THE REAL DEAL: Chapel Hill Architect Contributes Two Extremely Green, Thoroughly Modern Houses to 2019 Spring Green Home Tour

Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, is quick to credit her clients with allowing her to pursue her passions for environmental stewardship and modern architecture – passions that have once again secured spots for two of her projects on the 2019 Spring Green Home Tour April 27-29 and May 4-5 throughout Durham, Orange, and Chatham counties.

And again this year, Schechter’s houses will give participants a chance to tour the real deal: modern, ultra-energy-conserving, high-performance houses that rest lightly on the land and will produce all or almost all of the energy they need without depleting any natural resources.

“Because my clients are dedicated to sustainable design and construction,” Schechter said, “and because they’re such fans of modern design, they have been such an inspiration as they’ve allowed me to design houses for them that are Net Zero/Net Positive or very close to it. That, along with getting to design modern homes that fulfill my clients’ unique needs and dreams and enhance their lives — it’s an amazing feeling.”

Both of Schechter’s houses on this year’s tour are nestled in verdant settings deep in the forests of Orange County.

Modern Green Cabin

5909 Running Green Road, Chapel Hill

Modern CabinWhen “rustic” combines with “modern” and “green,” the result is the Gouchoe-Hanas cabin, a Net Zero Passive house Schechter designed for a couple moving to North Carolina from San Francisco with two grown children who will visit often.

Among the many features that will fulfill its Net Zero function, this modern cabin features a roof-mounted photovoltaic array and battery storage, radiant heated concrete slab floors on the main level, EuroStar Fenestration windows and doors, and deep sheltering roof overhangs plus suspended sun shades to screen out the high summer sun.

Schechter designed a variety of spaces inside the house to provide for different moods and types of gatherings. The lofty living/dining space on the main floor connects visually and socially to the upper bedrooms via a balcony overlook. Each guest room includes a private balcony. The kitchen is also connected to the main space but tucked away under the second floor. And in the kitchen, Schechter specified bright red tiles “to give warmth and joyful energy to the kitchen, making it pleasant for both cooking and gathering.”

The living/dining space, master bedroom, and office/study all have large, south-facing windows to welcome an abundance of natural light and to provide panoramic views of the natural setting.

“South light is greatly treasured by our firm,” Schechter noted. “We always aim to provide ample south light in our spaces.”

NewPhire Building is currently finishing work on this modern green cabin.

Mason-Grabell Residence – under construction

1505 Mill Valley Road, Chapel Hill

MillValleyRdAccording to the architect, the Mason-Grabell residence is “an extremely energy efficient house that will have a rooftop solar array to get us near Net Zero.” She designed it for a couple relocating from Florida to Chapel Hill. Among its many high-performance features are “my favorite Passive House-rated windows and doors from Eurostar Fenestration,” Schechter noted.

One of Schechter’s clients is a gourmet cook and both love to entertain, so the kitchen was extremely important. To honor their passions, Schechter designed a floorplan in which the kitchen is the central “heart” of the house. All other spaces flow from the heart.

The prominent and most important exterior feature is a generously proportioned screen porch that appears to be floating out into the site. A wrap-around deck connects the grilling area to the screen porch.

The Mason-Grabell house should be complete by early to mid-summer, but it is complete enough now for tour participants to enjoy.

About the Spring Green Home Tour:

Sponsored by the Home Builders Association of Durham, Orange, and Chatham counties in North Carolina the Spring Green Home Tour is a self-guided tour of houses located throughout the Triangle area. The tour allows the public to see advanced building practices and materials. For more information go to www.springgreenhometour.com.

About Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA:

Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, is a licensed, registered architect based in Chapel Hill, NC, who specializes in Modernist, energy-efficient buildings with a focus on Passive houses, Net Zero/Net Positive houses, and  Micropolis Houses®, the collection of tiny houses she designs She is a lifelong environmentalist and began practicing green design long before it became mainstream. She is also a lifelong animal advocate. She lives in Chapel Hill with her husband, Arnie, and an assortment of foster animals in the modern, sustainable house she designed for them. For more information: www.acsarchitect.com.

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