⛰🪨 On the Rocks
I’m not a particularly outdoorsy person, but I have to admit that there’s something grounding (lol) about being outdoors, whether you’re out in the desert or in Central Park where you can see the outcroppings of old rock. Even small doses of rocks, like my new indoor rock garden, have brought me a lot of peace during turbulent times and just really make me happy. When chatting about it with a friend, they said ”rocks are really old and have seen a lot of shit” and honestly if we don’t all feel this way right now 😅
This week, I’m channeling all of my geology TikTok energy into homes that elicit all of those feelings of solidity and awe.
The Hillman House
Location: 992 Springs Fireplace Rd, East Hampton, NY 11937
List Price: $5,250,000
Tucked in a pocket of trees along 4.5 acres of waterfront in East Hampton, the angular Hillman House feels like an outcrop of coastal bedrock. The house was built by Modernist architect Norman Jaffe in 1980. Jaffe was known for his mixture of West Coast romanticism- using sharp lines to create silhouettes that sit nicely on the landscape and focusing on the feeling of the natural materials and light- and East Coast grandeur. This house embodies those qualities perfectly.
Nowhere is this effect more dramatic than the great room, dining room, and kitchen area. Sunlight streams through the center of the home. Light from the patchwork of skylights in the kitchen and skylights along the spine of the house create even more texture and interesting angles.
As grand and dramatic as the skylights are, they create a cozy, human-scale space for a bench that feels essentially outdoors. It’s the morning coffee spot dreams are made of, and there’s already a coffee mug rack waiting for you to take advantage.
Just steps away, the living room has an entirely different feel. It has an almost cave-like feeling with a large stone fireplace and built-in seating nestled into the sunken living area. The corresponding view outside is also low and placid.
My favorite space in the home might be the primary bedroom. The views are obviously the star of the show here, but the room itself has so many interesting things that contribute to the experience of being there: the bed built-in to the low-profile storage drawers, the skylights over the bed, and the large stone fireplace.
The Idyllwild Retreat
Location: 55175 Scenic Dr, Idyllwild, CA 92549
List Price: $1,950,000
Nature guides architect Dennis McGuire in making homes. He says his homes are “designed to celebrate the nature of their sites, all designed to play to the Nature on and surrounding their sites.”
Woven among the trees and perched on top of massive granite boulders, there’s a sense of movement and rootedness inside and out that is unmatched. The home feels a bit like a forest-inspired Frank Lloyd Wright home, playing with light and volume, cantilevering spaces, and creating small pockets of built-in seating at the perimeter.
You can find outcrops of boulder in several of the rooms, really blurring the line between indoors and outdoors.
I love the small touches in this home like all of the built-in bookcases and shelves, and what feels like built-in seating in just about every room.
P.S. If you don’t know who the mayor of Idyllwild is, you should definitely check him out.
The Conlin House
Location: 440 Seven Hills Dr, Boulder, CO 80302
List Price: $2,249,000
The Conlin House was built by Charles Haertling in 1967. Haertling was a modernist architect known for his eccentric work, often crafting homes in the shapes unexpected organic forms such as yucca pods or masses of barnacles. His deep appreciation for the Boulder mountains shines through today, even through the modern updates.
Much of the house has a sophisticated treehouse-like vibe with close views of the neighboring pine trees, and playful touches like a spiral staircase at the entryway, a rock climbing wall in the living area, and a lofted area in a bedroom with a swing.
To me, the most impactful room is the kitchen. The round kitchen stands in contrast to most of the sharp angles of the house, and the shape echoes the granite boulders immediately outside of its windows. The drama of the window placement is simply everything.
Breathtaking views can be found at just about every turn in this house, but I found the framing of these windows with the mountain slope to be particularly stunning. Haertling was a master of making his homes feel in tune with their sites.
There’s also an adobe “sunroom” structure on the site that is incredibly charming. Unfortunately for me, it’s not permitted for habitation, so my dreams of renting it out as a studio apartment have been dashed.
The Mid-Century Diamond in the Rough
Location: 5311 E Mitchell Dr, Phoenix, AZ 85018
List Price: $800,000
Hear me out on this one. Sure, there’s not much curb appeal and the photographs are bad and there’s plenty of stuff to be renovated… but this house has great bones.
While the house has some doses of mid-century charm, the real draw is the interior courtyard/living area. It has two(!!) indoor garden areas and what might be the best fireplace I’ve ever seen.
I mean look at it! This fireplace has a gravity to it. The cluster of boulders, sleek modern chimney, and wood paneled backdrop are the perfect mixture of textures and lines.
If only we could see what this house looked like back when it appeared in Sunset Magazine in 1966. I hope the next owners are able to help this home reach its full potential.
It feels a little gross to me to speculate about the disappearance of Norman Jaffe, but I found this podcast’s intimate portrait of him and his career to be immensely interesting.
After seeing the covers of Material Transfers and Groundwork, they’re going straight to my reading list.
This paper is made from rocks, and it’s inspiring me to collage: https://rockpaper.store/
Loved this issue. Reminds me of a house I saw featured on a BBC show. Built on and around massive rocks. Here’s the write up by the architect: https://www.jsa.no/Summer-House-Western-Norway