House of the Week: A Paintbrush Stroke of Beauty in Venice

Technology blends the art of design with the build world in Mario Romano’s newest home, Preston House.

You may remember the renowned designer-builder from his Wave House. This time around, he’s not only incorporating nature in his architecture, but also art and science.

The result is a stunning 5,700-square-foot, 5-bedroom, 5-bath home listed for $4.987 million with Halton Pardee + Partners.

By using his own design-build system, which connects a written script with a machine similar to a 3D printer, Romano is able to create a home that is intricate and ornate. He refers to the process as “master builder expression.”

With Venice, CA’s Preston House, Romano wanted to blend paintbrush strokes with construction to “unify what is going on with the sky and what’s going on with the landscape in the sky.”

Photos by Dan Arnold and Brandon Arant

Wood can cause a lot of problems in the long run. For this reason, Romano prefers to use a variety of environmentally-friendly products to increase the longevity of a home. “That’s where the science comes in,” he says.

Brushed aluminum gives the home its reflective finish, while Simowood (recycled rice husk from Germany) is used on the front of the home. Simowood is not only impervious to termites, but is also waterproof and resistant to mold and viruses, which makes it one of Romano’s favorite materials to use.

The roof has a rainscreen, which provides an inch gap, allowing hot air to rise and pass through to keep the space dry.

The walls are Corian, a solid-colored, UV-rated material that doesn’t require paint or sanding. Romano even incorporates nanotechnology into the countertops, so minor scratches can be buffed out with a little applied heat.

While technology plays a big role in the dwelling’s overall structure, Romano truly enjoys the art of dressing the home. “When you build something and create something, there’s an element of surprise,” he says. Like a sunset or snowflake, there’s complexity in its beauty.

The home’s exterior has almost a ripple-like texture that carries into the interior design. The kitchen features a tranquil line detail on the far wall, while the floors upstairs are blended in color, tone, and pattern. They give off the appearance of wavelets as you move throughout each space. Even the stairs possess a similar feeling of motion in the way the wood seamlessly curves from one step to the next.

A family man himself, Romano wanted Preston House to be a place of connection as well as privacy. The kitchen, which includes a large dining area, is close to the stairs, creating visibility, circulation, and flow.

Outside, there’s a big yard with a luxurious lap pool surrounded by privacy hedges. “We retreat, then we connect,” he says.

Everyone needs their space, but then they come together. Ultimately, the people living in the house are what truly make a home come alive.

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