Perched atop the second-highest point in Bel Air – a luxury community developed on the 300-acre former Kean estate – the home, which incorporates many of Graves’ signature elements such as columns and round windows, has become somewhat of an attraction.
“Juxtaposed to the Kean mansion, which is like Downton Abbey, this is the complete opposite end of the spectrum,” says the homeowner.
In 2000, the couple set out to design and build a modern dream home. Mr. B., a commercial builder, yearned to create an ultra-contemporary home. The pair began the search for a “starchitect.” They originally chose Charles Gwathmey, principal of Gwathmey Siegel & Associates and one of five architects dubbed the “New York Five,” but eventually they ended their search with Michael Graves, another member of the elite group.
“We realized that it wasn’t enough to simply have a celebrity architect,” Mrs. B. says. “Compatibility was also an essential component. As celebrated as Michael Graves is, he and his associates welcomed us into his very quaint Princeton office and, more importantly, wanted to know what our needs were. He wanted us to be part of the design process.”