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Sleek style, spare use of colour give house a one-of a kind look

By: Susan Jones

  |  Posted: Friday, Oct 12, 2012 06:00 am

ONE OF A KIND – Ramey Cordeiro stands in front of the St. Albert home that he designed and built.  It features glass turrets, an arched entranceway and four rooftop patios.
ONE OF A KIND – Ramey Cordeiro stands in front of the St. Albert home that he designed and built. It features glass turrets, an arched entranceway and four rooftop patios.
CHRIS COLBOURNE/St. Albert Gazette

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Stand outside Ramey Cordeiro’s big black house and try to come up with a description. Because of the round, glass-block turrets, you might think, “European castle.” The only thing missing is a moat, but the home has a towering presence on Oak Point Drive.

The walls themselves undulate in a series of curves that take the eye away from the big dramatic entrance, so you might think the design contains hints of Arabic or Moorish designs. But then again, perhaps it’s an Art Deco style that comes to mind because of the matte-black finish on the walls and the patterned charcoal-coloured driveway that covers the entire front yard.

One thing is certain: there is no other structure like it anywhere in St. Albert and quite probably no other like it anywhere in the world.

Cordeiro believes he was most influenced by the homes of Portugal that he saw as a child, before his family immigrated to Canada. His home has a flat roof that allows access to four different rooftop patios, and for Cordeiro, that’s most reminiscent of those Mediterranean homes, where people relax on the roofs on hot summer evenings.

Inside there’s a polish and shininess that makes the home appear both ultramodern and masculine at the same time, and Cordeiro agrees that the style is a reflection of his own taste and personality.

“The design is all me. I had an architect look at it to make sure it all worked, but every colour, every shape, every vanity and every 30-foot glass wall is my design,” Cordeiro said.

Long process

For a variety of reasons it took Cordeiro, who is a contractor, five years to build this home.

“It takes longer for the tradespeople to build a different-style home,” he said.

It also took longer for the Oakmont-area developer to secure approval for the flat-roof design.

“It took the City of St. Albert and Melcor time to approve the plan because it is not so uniform in nature. They are square people and this is not a square design,” he said.

Custom built by Ascension Homes, the house is a split-level with a master bedroom and kitchen and family room on the first floor, and a flex room that doubles as a television/exercise/steam room on the second level. Every level has access to a private rooftop-patio.

The floor plan is open with few walls and only one truly rectangular area, which is the kitchen and family room. Everything else is angled or curved and these geometric shapes provide a maze-like structure but also a sense of privacy so that every area of the house is somewhat private from every other area.

Two glass-block towers flank the front door. One provides light and a sense of airy space over the door and by the upstairs television area. The other provides the 30-foot-high wall that may be seen from both a main-floor bedroom and an upstairs office.

“I wanted the biggest glass block wall in Edmonton,” Cordeiro said.

Cordeiro attended to every detail of his dream home. For example, the floor is a muted black with some degree of lustre but it also has a shadowing effect in the tiles.

“The tiles are European. I wanted the shadowing so you did not see every mark on the floor. I wanted a graduation of black, silver, grey and white,” he said.

Everything from the countertops to the furniture is glossy black or white with vivid splashes of carmine-red as accents.

Geometry lesson

The counter is shaped like a backwards apostrophe – another Cordeiro design – and above it, the light is set into a similarly shaped red box.

Across the room the fireplace is also white, black and red and when it is lit, the flame may be seen in both the family room and the master bedroom.

There’s more backwards geometry in the bathroom where the sinks are square instead of oval and have taps that provide a fountain of water at the touch of a sensor.

The main dividing wall of the house is a 150-gallon aquarium that Cordeiro is still in the process of setting up.

“It will be a salt-water aquarium for sea fish,” he said.

Cordeiro furnished his home with a minimalist-style of furniture that is comfortable, but also purely functional in design, whether it is in the living room or on one of the patios. And the staircases between patios are utilitarian black ladders. Even the three big opaque-glass garage doors are utilitarian and look as if they would be equally at home on the exterior of a firehall or a machine shop.

“The design is ultramodern,” said Cordeiro simply as he tried again to explain the inspiration behind his unusual home.

“I didn’t want a cookie-cutter home that was a square or a rectangle. This house is all rounds and jogs and I pushed to have the design this way. I wanted everything offset and yet I wanted it smooth and elegant too. This is all my ideas and everything is different, right to the light switches,” he said.

Indeed! The light switches on the wall are differently coloured with red, white and black plates.

“Where else do you see a home with red, white and black light switches?” Cordeiro asked.


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