Inside Tango House: A Duet of Nature and Design
Referred to as the Tango House, this captivating and inspired design project is a unique assemblage of natural and modern influences, designed and executed by Carol Kurth Architecture + Interiors. The home features many distinctive elements, from the sweeping Tango Room for which the house is named to a carefully coordinated layout that encourages a harmonious flow with the natural world. Passion, balance, and a focus on sustainability make this house an astounding example of how a luxurious living space can be a means to express individuality and creativity.
We had the opportunity to speak with architect Carol Kurth about the story behind the home, her process, and what makes this particular project so extraordinary. Join us for a walkthrough of this stunning and inspiring space.
The Inception of Tango House
Carol Kurth shared the story behind the unique design of the home with our editor. So why design a home around a dance studio? “The clients met dancing, and they love Tango.” She explains, “…in their existing house that she had gone to see, it was in the basement with a low ceiling. And the client had said in their new house, they’d like a higher ceiling because when they do lifts, they were always worried about the potential of banging their head as the ceiling was low.”
Their concerns and desires for a more comfortable and forgiving dance space gave Carol an idea.
“I said, you know what? …Instead of it being on a lower level in a basement, why don’t we bring it upstairs. And make it into something spectacular and light-filled, like you’re dancing under the stars?
“I did some quick sketches, and they fell in love with the idea!”
Elements of dance made their way into other aspects of the design, as well. “The curved roof was conceived as this sculptural form, like someone dipping back in a dance, and it just evolved from there–with the light cloud, the idea of dancing under the stars. We also designed an outdoor dance terrace for them too, and that’s how the idea started.”
A house concept designed around the artistry of dance could never be without passion. And that’s exactly what Carol, her team, and her clients brought to every element of the project.
One With Nature
Located in beautiful Greenwich, Connecticut, the ever-changing natural landscape of the Northeast surrounds Tango House.
When asked about how the climate of the region informed the design of Tango House, Carol explained that “the year-round beauty of the four seasons and the visual connection between property and the views from within the home” were both part of her inspiration.
Integration with and connection to the rural backcountry where the home is located was a priority for both Carol Kurth and her client.
“I always focused on the orientation of a house and the natural aspects of the property,” Carol says of the home’s placement. “Our client is a naturalist, and that further influenced and articulated the design parameters.”
Sustainability and preservation of the surrounding natural beauty are at the forefront of this modern, environmentally-conscious design. The property includes a greenhouse, outdoor geodesic chicken coop, vegetable garden, and composting area. Harmony with the surrounding wildlife that also calls the beautiful landscape home is a priority, as well.
ORNILUX bird protection glass is throughout the home, allowing for spectacular views and natural light without compromising the safety of feathered friends. Environmentally conscious landscaping and nature trails, designed by famed landscape architecture firm Oehme Van Sweden, encourage the presence and protection of native species and wildlife.
Solar panels are more common inclusions for new home designs in recent years, but Tango House doesn’t stop there. The house also boasts geothermal energy and an electric vehicle charging station.
“So much can be detailed about the house, pool house, and environment,” says Carol of the unique features, “including the geodesic chicken dome, extensive vegetable garden, and the farm-to-table concept that’s part of the day-to-day organic sustainable lifestyle at Tango House.”
Making an Entrance
The architecture of the exterior and interior of Tango House blend together, supporting a natural cohesion of indoor and outdoor spaces. As such, the entryways are key to facilitating this flow.
Architectural elements carry over from the exterior, like surfaces of walnut, concrete, and zinc. The interior decor, by Laura Bohn Design Associates, elaborates on this connection, providing organic pops of color and softening the hard materials of the exterior.
Natural elements and clean, straight lines guide one into the home. Rounded and asymmetrical details, such as light fixtures and decor accents, help smooth out the otherwise sharp and angular framework.
Room for More
“In search of a dramatic focal point for the living room, we created a show-stopping linear fireplace feature with a cantilevered “floating” concrete hearth,” Carol says of the fireplace in the large gathering space. “The hunt for the perfect stone surround led to a unique lot of Black Fantasy quartzite with a specialty leather finish from ABC Stone.”
Carol goes on to explain how the warm, backlit effect was created. “We offset the stone from the concrete wall with slabs that float off the wall and are backlit so the fireplace appeared to glow from both the inside and the outer surround.”
The result is an enchanting, illuminating effect. The fireplace serves as an ethereal centerpiece for a room with complementing warm and similarly glowing colors. The living room flows in an open plan into the dining room and then the kitchen. Each a beautifully curated and unique space.
Space for Creativity
“The crafts room was a programmatic request,” Carol said of the colorful and multi-purposed space, “with places for everything from microscope slides to gift wrap station, sewing area, and all manner of creative art projects and supplies.”
The request for the space came from Carol’s client, who she describes as “an avid creative” with a passion for the overlapping worlds of art, science, and nature. The Crafts Room and Library are more examples of how passion and creativity play an important role in the layout of the home. Function and form come together at the forefront of the layout and design.
“It’s a place of inspiration and creativity!”
Entertainment & Enjoyment
Tango House offers many special areas perfectly curated for entertainment and enjoyment. From the dining room and kitchen to numerous media rooms, a game room, and a gym, the options each radiate design with intent.
Tango House has six impressive bedroom suites, each one unique. Carol Kurth Architecture + Interiors believes in “architecture as a backdrop for living, and interiors as an inspiration for lifestyle.” An ideology that shines through in the primary bedroom.
Soft greyscale evolves across textures and shades, from light and bright to dark and comforting. The forested scene on the wall brings nature into the bedroom, a mural created from the clients’ photograph. The warm glow along the top echoes that of the fireplace in the Great Room. Texture and depth provide a nice complexity to what is otherwise a very muted color palette. The effect is overall calming, whimsical, and elegant.
A childhood dream bedroom for ADW features a magical hammock/built-in sofa feature. This room reminds us how Carol gave every corner of this home exquisite attention. Filling each space with endless details to delight in.
An Eye for Art
Throughout the house, art is present in many forms, from sculptures to prints and paintings. “Curating and sourcing art is a special passion of mine,” says Carol. “Art is an important complement to a space whether it’s for outdoor spaces or the walls of a home—it imbues the architecture with character and a point of view.”
In front of the home, nestled in the greenery, is a round, mirrored-finished stainless steel piece by internationally acclaimed sculptor David Harber. Through the center, it provides a view of the front of the home. The effect is what Carol describes as “an intentional moment for reflection and a gateway piece for Tango House.”
This statement piece is one of a number of specially commissioned works for the home. Another is Tango Girl for the Tango Room by artist Cindy Press. When it comes to the process of sourcing art, Carol says she “loves the quest, meeting artists, visiting galleries, studios, and art shows to find pieces that speak to me and resonate with our clients.”
Some of the other art within the home was selected with the direction of art consultant Elizabeth Fiore, engaged by interior designer Laura Bohn.
Soak It In
Water features play a role in the layout of the home, both inside and out. From the rectangular pond at the entrance of the home to the outdoor spa, indoor lap pool, and luxurious primary bathroom tub, there is no shortage of luxurious details to admire, swim, and soak in.
The primary bathroom of the home is a large, well-lit space with an eye-catching floral statement wall made up of thousands of tiny mosaic tiles. The large window opposite offers bountiful natural light and views of the property.
Collaboration In Creation
The astounding feat of architecture and design that is Tango House is the result of tireless creativity and collaboration between clients, designers, curators, and many others.
“The most wonderful clients in every respect!” Carol has to say about the experience. “We had fun even during the most challenging phases! It was a joy to work with our clients throughout.”
When it comes to the team that executed the vision alongside Carol Kurth, the designer sings their praises. “John Rapetti, an architectural associate from my firm, was integral to the success of this project. As was the contractor, Legacy Construction Northeast, who brought the design to life with exemplary construction skills, attention to detail, and quality.
“We had an incredible, talented, and dedicated interdisciplinary team—architect, interior designer, landscape architect, engineer, and contractor—where we collaborated, designed, and were inspired! Many very talented craftspeople were part of the high caliber outcome.”
Tango House is a shining example of what can be achieved when passion, creativity, and dedication come together. With sustainability, functionality, and breathtaking design at the forefront of the project, Tango House is the gold standard of what a modern luxury home can be. And we can’t wait to see what Carol Kurth comes up with next!
Interview by Anna Beck | Words with Bridget Kitson | Photos by Eric Laignel