After years of patient planning, architect Larry Phelps decided the time had come to realize his vision for the entry area of his home in 2014. This 22-foot-long wall is a pivotal element of the house. It welcomes visitors, leading their attention to a breathtaking view of forested hillside on the wall opposite the front door. It divides public areas for cooking, dining, and relaxing from private bedrooms and baths. And now, thanks to Larry’s ingenious design, it also comes to life with the click of a button to show photos, watch movies, or surf the Internet.
Phelps specified sequence-matched plainsawn red oak panels that I sourced from Heitink Veneers, then cut to precise dimensions, edgebanded, and finished. Mark Longacre Construction prepped the surface of the wall to minimize any irregularities that would have been magnified by the long perspective, then worked with Larry and me on the meticulous installation.
A 3/8-inch ground veneered in straight-grain red oak is scribed to the ceiling, wraps around the wall’s ends, and returns at the rear.
A key component of Larry’s vision is his clever incorporation of a flat-screen TV. Larry fabricated a compartment behind the paneling, painted the interior black to make it invisible, and concealed it all behind a tinted screen. It’s deeply rewarding to see a customer so pleased by the realization of his own dream. As Larry writes,
I find myself accepting that it is a magic piece of glass. So I guess the illusion is complete, because I know what’s going on and it doesn’t matter. I have enjoyed it for a few days now and it still amazes me. It is like looking at something from the future.”
Photography by Kendall Reeves, Spectrum Studio of Photography and Design