Calling the site for this project “one of the tightest little corners I’ve ever had to make something fit,” Chapel Hill architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, has designed a modern, sustainable home on a mountainside in Swannanoa, NC, a tiny township between Asheville and Black Mountain, NC.
Designed for P.J. Miller, a musician, and artist Katie McWeeney, the two-story, modern, thoroughly “green” house will hug the flat part of the couple’s cliff-side property and include three bedrooms, two baths, an open kitchen/dining/living core, two studios/workspaces, two carports, and abundant decking for outdoor living and connectivity between the indoors and outdoors.
Chief among Schechter’s inspirations for this design was the couple’s lament over never having enough kitchen, workspace, or studio space in previous homes. “We’re trying to remedy that in this house,” she said, accepting the challenge despite the restrictive size of the property’s buildable area.
Actually, the site’s verticality helped her solve the studio/workspace problem. She’s tucked two studios beneath the living spaces, along with carports/loading zones on each end. The loading zones will create sightlines and open-air spaces within the entire volume, she pointed out, “and create the sort of positive-negative composition I like.”
Along with art and music, Miller and McSweeney enjoy cooking, baking, and hosting cooking classes. To enhance their passion, the Schechter-designed kitchen will provide a profusion of natural lighting along with an open, professionally planned interior.
Will the Miller-McWeeney home contribute to Schechter’s ever-expanding portfolio of net-zero residential designs?
“Yes, of course,” she said emphatically. “Our goal for all our houses is to be net-zero, net-positive or at the very least, net-zero-ready.” The latter means that the completed house will be wired and plumbed for solar panels to be installed in the future. “That, plus rooftop water collection for gardening should make this a very sustainable house for this great couple to enjoy.”
For more information on the architect and her work, visit acsarchitect.com.