Elena Kalman Architect
This is my own home, where I am most free to try new ideas. I created this house as a kind of laboratory, with a fluid design and myriad opportunities for innovation and revision. Some of the experiments have a more permanent nature, whereas others are constantly in flux.
The foyer is one example of a permanent installation. The foyer floor consists of two contrasting materials: rough field stone interspersed within a field of marble tile. This combination is reminiscent of islands in a lake. Through interior elements, I am representing the landscape surrounding the house.
This house contains found objects that arc recycled and re- recycled. Once an installation is no longer fresh, it changes. For example, I found old gold- colored computer discs and perforated metal sheets at a scrap metal yard in Stamford. I used these disks and sheets in a mobile sculptural installation entitled "Dance of the Seven Veils", which was exhibited in the Stamford Museum last summer. Once the exhibit had ended, I created a fireplace grill out of the disks and sheets. Thus, junk first became art, then changed into a functional object.
Though I did not start with an empty lot, the fifty-year-old house I purchased was in such a bad shape, that I practically took apart and rebuilt most of it. The house was also too small for the needs of my family and my architectural and art studio. I had to almost double the size of the house, which is now around three thousand square feet.
I loved the secluded setting of the house and tall garden walls, which were built with rough irregular stone. Some of the stone walls I incorporated into the interior, and some are still outside. The new large glass windows on the front facade and continuous glass walls at the rear allow for the continuity of space and stone work from inside out, and the garden behind the glass is echoed inside with many potted plants and sculptures.
The overall design relies on a contrast of forms and materials. The redwood trellis contrasts with the smooth walls and glass of the facade. The stark white surface of the walls contrasts with the surrounding wooded landscape. The rough stone wall with a round projection and uneven top that runs from inside the foyer and continues outside, is opposed by a smooth, linear, tall sheetrock wall.