The House

By Kit Knotts
Click images to enlarge

The house was built in 1973, obviously influenced by the designs of Frank Lloyd Wright. When a good friend, a protege of a protege of Wright himself, didn't have time to design the house to meet the start of construction, I decided to do it myself. The primary thing I wanted to draw from Wright and achieve in the design was that the house become a part of the living landscape.

View from the northeast
above and below

View from the northwest
above and below

The lovely grove of Australian pines at the center of the acre-and-a-half property was where the house needed to be and its size and shape were dictated by the trees. The ground floor could only be as large as the trunks would permit. Cantilevers could only vault as far as the soaring branches would allow. Not a single tree was removed or branch cut to make room for the house.

The structure is formed and poured concrete with walls filled in with glass or concrete block. North and west walls are solid to protect from the most dangerous winds, while the east and south walls are all floor-to-ceiling windows. Because maintaining a house directly on the ocean can be a nightmare, great care was given to using only methods and materials that would hold up over time.


View of the open third floor from the bucket of the crane used to make concrete pours >


Our living space is on the second and third floors, living room and kitchen on the second floor and bedroom and dressing room on the third floor, all to take advantage of the fabulous ocean view. The ground floor, originally garages, is now guest room and office. The whole house is a study in the illusion of spaciousness since all three floors total just over 1,500 square feet. 

After the freezes >

When the trees were killed in the freezes of 1984 and 1985, I almost died with them. I replanted young trees beside every dead one. Those, except for one, were all killed in the freeze of 1989. In time other landscaping came back from having been frozen to the ground.

The only consolation for the loss of the trees was the gradual addition of ponds and waterlilies, possible because of the added light. The one surviving tree graces the front of the house (on the ocean, front is that way).

Before the garden >

The house from the Magic
Garden's "Living Room".
As Ben and I built the garden and Mother Nature was generous with her assistance, the house again became as one with the living landscape. Even though both the house and garden were devastated by the hurricanes of 2004, we have rebuilt and the garden has regrown, leaving scars that only we can see.

The "Living Room" from the
second floor of the house.

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September 2004 Update

Extreme Makeover by Mother Nature

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