Halloween Curb Appeal

By Dan Gregory

A modern house for a family of vampires, as seen in the first Tw

[Editor's Note: This article is an update of and expansion on an earlier post for my previous blog, Eye On Design.]

Vampires aren’t my usual subject, but when they become interested in modern design, it’s time to look over their shoulders. The hugely successful film series, The Twilight Saga, is a case in point. My daughter took me to see the first Twilight film when it came out back in 2008 and I forgot about the plot as soon as the vampires’ home appeared on screen: it’s a dazzling modern sculpture in concrete, wood, and glass by the innovative Portland, Oregon firm 
Skylab Architecture. There it is at the top of this post in an alluring photograph (by Stephen Cridland, courtesy Skylab).

Clearly these vampires — their name is Cullen — have evolved. They must subscribe to Dwell! And they turn out to be a very nice family, too. Ironically the vividly foreshortened view gives the house a more “supernatural” look than it has in the film; nevertheless, all the glass and jutting cantilevers make it an unusually open and bright — not to say scene-stealing — design for folks who enjoy the dark and are somewhat reclusive. The house was later bought by an executive with Nike. I just wanted the movie to show a little more of it. So here are two other views from Skylab.

The kitchen shows how the island and sink counter draw your eye toward the view and the porch giving the space compelling indoor-outdoor character. Dense foliage outside the window becomes a seasonal curtain.

A screen made of finely scaled horizontal wood slats turns part of the porch into an elegant and private outdoor dining area. Walls and floor of wood continue the horizontal theme  and add a warm counterpoint to the cool abstraction of the design (photos courtesy Skylab Architecture).

The point I guess I am trying to make is not about haunted houses but about about houses that "haunt well,"

with, say, a little visual excitement as well as a sheltered spot for trick-or-treating goblins and other guests to wait while you open the front door, as shown here at the Skylab house.

Here are some other designs with welcoming entries, and naturally, they were all photographed at 

twilight! Modern ranch house Plan 888-17 by Nick Lee offers a generous front porch as well as a breezeway between main house and guest suite, with plenty of room for welcoming visitors, ghostly or not. Craftsman

bungalow Plan 930-19 by Sater Design turns the front porch into a true outdoor room with benches for

waiting in comfort. Craftsman Plan 461-24 by Brooks Ballard is simpler but just as effective, with glass in the front door, providing a hint of treats to come. And finally contemporary Plan 496-18 by Leon Meyer addresses

the street with a no-nonsense stoop that simply says "Welcome" below a balcony for watching the neighborhood ghouls arrive.

For a collection of unique and unusual plans -- whether in costume or not -- click here.

October 24, 2016