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Friday, February 10, 2012

Neutra's Rice House

The home designed for Walter and Inger Rice by Richard Neutra sits on the James River in Richmond, Virginia. Rice, a Reynolds Metal Company executive and former ambassador to Australia, and his wife Inger commissioned Neutra to build the house in the mid-60s. It was donated to the Science Museum of Virginia Foundation in 1966, though the Rices retained rights to live there for the rest of their lives. The home was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.

Walter Rice died in 1998, and Inger Rice remained in the house until 2007, when she moved into a retirement home. After she moved,  the home was vacant for three years and fell into some disrepair. For several years the Foundation worked with architects on plans for renovation, which started in the fall of 2011 and were recently completed.

One spectacular example of Neutra's treatment of spatial elements is a marble wall that is inside and outside the house and can be seen through a perpendicular glass wall. Other interesting features of the original construction were a deck with a 4-foot water guard on its outer edge and a Japanese sunken seating area.

The home was given a new roof, cork floors, new interior paint an a new second-story deck with railing, which was required by today's building codes. 

From timesdispatch.com, nbc12.com and moderncapitaldc.com

Pre-renovation: Exterior
moderncapitaldc.com (photo by Michael Shapiro)
Post-renovation: Exterior
nbc12.com
Post-renovation: Exterior
times-dispatch.com
Pre-renovation: Deck with water barrier
moderncapitaldc.com (photo by Michael Shapiro)
Post-renovation: New deck with railing
times-dispatch.com
Pre-renovation: Japanese seating area
moderncapitaldc.com (photo by Michael Shapiro)
Post-renovation: Japanese seating area
times-dispatch.com
Pre-renovation: Second floor
moderncapitaldc.com (photo by Michael Shapiro)
Post-renovation: Second floor
times-dispatch.com
Post-renovation: Fireplace
nbc12.com
Post-renovation: Staircase
nbc12.com

17 comments:

  1. With the exception of the carpet, wow!

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    1. Yep, that carpet was pretty sad. I'm glad they tore that out and replaced it with cork when the renovation was done.

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  2. Hi Dana,
    Thanks for sharing this! I love cork flooring and plan on using it in the kitchen and family room. Gorgeous stuff!
    Brandy

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    1. Brandy, that will be gorgeous. I can't wait to see pictures when you're done.

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  3. Not enough of these in Richmond. Nice post! Reminds me of the Miller house conversation pit, I mean Japanese sitting area.

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    1. Funny how just calling it a Japanese sitting area gives it an immediate update from "conversation pit." LOL

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  4. Gorgeous house! I'm not a big fan of the new flooring though. Much better than the carpet, but the mottled look isn't very appealing to me.

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    1. I'm going to agree with you about the flooring. I think I would have preferred a more solid color. I've seen beautiful cork, but this isn't my favorite pattern. This type makes me think of particle board.

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  5. Wonderful post Dana, the more I see of Neutra's Architecture the more impressed I become. It usually strikes me as a very clean look that really showcases the materials. Lynne

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    1. Thanks, Lynne. The clean, geometric lines of his designs, combined with the airy feel from all the glass, is what I love most.

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  6. beautiful home and wonderful write up Dana..i read through every line, and looked at each picture for more than a minute...its marvelous..no wonder they dint want to give up the house..:)

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    1. I'm so glad the wife got to live there for so long. I'm sure it was hard for her to say goodbye to it. I can't imagine leaving a house like that.

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  7. I have been looking at homes with conversation pits of late...for my post...something very cool about that architectural feature..makes a home seem cozier

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    1. They were definitely all the rage at one time, and when you think about it, they make a perfect sense if you entertain large groups of people and need lots of seating.

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  8. Beautiful house.
    Although I must say, I like the pre-renovation deck with water barrier much better than the more wood... although it does need some kind of railing.

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  9. Replies
    1. I liked the original deck better too. I suppose there is a downside to our preoccupation (bordering on obsession, I sometimes think) with safety and health issues these days.

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