Japanese-Style Archbold House on Kitchen Tour
The Japanese-style home of Ronald and Barbara Archbold at National Golf Club appears to have floated into place in a setting of appropriate greenery and lava rock, achieving the effect so desired by its owners.
This charming home will be one of the featured homes of the 15th annual "Kitchens and Moore" house tour on Thursday, September 11.
Sponsored by the Moore County Extension and Community Association, Inc., the tour benefits the Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina and local youth programs.
Other owners to share special homes on the tour are: Steve and Nan Moore, Pinewild; Joyce White, Village of Pinehurst; J.J. and Nancy Jackson, Fairwoods on Seven; Don Thompson, Southern Pines; and James and Cecelia Obi, Pinewild.
Ronald and Barbara Archbold, who are originally from Indiana and Ohio, respectively, and who have spent most of their professional careers with IBM, were located in Connecticut prior to taking assignment to Japan. They spent three years --1989-1991 -- in Tokyo. Ron retired sometime later after 30 years in the financial area while Barbara marks her 32nd year with the company, currently in consulting.
Much influenced by their Japanese sojourn, they immersed themselves in the customs, even sleeping on futons on the floor whenever they traveled. Barbara absorbed the culture, studying the language and learning Ikebana, the art of Japanese flower arranging.
They found special items of furniture, pottery and other treasures to bring home with them, always assured that each would have a special place in their Connecticut home.
Meantime, having spent many vacations in Pinehurst, they purchased, sight unseen, their present lot on which to build a retirement home. Happily, it proved to be ideal, and when Ron was moved to Raleigh, their plans began to take the shape of a Japanese house. Believing that "beauty is achieved through simplicity," they sought out Pinehurst architects, Stagaard and Chao who had designed the clubhouse at National Golf Club and other buildings the couple liked. Ron presented sketches of his ideas to Alan Stagaard, and they found common ground.
In 1994, they became residents of this Japanese home with its many compatible American features, including spaces for all the Japanese pieces they had first brought home to Connecticut. In addition, they found a landscaper, trained in Japan, who agreed to do the authentic Japanese gardening and make annual trips from Connecticut to care for and update it.
The grounds include three gardens. The largest, located in the center of the house, atrium style, is home to eight Koi, 24-inch members of the Japanese carp family, who live in a naturalized pond with a waterfall. The area surrounding the pond has been carefully planted with a Japanese maple, a plum tree, grasses and iris. A second, small garden by the side of the teahouse has a fountain; and the third, a Zen garden near the study is for meditation. Fencing around the teahouse is of Philippine bamboo, hand-tied with coconut jute.
Marking the front of the house are several large, black lava rocks, redbuds, cherry trees, dogwoods and azaleas.
"Our joy in the house begins in March with the blooming of the plum followed in sequence by the other trees, shrubs and finally, the glory of the iris, in myriad shades of lavender," says Ron.
The welcoming double teak door is flanked by rain chains, decorative downspouts composed of a series of upturned cups, fascinating to see when it rains. The black slate foyer is intended to be an extension of the outside. Throughout the house continuous walls of windows bring the outside inside. A tall, standing statue, Kannon Bosatsu, called Harmony by the Archbolds, welcomes guests from two steps above the entry level. A large globular light fixture of rice paper seems to float in space.
The house embraces an openness by the use of space, window walls and light woods -- maple flooring, bass and pine trims. Soft earth tones used in walls and a minimal amount of furniture are designed to bring nature inside. There are no window treatments, providing for a maximum of light. Instead of doors, shoji screens are used for privacy as window covers and room dividers. They are 3 x 6 feet and roll on grooves in the floor and ceiling. In Japan, the screens are made of rice paper and require changing every six months. These are more durable Mylar.
The Kal-Wall skylight ceiling of the great room is intended to represent the look of the shoji screen but is of commercial strength, heavily insulated to withstand the weather. It fills the room with light by day and adds a warm glow at night.
At one end of the great room, the massive fireplace wall is of stacked North Carolina stone. At the other end, above the TV screen, is placed one of the large round wall openings to allow a peek into the kitchen.
A gold silk kimono displayed near the fireplace has the Omori family seal and was a special gift to Barbara, noting her interest in Japanese culture and her kindness to the donor's daughter. Other colorful items include a safe chest with hand-carved statues from Bali, Japanese pottery from different regions and a custom-made teak entertainment center that Ron designed.
The kitchen is American, professes Ron, the cook in the family, who designed it to suit his needs. The handsome custom teak cabinets encircle a large area with two islands, granite counter tops, a counter top range with special hood and every desirable convenience. The noren curtain, with a pattern of fish, hung above the kitchen windows, is typical of one that might be displayed as a banner outside a restaurant.
A small step tansu of elm root from Korea fills one corner of a kitchen seating area. The tansu is a group of different-sized chests that may be used separately or stacked in various ways. They are sometimes used as stair steps in a Japanese home. Gracing a built-in bookcase is a Xian warrior, better known as one of the famous Chinese terra cotta warriors. Serving as a dry bar are the two parts of an antique tansu which may have held chickens at one time. The top has been mounted just below the ceiling.
A door from the kitchen gives access to the teahouse, which serves as a screened area for entertaining. The traditional teahouse would have a small door to enter on one's knees for a tea ceremony. American tradition wins out here with a standard door.
The dining room has a breathtaking view of the gardens from each end. On one sidewall is a large painting by Brian Williams, a Peruvian artist who lived most of his life in Japan. The other wall features a Tokonoma or sacred area in which the owners have chosen to display one of four-seasons depiction of bamboo by a Chinese artist. The dining table is rosewood, set with place mats created from a silk obi or kimono sash and has a very simple ikebana style centerpiece arranged by Barbara.
The guest room in a soft gray tint with matching gray carpeting has an adjoining bath with a gray and white wallpaper pattern using characters of the Japanese language. It was made especially for the American market but its meaning is a mystery. A picture in the master bath is one chapter from a Burmese bible. Most of the art in the house is by contemporary Japanese artists such as Wako, Ryohei and Karhu. This is the only carpeted room in the house. Rugs used elsewhere are from Iran, China and India.
The master bedroom suite allows space for Ron's office. At one end of the room are the TV, fireplace and two European-styled lounge chairs. An adjoining bath with an oval tub and separate vanities is done in a soft biscuit shade. A walk-in closet is the size of a small room. The hot tub or Rotembero just outside is accessible from this room and the guest room. Barbara's study may be closed by four shoji screens for privacy when the sofa bed is used for extra guests.
Lynne Frazier and Cynthia Buttner will serve as hostess chairmen at this home on the day of the tour. Serving one of his favorite recipes in the kitchen will be Mike Botting, executive chef at National Golf Club. Carolyn Register, chairman of the event, has announced that tickets, recipes and brochures with directions will be available for $20 the day of the tour at The Village Chapel Hall and at each house.
Tickets in advance for $15 are currently on sale at the following places: Phoenix Fashions, Seven Lakes, at 673-5998; The Faded Rose, Pinehurst, at 215-0505; Daphne's Hallmark, Southern Pines, at 692-7333; Gap Creek Candle Company, Southern Pines, at 695-0029; and the Cooperative Extension Service, Carthage, at (910) 947-3188.
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