That is the thought that has been circling my mind since discovering the Charlotte-based residential architecture firm Pursley Architecture. It's not every day that an architect's portfolio incites so much enthusiasm in me, but the work of Ken Pursley's firm is simply amazing. All of it.
An alumnus of the McAlpine Tankersley school of architecture, you can see the application of clean lines to classical architecture in Pursley's portfolio that is the rubber stamp of McAlpine influence. Pieces of furniture from the McAlpine line for Lee Industries also make regular appearances. Make no mistake though, the portfolio clearly declares that Pursley has a style unto himself with his regular infusion of unique, enchanting details. Sweeping lines reminiscent of Dutch parapets, bold ironwork and striking kitchens all confirm that signature aesthetic.
We'll kickoff an abbreviated tour of the firm's portfolio with a set of distinct bathroom designs. The creativity really shines through there.
I find the the furniture-like vanity with floating, ceiling-suspended mirror quite interesting. Presumably a toilet is tucked behind the mirror wall. And upon close inspection of this photo, it appears that it was taken from inside an enclosed shower. I think that blue-green line down the left-side of the photo is that of a glass door.
Here the bump-out of the cantilevered vanity to accommodate the profile of the sink is unique. So too is the use of a bridge faucet that is most commonly seen in a kitchen. Furthermore, the mirror placements add a bit of whimsy.
The signature Dutch lines show up here in the profile of the vanity counter. The cabinets bookending the vanity remind me of a design often used on the paneled screens from the McAlpine collection for Lee Industries. Presumably the cabinets are fronted in fabric and nail head trim like the screens.
The Dutch parapet influence stands out again in this bathroom's vanity. Adding to its mystique is a one-of-a-kind mirror application that is a visual and engineering marvel. The door built into the paneled wall is also something I enjoy about the room. Interestingly, I don't notice any sort of knob (just the towel hook) to control the opening and closing of the door.
Moving along, we'll cover some other unique interior detailing before looking at exterior elements.
I found this floor-to-ceiling, paneled "bed wrap" to be unexpected and intriguing. It's like a room within a room. The oval window above the bed makes the wall suggestive of being an actual wall to the outside of the home, although it isn't.
This finely appointed master closet is rich in architectural detail. Notice the vaulting of the ceiling, the furniture-like details of the dressing island, the doors and trim of the clothing cabinets and the window. What a window! And to think that's just the closet!
One of Pursley's specialties is kitchens. I found this one in particular to be a great example of his genius at work. There's a lot to enjoy here - the unique pattern of the detail on the ceiling, the room-length range hood, and the Dutch-style island ends to name a few.
There they are again, those omnipresent fireballs so often seen in the designs of McAlpine and his disciples. Don't let that distract you though. The real star of the show here is the doors. I've never seen anything like them before. Amazing. And the same silhouette is carried over to the beams used at ends of the walls of the room.
Now onto a quick glimpse of the exteriors.
Here a stunning pool house project showcases some of the excellent ironwork designed by the firm, not to mention the structure itself. Notice that the Dutch influence shows up on the exteriors as much as the interiors. The landscape architecture here is quite brilliant too.
Ironwork makes a statement again in the railing and lantern mount in this photo. There is such whimsical beauty in that railing.
Described as Scottish Revival, this architecturally rich house has a lot going on, but it all works. Always there, the Dutch influence shows up in the wall connecting to the turret that presumably houses the main entrance. I imagine the wall encloses the patio displayed in the second photo.
Admittedly missing in this post is more coverage of the exterior architectural prowess of Pursley's firm. This inspiring farmhouse will give you more of an idea, though, of what's in the portfolio. Take a stereotypically simple structure and apply architectural wizardry and this is what you get. The double roof (for lack of a more architecturally-appropriate term) is quite intriguing in the way that it lights up at night.
If the built portfolio wasn't enough to satiate your architectural appetite, the Pursley Architecture website also features a rather large collection of houses that are in design. Each more inspiring than the last, they leave you yearning for a completion date and an address (to drive-by, of course).
Here's one rendering to entice you. You'll have to visit the website for more as we're out of space in this post.
- The Tudors - Charlotte Magazine, July 2008
- Quiet Elegance in Charlotte, NC - House Beautiful, February 2008
- The Disappearing Kitchen - Southern Accents, April 2006
All images via the Pursley Architecture website.