“I want to build the garden from a rare and unique stone” this was the challenge that our client set us to in our first meeting. my response was to present a piece of an old wall from a village in China that was slated to be abandoned ahead of the construction of the Yangtze Dam project. I had recently returned from touring the area and I was interested in the concept of working with the local villages to see if we could salvage some of this beautiful limestone from small houses and garden walls, to reclaim into an Antique Limestone for paving and walls. We talked about the expense and difficulty in actually doing this and being an adventurous entrepreneur, he agreed to fund the start up costs so we could attempt to make this idea real. Over the course of 2 years we floated barges down the Yangtze River, bargaining with local farmers and villagers to buy any stone that they would abandon. This proved to be a boon for them as found money and a job working with us to reclaim and load the stone for transport to our stone shop downriver. To complement the beautiful patina of the reclaimed stone, we worked with small local quarries where they still practiced the same skills in hand finishing the local limestone, to make caps and architectural pieces. We sourced solid sandstone columns for the pool trellis that match the color and grain of the teak arbor, as well as finding a rare fossil stone from the Atlas mountains in Morroco which we used to carve the spa and fountains. Our stonemasons immediately got busy finding ways to reinvent the material into incredible garden walls and terraces, with beautiful random ashlar walls and herringbone paving, concentrating on fitting each stone with tight precision joints. I worked with Steven Suzman and Jean Schaffeld to develop the concept of “herringbone stone wall” and “Zipper Path” taken from images that I provided from my travels in Japan and China. The estate is a landmark once again.
Robert Paganini: Project Manager
Chen Ragen LLC: China Sourcing
|Suzman Design Associates||http://suzmandesign.com/portfolio/residential/traditional/locksley.php|
|Tucker & Marks Interior Design||http://www.tuckerandmarks.com/|
The secret garden steps cut from columnar basalt.
The spa is made from massive pieces of Nero Fossile, a rare black marble that is studded with amazing fossils. Quarried in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, It was an adventure in itself to work with the local quarrymen there to make these incredible pieces.
The columnar basalt was cut for pavers, which works well with the marble spa and antique limestone walls.
The beautiful color and texture pallet of the Antique Yangtze Limestone walls.
A close up of the Antique Yangtze Limestone that shows the patterns carved into the stone over hundreds of years. There is no substitute for the hand of man and time.
The garden descends down a steep site and required large walls with long staircases, all built from antique stone.
The beautiful wisteria arbor with teak, sandstone columns and antique granite herringbone paving.
We found a sandstone in China that was almost an exact match to some weathered teak that the owner planned on using for the Wisteria arbor, it has a wonderful grain in the stone that makes it seem almost like wood, a truly stunning effect!
The QuarryHouse masons came up with wonderful small details, such as the devotional niches and planting pockets shown here.
The stonework on the grand staircase and fountain is complemented by the incredible bronze railing and fountain bowl created by our good friend master metalsmith, Michael Bondi.
The Lily Pool made from Nero Fossile marble with radial cut antique granite pavers.
The zipper path and herringbone wall, details that QuarryHouse provided as design support to Suzman Designs in developing the garden. The zipper path is fashioned from images that we collected in Japan, and the herringbone wall is a style used throughout Asia. We often provide design guidance with design teams in creating unusual stone details.
A beautiful view across the limestone wall to the San Francisco bay.