The Architectural Ambassador

June 2016
Written By: 
Denise Mullen
Photographs by: 
Katie Fiedler

Inside and out, this Myrtle Beach home makes an impression

What happens when you arrive at the junction of design savvy, chronic creativity and a whopping dose of ingenuity?

You’ve arrived at the house at 4800 Camellia Street.

This latest build by Kevin and Linda Warren is a piece de resistance, 2800-square-feet of smart details that make you stop and think. And that starts right from the curb, with the uniquely gradient address numbers.

It’s contemporary with walls. Floating yet grounded. Exciting but Zen.

“I like modern, but it can be cold,” says Kevin Warren. “After building about eleven houses in Floridian, Mediterranean and Southern Traditional styles, the intent with this one was to have contemporary design but make it warm.”

 Warren also challenged himself to come up with a house plan that, while risky when it comes to mass appeal, could adapt itself to many different landscapes.

And that it does. Not only does this architectural ambassador make itself right at home in Myrtle Beach, you can just as easily picture it making a statement on a steep street in Hollywood Hills or nestled into a Denver mountaintop.

“I like to start architecture on the exterior and then bring it inside,” Warren says with eyes twinkling. “When you create an expectation from the outside, those expectations should be met inside as well. I can’t tell you how many people have stood outside this house and begged me to let them come in to see what the rest looks like.”

What you’ll experience at 4800 Camellia Street, inside and out, are clean lines punched up with a textural mix of materials.

The house is wrapped in white concrete panels. Metal roofing lends vertical interest. Outside columns are covered in stacked stone and warmth emanates from rosewood-hued Brazilian Ipe wood that’s used as an accent. But the Ipe also has solid practical applications. It is so hard and dense that nails cannot penetrate it and it’s also resistant to scratching, weather and flames.

When inviting those same elements to come inside, you only have to lay eyes on the floor-to-ceiling fireplace wall to see how easily they can be domesticated. It’s a stunning patchwork of Ipe, stone and white tiles that echo the curbside appeal of the home.

Every sightline in this home was approached with a keen design eye. Instead of hanging a canvas over the hearth, Warren used a nouveau metal piece that talks back to the stainless steel in the adjoining kitchen.

Both Kevin and Linda Warren admit that the entrance into their home is one of their favorite spaces, because after creating “expectation” outside, they focused on making entry a “first impression” you won’t soon forget.

The come-on-in event begins with the front door that’s eight-foot high, hinge-less and beautifully appointed with inset panels of opaque glass. It swings open on pivots.

Your eye travels straight through the hallway to the fireplace wall beyond, but not until you catch a glimpse of the floating stairway with its walnut treads and stainless steel cable. And once you do, you are helpless. You have to take a closer look.

 The yawning stairwell wall is covered with a photo that looks up though the spiraling staircase of a lighthouse and four circular bentwood light fixtures hang overhead to keep the twisting and turning design moving upstairs.

And once you do get upstairs, you’ll have to catch your breath again when you come upon the front-of-the-house outdoor patio that overlooks a busy street, but holds its own as an ethereal resting spot under the limbs of elderly oaks.

From room to room, a neutral—but in no way boring—palette of golds, browns and grays set the backdrop for vibrant pops of color and decorative eye candy.

Take for example one of the en suite bathrooms that could have been quiet and unassuming. Instead, Kevin Warren used a mélange of tiles in different shapes and sizes to create visual interest. And to give a one-two punch to a simple glossy white vanity cabinet, he topped it off with a raw-edge slice of wood and slick vessel sink.

Like the architectural elements used inside and out, the furnishings in the Warren home pull from many sources and are a study in complementing contrasts. In any given space you’ll see modern metal and leather mixing well with rattan or bamboo, rustic wood and even ceramics.

Warren refers to the layout as “a simple plan” with two master suites, one on each floor. It’s his version of “trying to downsize.”

To Kevin Warren, 4800 Camellia Street may be “simple” in its plan and “downsized” in scope. But to the rest of us, it’s downright ingenious.