There’s a reason Annie and Paul de Bruyn Kops use the word “magical” to describe their Riviera home. With artisanal features like sculpted stucco walls and handcrafted tiles, the three-thousand square foot space feels like a gigantic work of art.
This makes perfect sense since Annie was a longtime art instructor at Cold Spring School. Whether you’re inside or out, each blink of the eye reveals something unique: a glass pendant’s glimmering reflections; a wood-beamed ceiling’s snowflake motif; a Gaudiesque iron balcony’s changing patterns. “There really isn’t anywhere that you’re not looking at some delightful detail or another,” she says gazing down at the black and white swirls in the floor tiles of the entry hall. “We wanted to have people come in and feel as though they’re walking on a bed of flowers,” she says.
But the final product was no accident. The house is the careful creation of architect, Jeff Shelton, whom Annie first befriended along with his wife, Karin, while teaching art to their daughters, Elena and Mattie, at Cold Spring. In Paul and Annie’s estimation, Jeff creates pure joy. His architecture, they believe, demonstrates his clear understanding of design coupled with his appreciation of the very human need for humor and playfulness.
Shelton called upon the unique talents of his trusted stable of artist contributors. His brother, David, designed and fabricated the ironwork; Saul Alcaraz crafted the glass shades; Andy Johnson created the limestone sculptures; and Tom Cole conceived the landscaping. Supervising it all was David Kruger of Dan Upton Construction.
As fortune had it, added to the creative mix were the de Bruyn Kops. Both retired, Annie and Paul were free to devote many hours to the enterprise, choosing the various tile patterns and working with Saul on the light fixtures. The team effort clearly paid off, both in terms of inventiveness as well as speed. The project took only 12 months to complete—from June 2009 until June 2010.
The interior courtyard has yielded a space that is at once cozy and bright, like a plazuela you’d come across in Andalusia. Says Annie, “The patio is so inviting that everyone who visits gravitates there even though we have this amazing ocean view just steps away on the front terrace.” And though the architecture is unmistakably Shelton’s, the de Bruyn Kops’ home, like his other projects, maintains its own identity.
As for living in a larger than life sculpture, Annie says it’s a perfect fit. “Our lives have been about art for a long, long time. Since Jeff is dedicated to making beautiful things, he responded to the fact that beauty was our number one priority as well.”
This feature was originally published in Dining and Destinations Magazine.
Photography: Jim Bartsch/ Feature Writer: Arnie Cooper
JEFF SHELTON ARCHITECTURE
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