The Glen Edyth Project was done in two phases. This was the first phase. For the history of this project and the second phase, please read English Country Cottage.
The first of our Glen Edyth project had to be built first because if it was not, the second project beside it would have blocked the access of any construction vehicles and everything would have to be brought down from the street by manual labor – that would have been extremely costly. Note that there was no access from the back – it was the Nordheimer Ravine. The house was set back from the street and the lot dropped steeply down from the street – almost a sheer drop of twenty feet at one point. The overall site being long and narrow, gave us access to the back of this house from the lower lot which was closer in height to the street level. Furthermore, construction activities were absolutely forbidden inside the ravine – not even staging or ladder could be set up there. The back of this lot was the ravine. Scaffolds and staging were suspended from the roof instead.
This first house was built about twenty-five feet from the street. A bridge had to be constructed to link the house to the street. The bridge incorporated a concrete foundation (we called it the bunker) underneath – a tribute to the old bunker found on the site before we tore it down. The entire new house was built deep into the ravine. There were two basements. The upper basement and the sub-basement. The sub-basement level was twenty-five feet below street level. The back of the house was all windows. It felt like one was living inside a forest.
The main level consisted of a living room, study with ensuite bathroom and garage. The upper level comprised four bedrooms. The main level was the living room, library and bathroom. The living room had a full wall of floor to ceiling windows looking out into the forest. The lower level housed the kitchen, family room and dining room with windows on two sides. While there were patio doors that lead out onto the patio in the back of the family room, the grade dropped off sharply outside of the dining room giving it a suspended feeling – the room was at mid-level of the tree trunks outside. The sub-basement level was a large den and mechanical space. The two houses we built on Glen Edyth were of two different styles. We did this intentionally because we wanted to maintain the characteristics of the neighborhood. House 1 was a long and narrow Georgian and House 2 was a Tudor Arts and Crafts. The Family Room walked out onto the back patio ensconced by tall trees. The patio projected into the ravine. In the summer it was a joy sitting out there so quiet and serene except for the sound of birds and insects. The house was once occupied by a celebrity rock star who turned the bridge tunnel into a recording studio.