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Haag, a pioneer of urban landscape design, carefully planned the yard to become an urban thicket, shading the house and providing privacy where needed, exploding with color in the fall and dropping leaves before winter to let in the light. He also planted many edible plants for humans and urban fauna alike.
Inside the front entry foyer, a thick library wall divides the public areas from the private areas, also known as active and calm zones. The side facing the front door is an art wall; the side facing the bedrooms holds hundreds of books — which, Pirzio-Biroli points out creates depth. "When you have to look at the end of a skinny wall, it's bad architecture," she says.
"A hallway that only serves as a corridor is wasted space," she adds. "We make spaces that do at least three things at once. For instance, this hallway screens the more private bedroom and bathroom from the entry foyer; it serves as a library and as a hallway."
"My clients use the woodstove all the time," Pirzio-Biroli says. "This is a good example of where the more public areas meet a more private space, a comfortable reading area." The line between the two is demarcated by where the hardwood meets the tight, commercial-grade Berber carpet. Also, this calm, private space has a lower ceiling and thus a cozier feeling.
The floors are oak.
Tip: If you like variation in your flooring, don't splurge on a higher grade. "Oak comes in different grades. We like to install the lower grades, because they have more life in them, whereas the higher grades are very consistent," Pirzio-Biroli says.
"You can see that the master bedroom is a very simple room without a lot of pretense," says the architect. "It's composed to take in the dramatic views ... and corner windows like these grab the light in different ways."
She adds, "The house is very flexible, and we designed the house for exactly how the clients wanted to live. There is a logic to the sequence of spaces, from active and public to calming and quiet."