Steven Harris is a Manhattan architect who owns his own firm called Steven Harris Associates and is a professor at Yale. He’s known for his minimalist yet sophisticated style and has a passion for creating the perfect solution for each of his clients. His firm achieves this by creating a collaborative relationship with each client that involves communication throughout the life of the project. This allows the client to be part of the design process from beginning to end, ensuring they get a custom-tailored outcome.
In addition to his Steven Harris architects firm, he works closely with (and shares office space with!) his husband, Lucien Rees Roberts, who owns the interiors and landscape firm Rees Roberts + Partners. Together they are a powerhouse team who has completed projects all over the globe.
Harris has a really cool portfolio that spans form rural to commercial to landscapes. Here’s a look at one of the projects he did with Rees Roberts that is absolutely stunning.
A Croatian Compound
Harris and Rees Roberts own a compound on a small island along Croatia’s Dalmatian coast. After spending several years restoring it, it’s now the place they most feel at “home”.
Located on a promontory with stunning views of the Dalmatian coast and Adriatic Sea, the compound includes 4 structures and a pair of ruined stone houses, which they rebuilt. On top of that they also own a 15th-century tower that Harris jokes he bought for Rees Roberts’ birthday.
A Medieval Tower
Although they loved the idea of the tower it was somewhat of a challenge. Harris told Architectural Digest “ the problem was knowing what to do with it. Unlike the houses, which were beautiful but unimportant, the tower was a listed historic monument.”
The tower hosts 5 floors and was originally built as a fortress to ward off enemies throughout centuries. Their goal when renovating it was to keep as many original surfaces as possible while still making it livable. Additionally, they kept things simple when decorating to play against the medieval architecture.
Post renovation the tower included:
- First floor – a vaulted stone kitchen in what was formally the cistern, which provided water to the fortress during attack.
- Second floor – a guest room and bath.
- Third floor – a master suite.
- Fourth floor – a beautiful dining room
- Fifth floor – a comfortable and inviting lounge and lookout space with plenty of windows to take advantage of the gorgeous views.
- Roof of Italian terra cotta.
- Furniture and art that Rees Roberts collected throughout his lifetime, including sentimental pieces such as a painting done by his father and mother.
It’s hard to imagine home being a 15th century fortress, but their restoration did a great job of it! Harris said of the finished product, “It doesn’t feel like a strict historic restoration. It feels warm, comfortable, and antique, but not precious.”