Split-faced limestone creates primal space

November 18, 2006
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Gary Chandler from Gary R. Chandler Architecture and Interiors of Houston, TX, selected Windsor Grey limestone for several features throughout his home, including the fireplace in the family room.


Windsor Grey limestone - supplied by Alamo Stone of Houston, TX - was also used for hall pilasters throughout the home.
When designing his own 4,200-square-foot home, Gary Chandler of Gary R. Chandler Architecture and Interiors of Houston, TX, utilized limestone for both interior and exterior features, which worked to transition the two spaces. “I wanted the interior and exterior to work together,” he said. “The goal was to create a home of European origin that evokes a primal sense of dwelling, a home that is structurally anchored to the site by the stones coming out of the ground, as well as the stone columns inside and outside of the home; thus establishing permanence, stability and security.”

When selecting materials for any of his architectural projects, Chandler considers a variety of factors. “We approach practices in architecture from all elements - its color, its texture and what is appropriate to evoke the image we are trying to create,” he said.

Visitors enter the kitchen between two large volumes of limestone, and the split-faced material was meant to establish permanence, stability and security, according to Chandler.
For the interior of his home, Chandler selected over 15 tons of Windsor Grey limestone - supplied by Alamo Stone of Houston, TX - for walls, hall pilasters and a fireplace surround. “I wanted to use this stone because it is so indigenous to Texas, and its split-faced finish is very rustic and primal,” said the architect.

According to Chandler, visitors enter the kitchen between two large volumes of stone, which are “very structural in appearance.” Adding contrast to the rough-faced, lightly colored limestone, the kitchen was designed with darker and more modern materials. The countertops feature Ugualla Brown granite, while the island countertop is comprised of Ubatuba granite. Both materials were supplied by Colours of the Rainbow of Houston, TX.

The architect said that visitors to his home love how the space is very modern, like the kitchen for example, but at the same is reminiscent of old architecture.
Colours of the Rainbow provided additional material for the master bathroom, where Rainforest Green marble was employed for the vanity tops, and _-inch tumbled Moss Green mosaic tiles comprise the tub surround.

Another highlight of the home is a stone vessel sink - supplied by Elegant Additions of Houston, TX - which is found in the downstairs powder room. The sides of the square-shaped sink are comprised of green marble, and the bottom of the sink features five or six different shades of mosaic tiles that form a unique pattern.

Ubatuba granite - also from Colours of the Rainbow - was used for the island top to complement the countertops.

Exterior stonework

The architect carried an additional 15 tons of Windsor Grey limestone to the exterior of the home. The material was used for outdoor applications because of its “structural presence and its rustic texture, which strengthened the home's primal image,” said Chandler. The rough-faced limestone was used for three large sections of an exterior wall, and stucco was installed in between each section to match the house. Furthermore, Sweetwater Pools of Houston, TX, installed black granite water features at each section of the wall.

Additionally, smooth-finished Windsor Grey limestone - in 3-inch-thick cut blocks - was implemented for the pool coping and the platform for a fire pit, which were also installed by Sweetwater Pools.

A stone vessel sink - supplied by Elegant Additions of Houston, TX - can be found in the downstairs powder room. The sides of the square-shaped sink are comprised of Green marble, and the bottom of the sink features five or six different shades of mosaic tiles that form a unique pattern.
The architect said he did not encounter any challenges while working on this project. “The stonemasons here in Texas are just incredible craftsmen with stone,” he said. “We don't really have to tell them anything - they are artists with installing this material.”

The architect felt that the limestone he selected gave the house a real sense of permanence. “It says that a house is built solid and built well,” said Chandler. “It says 'I'm going to be here' - permanently, not just temporarily, and people today want that. Stone gives a sense of being, whereas stucco and other materials are more temporary.”

The pool surround features 3-inch-thick blocks of Windsor Grey limestone.
Chandler said that visitors to his home love how the space is very modern, but at the same time is reminiscent of old architecture. “That was my intent - to make this primal space that was about original construction without any particular style,” he said. “People find it fascinating. Some of our guests are reminded of a childhood home, barn or church, while others think of the great halls in Europe. The idea was that with our own personal associations and lifelong experiences, you can come into this space and experience it at your own level.”

Chandler Residence Houston, TX

Architect: Gary R. Chandler Architecture and Interiors, Houston, TX

Stone Suppliers: Alamo Stone, Houston, TX (Windsor Grey limestone); Colours of the Rainbow, Houston, TX (Ugualla Brown granite, Ubatuba granite, Rainforest Green marble, Moss Green mosaic tiles); Elegant Additions, Houston, TX (vessel sink)

Exterior Stone Installer: Sweetwater Pools, Houston, TX (wall, pool surround, fountains)

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