Warm modern on tour in Virginia-Highland

An image in Dwell magazine of a hallway designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and made of stone walls inspired Steve and Joann Karaga as they envisioned their contemporary home.

“A lot of the modern architecture that we saw was a lot of poured concrete walls,” Steve said. “We wanted to do something different.”

Inside and out, they used 186 tons of stacked stone sourced from Asheville, N.C., in the new Virginia-Highland home, which is on the MA Architecture Tour 2015 (ma-designishuman.com) on June 6-7.

The couple achieved a change of lifestyle and change of architecture in moving from a traditional home in Lawrenceville to the new four-bedroom residence in the popular, walkable intown neighborhood.


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Residents: Steve and Joann Karaga and their dog, Maggie. Steve is president of Oman Fasteners.

Location: Virginia-Highland. “We fell in love with that neighborhood and decided that’s where we were going to live,” Joann said.

Size: 3,800 square feet, four bedrooms, four baths

Year built: 2014

Architect: Staffan Svenson, Dencity

General contractor: Principle Builders Group

Architectural style: Modern with prairie-style elements. “We wanted to do a modern home but we didn’t want to do the traditional, very stark modern,” Steve said. The couple both grew up in Buffalo, N.Y., which has Frank Lloyd Wright-designed homes.

Favorite architectural elements: Stacked stone, overhangs, suspended bridges, corner and raised horizontal bands of Loewen windows. The stone wasn’t a quick decision. A sample wall was built using various stones to determine the right color and shape, with the need for flat, not sharp, edges.

Interior design style: Contemporary

Design consultant: Sarah Boardman and Zach Hill, Difference Design Lab

Contractors: Franco Iron Works, Dark Horse Woodworks, Rick Lorenz

Favorite interior design elements: Black walnut wood throughout the home, used for the flooring, cabinets, shelves and tables. The wood and steel have matte, instead of glossy finishes, for a timeless feel.

Favorite outdoor elements: Blending interior and outdoor spaces, via an 18-foot glass wall that completely opens between the living area and a patio. Outdoor features also include a pool with bluestone details.

Landscape architect: Core Landscape Group

Resources: Furniture from Room & Board, Cantoni, Design Within Reach; lighting from Lighting Loft

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