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This Beautiful Driveway Design Puts Plain Pavement to Shame


Fri Jun 23 2017 15:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Talk about a great first impression

By Lindsey Mather

Architect Christopher Mercier of (fer) Studio was in the midst of building a carport and swimming pool for photographer Davis Factor's midcentury home in California's San Fernando Valley when he was told to stop everything, right that minute. Factor had bought the house next door, and the project needed to be looked at anew. Mercier ended up tearing down that residence and creating a new one adjacent to Factor's midcentury property. "It was supposed to connect as one large house but also be separate as two houses," says Mercier. "He could have someone staying on one side and his home could still be totally private."

When Mercier came back to designing the carport and the driveway itself, the transitional vibe of the estate was fresh in his mind. "We wanted green space to give it that feeling of a front yard, yet he wanted to be able to drive in and out easily," Mercier says. Instead of basic black pavement, he chose to incorporate four unique materials into the space: squares of poured concrete, strips of basalt stone, patches of grass, and large swatches of geometric permeable pavers. The graphic lines of the driveway play off the nearby architecture: "There are slots in the ipe wood, slots in the concrete, recessed slots in the wall," notes Mercier.

The mixed and matched terrain, like a real-life game of Tetris, wasn't always so perfect. In the beginning, there was more grass than concrete, and car traffic created a muddy mess. Now, "the main flow of driving in and out is a pretty, clean, clear path with no grass," says Mercier. "The ultimate design came out from forethought and from Factor living there."

In the back lies the carport, which features retracting doors that can close to make it a private courtyard or be left open if Factor wants visitors to have access to the front of his home. "We made a basalt stone garden that frames the backside of the driveway," says Mercier. "When you look from the inside of the house, you don’t look at the car, you look at the stone garden. It’s not a typical carport, it’s a nice place to be."

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