Gesturing at the wood-and-iron house he designed for his family three years ago, the Buenos Aires–based furniture designer and architect Alejandro Sticotti declares, "It was like putting in a UFO, like something from Mars." True, with its clean lines, open floor plan, and raw finishes it stands in stark contrast to its decidedly more traditional neighbors in this tranquil Buenos Aires suburb of Olivos—mostly hundred-year-old English Tudor-style houses with terra-cotta tile roofs and warrens of small, dark rooms. But unlike the derivative surrounding buildings, Sticotti’s house actually feels Argentinean, as if it blossomed out of its gardenlike plot, a genuine native species. It practically did. When Sticotti and his wife, Mercedes Hernaez, a graphic designer, began looking for a house in this neighborhood 20 minutes north of downtown Buenos Aires, they couldn’t imagine living in a typical residence’s cramped quarters. He was a devoted modernist, addicted to "natural materials, clean spaces, less is more" in both his furniture and building designs. And she had previously lived in an airy colonial-style apartment in the chic Palermo neighborhood. But one site did catch their eye: the 5,400-square-foot garden outside one of the houses they were considering. Exhilarated by the idea of finally designing their own home, and delighted by its location next to a tree-filled town plaza, Sticotti and Hernaez made an offer for the land and it was accepted.
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