K. Hovnanian Teams with Piet Boon
The New New Home
by Boyce Thompson
If K. Hovnanian’s goal was to stand out in the Phoenix homebuilding marketplace, the builder has certainly succeeded with its new Line K of homes designed by Dutch architect Piet Boon. With their horizontal orientation, dark-and-white color palette, and strong symmetry, the homes are like nothing else in the Phoenix market, which is a good thing. Phoenix isn’t exactly known for architectural pace-setting. Moreover, the K. Hovnanian venture seems to be working. The builder has sold out its first neighborhood, Pinnacle Peak Place (26 homes starting at nearly $1 million), and moved on to another (Boulder Mountain Estates). The homes, which range from 3300 sq. ft. to 3900 sq. ft., start at $960,000.
High-end homes in Phoenix are best known for blending interior and exterior spaces to dramatic effect, with large great rooms blending into covered porches and disappearing-edge pools. Though the Line K homes feature large patios with pools, casitas, and other outdoor options, there’s a strong sense of discrete indoor and outdoor spaces in these homes.
That’s partly due to the color palette. The facades are dark, with narrow stone stacked horizontally. The interiors, by contrast, are nearly uniformly white, with the notable exception of dark window frames and floors. You wonder how difficult it would be to keep a home looking as pristine as the models. But the look is absolutely stunning.
The walls and ceilings in the REIN model home are so uniformly white that it’s hard to find the light switches and air ducts, which were selected by the architect.
The first impression — created by the white walls, geometric furniture, and tall, thin windows — is that these are contemporary homes. But a closer inspection reveals thick molding along the baseboard and some windows, wainscoting on many of the walls, and wall niches for art — all traditional details.
There’s strong symmetry in the homes. The modestly sized kitchen, which features a large built-in island topped with granite that’s repeated on the backsplash, seems perfectly balanced. Same with the master bedroom, where a large bed floats between two tall and narrow windows. Two secondary bedrooms, close in size, are joined, surprisingly, by a Jack and Jill bathroom.
The interiors are certainly calming. Some of that is due to the relaxing horizontal lines created by the walls and furniture, which were designed by Piet Boon as well. Instead of being drawn upward by vaulted space and tray ceilings, as is the case in most high-end production homes, your eyes are allowed to meander across rooms. Even the art is dropped to eye-level, beckoning you into adjoining spaces.
The horizontal theme is broken in only a few places — by an oval dining-room table and an eggshell soaking tub in the master bath. The juxtaposition makes these special items really stand out.
The model — one of three plans sold by K. Hovnanian in this line — does a great job showcasing art, another hallmark of contemporary design. Shallow coves in the walls support art throughout the home. And a built-in cabinet with pink lights displaying glass art marks the entry to the secondary-bedroom wing.
It’s not like the home ignores indoor/outdoor relationships. It’s just that they are designed as discreet spaces, with defined views from one to the other. The interiors highlight exterior views to the backyard, the patio, and a private porch with a shower off the master bedroom. But the fact that it is a view is reinforced by dark window trim and a glass tint.
The backyard contains the elements that you’d expect to see in a million-dollar desert home, including a spectacular, black disappearing-edge pool, a spacious patio with furniture and a fire pit, and an optional casita.
But the exterior elements are unusual, especially for Phoenix. There are no shutters. There’s no overhang on the starkly symmetrical gabled entry. Mullions on the windows are lined up perfectly across the front of the home. And the exterior materials — stone and stucco — are done in darker materials than you see on most Phoenix homes.
High-end production builders routinely work with great architects to design what look like custom homes at production prices. But they typically design traditional homes. What makes the Line K homes unusual is their contemporary aesthetic.
Ara Hovnanian, CEO of the publicly traded company, used Piet Boon to design his own home. Visitors convinced him to try to replicate the look in a production setting. The homebuilder is also selling the homes in a suburb of Washington, D.C. The D.C. homes, which include basements, start at $1.2 to $1.3 million.
The homes are notable for their dark exterior, lack of shutters, and strong geometric form
White walls, coves, and niches showcase art
The furniture is also designed by Piet Boon
Granite on the large kitchen island is picked up in the backsplash. There's a strong symmetry to the design.
The bed in the master bedroom appears to float between two tall, thin windows without mullions
A simple, elegant dining room
Dual lavs float above the floor
Sunlight and art grace the foyer.