The Werners — who moved to the states with their two children from Germany when Uli was named vice president for government relations for software company SAP — bought the 1960s-traditional home, set on a wooded hill sloping down to a lake, with an eye toward revamping it with a modern but warm treatment — but ended up tearing down the house and building a uniquely contemporary structure on the original foundation. With the melange of wood and steel, the massive, oaken front door (which pivots from the center) and the special laminating treatment done to one of the living room walls, Cole’s admiration for American architect Frank Lloyd Wright is evident.
“We wanted to give it a fluidity of circulation and respect their wish to separate the public area of the house from the private,” said Cole, who received a degree from the London School of Architecture. “Two distinct wings are joined by the kitchen passage, which is the centerpiece of the entire house. Enormous bay windows were custom-made with some degree of difficulty, since the American standard of width is eight feet and is less flexible than that of European-educated architects.”