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Sensational minimalist home set in the hills of Rio de Janeiro

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Set high in the hills of the São Conrado neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro is this spectacular home designed by Studio Arthur Casas, with views of the ocean and Pedra da Gávea, a 2,769-foot granite dome that is a popular spot for paragliding. This private residence is that of Brazilian television show host Alex Lerner, who interviews celebrities for his show, “Behind the Fame”. The homeowner had several requests for the architect, he wanted a big pool since he swims several times a week. He wished to live the same way he did while vacationing in St. Barts when he as at home. Cleanliness was equally important, he wanted a low maintenance home. Mr. Lerner was so particular on the details, he actually left his television job in 2011 so that he could keep on eye on the construction.

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The immaculate home is comprised of 5,200 square feet of living space, which cost approximately $213 a square foot to build. It feels light and airy despite all that stone that was used in the the design, due in part to the floor-to-ceiling sliding glass panels used in front and back. The floors and much of the millwork are cumaru, a hardwood that Mr. Casas said “is extremely tough and great for outdoor use.”

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On the ground floor are apartments for the gardener and the maid, as well as two guest rooms; the master suite is on the third floor. Visitors enter on the second level, which opens onto the pool, with a view of the ocean beyond. (Mr. Casas cleverly raised the foundation of the house, so the neighbor’s roof below is obscured.) The poolside chaises, like most of the furniture in the home, are white, with covers that can be removed and washed, or scrubbed clean, to Mr. Lerner’s delight.

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The Ibiza chaises from Restoration Hardware ($1,095 each) have washable covers, which pleases Mr. Lerner. “I like things very, very clean,” he said.

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Mr. Lerner insisted that the material used to build his house be the same peach-beige-gray stone he had seen years before at the Western Wall, in Jerusalem.

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A nearly 12-foot-tall door beside the hot tub leads directly into the master suite.

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The kitchen and dining area on the second floor opens onto the pool.

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The central stair adds a vertical element to the horizontal house. On one side it is open; on the other, a recessed slot in the wall holds a handrail.

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Steps up from the third-floor landing, where Mr. Lerner has his home office, is the master bedroom. On the wall is a movable artwork by Sérgio Machado: a procession of metal insects, secured with adhesive.

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In the master bedroom, a 19th-century French chest sits beside the bed. The linens are from Restoration Hardware, as is the bench at the foot of the bed. The chair is by Aristeu Pires, a São Paulo designer.

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A massive stone wall on the street shields the home’s occupant from the public; the front door opens onto the second-floor living area.

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On the lower level are the guest rooms and the maid and gardener’s apartments. Upstairs is the living area, and above that, the master suite.

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Sliding doors throughout the house offer the option of privacy as well as a sense of openness.

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Arthur Casas, the architect, raised the foundation so the house below is hidden from view. At night, Mr. Lerner can go skinny dipping in relative seclusion. “I wanted to find a place for privacy,” he said. “I live alone, and here I can be naked.”

Photos: © Fernando Guerra / FG+SG and NY Times

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