted saddle and stirrups sit proudly on display.
Interiors echo the outdoors in a refined yet rustic way, ever connected through large windows.
The decor of these spaces make the rooms hard to define, and easy to love. They are all comfortable, and all invite sitting, dining, discussion, naps and nature viewing.
Have a seat…
While the stone walls and floors appear very raw and unrefined, the wood throughout has a carefully crafted touch, finished – framed – by steel details.
A double-height space with a long view down – and out.
Now, this is truly a cave of the most luxurious variety. This bedroom features a wood ceiling that spills down onto the stone walls. Adjacent to the bed, a long, rectangular fireplace cut into the wall. Crude wood bedside tables and hides throws casually about give the room a carefree, laid-back look.
A second bedroom features a large sliding wall that opens to the outdoors.
Even the bathroom has a Wild West style.
Architect: Elias Rizo Arquitectos
Photo credits: Marcos García