When old design meets new, there’s often an element of surprise to the final result. For a residence in Raleigh’s Historic Cameron Park neighborhood, architect Katherine Hogan and designer Vinny Petrarca, the principals of Tonic Design, created an air of the unexpected that’s seamless and deferential, but also practical and beautiful, all at once. READ MORE
Blueplate PR client: pod architecture + design LLC
Scale model of Carrboro House by pod architecture + design
Eager to plant their roots more deeply into their new hometown, experiential graphics designer Youn Choi and award-winning architect Doug Pierson, AIA, partners in life and founding partners of pod architecture + design(pod a+d) in Carrboro, have designed a modern house for their family of four that they’re about to build on a site that poses a host of challenges.
“No one has purchased the lot for a long time because it’s so hard to build on,” said Pierson, referring to the 1.2-acre swatch he and Choi purchased within a 12-acre preserved wooded area. “It has severe limitations: a year-round 100-foot creek setback, an oddly shaped buildable area, a steep hillside, dense forest coverage, and it’s adjacent to a floodplain.”
Yet Pierson and Choi didn’t see those issues as limiting. They saw them as inspirational.
From their design studio in the historic train depot in downtown Carrboro, Pierson explained how the land informed the custom design of the future 2500-square-foot, three-bedroom, three-bath modern house that he and Choi will share with their two young children.
“We’ve chosen to honor the unique site by letting it suggest the form of the house,” he said. “So we’ve partially embedded it into the wooded hillside and opened it up to the natural meadow and creek at the lower elevations. We’ve used the strict construction limitations to establish a design that follows the usable land contours, reflects the climb in elevation by ‘hopping’ up to the higher elevation, then anchors itself back to the top. The form evolved wholly from the site limitations and our desire to maintain the meadow undisturbed.” He paused and smiled. “On a different site, it would be a different house. So we’re very happy that we found this particular site.”
Pierson, whose family hails from North Carolina, and Choi, a native of South Korea, are excited about reusing the Southern yellow pine trees that have to be felled to make room for the house. They’re having all of them milled locally then returned to the site to be repurposed as cabinetry and architectural woodwork.
According to the design, this modern, sustainable house will be a composition of sleek, rectilinear forms, at once soaring and grounded. Huge expanses of glass will frame views of the meadow, forest, and creek and allow natural light to fill the interior. The foundation and retaining walls will be polished concrete block. A terrace on the upper level will have glass overlook guardrails.
They haven’t decided on the exterior material yet. If the past is precedent, it will be corrugated metal. But Choi is still searching for a new cladding material that can be continuously wrapped around the house’s form and respond to the site and the climate.
Inside, their modern house will feature exposed structural steel, polished concrete floors over radiant heating, quartz countertops, and the repurposed southern yellow pine for custom cabinetry.
Committed to Local:
Pierson pointed out that he and Choi have hired green home builder Kevin Murphy of Newphire Building in Chapel Hill, and an all-local roster of consultants and suppliers including: structural engineer Rob Munach of Excel Engineering in Carrboro; Fitch Lumber & Hardware in Carrboro; Stonehenge Masonry and Adams/Oldcastle Products, both in Youngsville; Metal Sales Manufacturing Corp. in Mocksville; and radiant flooring expert Mike Torville of Carrboro.
The Choi-Pierson house should be completed by August of 2019.
At pod a+d, we believe in the integration of architecture and all aspects of design to connect buildings + environment + identity. That’s why pod a+d is a hybrid firm, offering all architectural services, environmental design, experiential graphics, and wayfinding design. Exterior and interior architecture; furnishings and finishes; financial feasibility and scheduling; engineering and construction; and environmental graphics – considered simultaneously, these disciplines inform our hybrid/integrated approach to architecture. For more information: www.podand.com.
The project involved designing a modern, 1500-square-foot addition for a two-story, red brick, Georgian Revival-style house built in 1916 in a historic inner-city neighborhood with narrow lots and minimal set-backs between houses.
The addition would become the primary hub of activity for a growing family and an ideal space for entertaining. Programmatically, it would include an open kitchen, dining, living area and a spacious master bedroom suite.
To uphold the general scale of this neighborhood and the manner in which the existing house has addressed the street for over 100 years, the addition’s mass is held within the outer planes of the old house, tucked against its rear elevation.
And unlike other proposals the owners had seen, the plan divided the public and private spaces between two stories rather than letting the new construction consume the majority of the property. As a result, the architects retained a generous backyard for outdoor play space. READ MORE
MASON-GRABELL MODERNISM (All renderings by Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA)
May 1, 2018 (Chapel Hill, NC) — A family of transplants from hurricane-prone Florida can’t wait for construction to begin this summer on their spacious, modern house perched on a hillside in Orange County. Cheryl and Ken Serdar are showing off their new, modern, Net Zero, Micropolis® house in Hillsborough, NC, during the 2018 Green Home Tour. And a husband and wife in Chatham County are anxious to “break free” of the “soul-deadening” confines of a cookie-cutter residential development, so they’re counting the days until they can move into their new, modern, Net Zero house also nearing completion in Chatham County.
Construction is scheduled to begin this summer on the spacious Mason-Grabell house. The family grew tired of fighting hurricanes down in Florida so they relocated to Chapel Hill, NC, where hurricanes are extremely rare.
Rising from a hillside with large expanses of glass on all sides, the Mason-Grabel house features flat, cascading roofs that crown specific interior spaces. Designed to touch the ground lightly and protect the site’s natural hydrology, “Mason-Grabell Modernism” will be one of very few modernist houses in its neighborhood.
Net Zero on Tour
“HAPPY FAMILY” (photo by Iman Woods)
Schechter always stresses that a smaller house allows homeowners to invest their money in elements other than square footage. In the Serdars’ house (above), that other element is a luxurious, spa-like bathroom with a curb-less walk-in shower for two, a custom cast-concrete trough sink, and a vanity area where top-quality tile rises up the high walls to the ceiling.
Otherwise, the Serdars’ relatively small house is deceptive. It appears to be a simple modern house with large, honey-hued wood soffits adding warmth and textural contrast to the precast custom concrete exterior walls. But this is a Net Zero passive house. And the design skills, technological and materials knowledge, and attention to details necessary to create such a high-performance house are anything but “simple.”
*Schechter welcomes the challenge, however, as she continues to add to her growing portfolio of certified Net Zero and Net Positive, Passive residential designs with what she’s dubbed the “Happy Family” house.
“They consider themselves ‘escapees’ from a rigid, traditional development to a lot in the woods,” Schechter said, referring to her clients who are moving out of a traditional development and into this secluded, Net Zero house (above) in the forest in Chatham County. (She noted that “breaking free” and “soul-deadening” are her clients’ words.)
Besides the huge emphasis on privacy, the couple told their architect that they wanted a “modern but simple, unpretentious, age-in-place design.” And they had one specific request. “A sheltered place to sit outside and watch the rain,” Schechter said as she pointed out the house’s deeply cantilevered roof.
Concurrently, Arielle Schechter is working through the schematic design phase for a house for two engineers in Harnett County. She’s also fine-tuning three houses in design development and shepherding two other houses through the construction documentation phase.
For more information on Arielle Condoret Schechter and to see additional examples of her built and on-the-boards work, visit www.acsarchitect.com.
About Arielle Condoret Schechter:
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, NET ZERO/NET POSITIVE houses, as well as her new tiny house plans, the Micropolis® Houses. She is a lifelong environmentalist and began practicing green design long before it became mainstream. She is also a lifelong animal advocate who lives in Chapel Hill with her husband, Arnie, and an assortment of foster animals in the modern, sustainable house she designed for all of them.
Among the tightly packed lots in Venice, California, the Venice House is a three-story, energy-efficient residence topped off with a unique, sloping trapezoidal roof. The beach house was designed by pod architecture + design (pod a+d), who also happen to be the owners, and it spans 1390-square-feet, which proved challenging as they had to build three bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths on a compact, 700-square-foot lot. They managed to accomplish that and then some within the white metal and wood clad abode. READ MORE…
“Piedmont Retreat,” a modern, single-family home clad in Cor-Ton® steel, earned for Tonic Design of Raleigh, NC, one of only three Honor awards — and the only residential design among the three — in the 2018 AIA Triangle Design Awards. The awards were presented March 22 during a gala event at the Contemporary Art Museum in downtown Raleigh.
Partners in life and practice, Katherine Hogan, AIA, and Vincent Petrarca have now received 10 AIA Triangle Design Awards for the practice. This is their third honor award.
According to the partners, the clients wanted their new house to have a modest public presence and a direct connection to their property’s wooded landscape within its cul-de-sac neighborhood on the edge of Durham within Duke Forest. They also wanted a private, comfortable, low-maintenance house that would blur the boundaries between indoor and outdoor spaces.
Minimal in form and materials, Piedmont Retreat’s steel exterior forms a protective barrier to the street and presents a humble profile to the neighborhood. This rugged, weathering skin will eventually find its final patina and blend into the landscape.
In contrast, the living spaces open to an array of shifting perspectival views within and throughout the house.
Alex Anmahian, AIA, founding partner of the internationally acclaimed firm AW in Cambridge, MA, served as chair of the all-Boston jury. Anmahian, who teaches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University GSD, announced the winners, noting that the jury admired Tonic Design’s “consistency of message” throughout the submission and the “restrained palette of materials and textures,” among other attributes.
“We’re especially honored to have our work recognized by this year’s jury,” Hogan said, “all of whom are highly respected, practicing professors of architecture.”
Seven design awards were presented this year: three Honor and four Merit.
Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, of Chapel Hill, NC, has been voted by Houzz.com as a winner of a Best of Houzz 2018 award, marking the third consecutive year she has received this award from the popular worldwide online community.
From among more than one million active home building, remodeling, and design industry professionals associated with Houzz, Schechter won in the Client Satisfaction category again because “your portfolio includes some of the most consistent reviews on Houzz in 2017,” the Houzz team informed her.
Expressing her gratitude for her clients taking the time to post so many positive reviews on Houzz.com, Schechter explained her thoughts on client services.
“While we’re working together, my clients and I form a type of family,” she said. “I care about them and their worries are my worries. Also, having built my own house, I empathize strongly with their concerns. It’s the most expensive thing they’ll ever own and I am very respectful of that.”
Founded in 2009 in Palo Alto, CA, the Houzz platform features articles, photographs, product recommendations, and a user forum along with professional profiles. The Best of Houzz awards are presented annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service/Client Satisfaction, and Photography. A “Best of Houzz 2018” badge appears on a winner’s Houzz profile to help homeowners identify popular and top-rated professionals in every metro area. For more information, go to www.houzz.com.
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 houses, and her new tiny house plans, the Micropolis Houses®. She is a lifelong environmentalist and began practicing green design long before it became mainstream. She is also a lifelong animal advocate who 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.
Hi there, welcome! Please, make yourself at home. This is the first post in the blog, and also a very special one.
This is the residence of Arielle Condoret Schechter, architect and designer, a space with great character but serene, filled with natural light and good decisions. With a mid-century modern inclination and a zen outdoor inspiration, she decided to make her home as comfortable as possible, e.g., adding wheels to chairs and tables, allowing the sunlight to find her path in between sofas and shelves and fill every possible inch.
Driven by sustainability, the architect installed solar panels on the roof -approaching almost net zero-, and also built a solar hot water heater and a large compost tiller. Condoret believes that making that kind of decisions, conserving energy, preserving natural resources and reducing costs, ‘That’s the kind of environment that just makes you feel good about life…” READ MORE…
Corten steel helps residence blend into surroundings seamlessly
By Marcy Marro,Editor
Located in a wooded cul-de-sac neighborhood in Durham, N.C., this single-family residence, nicknamed Piedmont Retreat, is wrapped in vertical Corten steel panels facing the street, and vast expanses of floor-to-ceiling glass and cantilevered windows in the back that overlook the surrounding forest.
The owners reached out to Raleigh, N.C.-based Tonic Design and Tonic Construction to design and build the residence. “It’s a corner lot,” says Vincent Petrarca, co-owner, designer and contractor at Tonic Design, “so the house really had to respond to the two streets. And for us, trying to create a place that’s calm and a getaway, the idea of even a few streetlights at night on the corner, the house really had to turn its back on the street. So the house created this hard shell to that side of the property, and then it really opens up, like a geode, looking down the Piedmont ravine into the mature forest.” READ MORE…
December 11, 2017 (Chapel Hill, NC) — Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, Architect, a full-service architecture firm based in Chapel Hill, NC, has announced three new residential projects, each with remarkably different aspirations.
Big House for a Big Family: Arielle Schechter, principal and founder, describes one of her newest clients as a “big, loving, blended family with kids and more kids on the way.” The family needs a generously sized modern house “for the rest of their lives,” she said, with plenty of space for the family as it is today and as it will be in the future as it expands with spouses and grandchildren.
One response will be a huge playroom to allow for ping pong, pool, and foosball “at any hour of the day or night.” The playroom will connect directly to the house and to the outdoors, allowing access to a future swimming pool. “This house is all about togetherness and family fun,” Schechter noted.
Privacy for Two: A husband and wife anxious to escape what they call a “soul-deadening” cookie-cutter residential development, have hired Schechter to plan and design a very private new home that will let them “just disappear into the woods,” she said. The “woods” she refers to are in Chatham County.
According to the architect, they are a modest couple and want a modern but simple, unpretentious, age-in-place design that let them live out their lives together in peace, away from the restrictions of a housing development.
One of Schechter’s inspirations was her clients’ request for “a sheltered place to sit outside and watch the rain.” In response, she has designed a deeply cantilevered roof where they can sit outside and enjoy the rain without getting wet.
A Doctor in the House: Schechter’s third new project is a modern residence for a doctor who teaches and practices at Duke University, his wife, and their son. The family moved to Durham from New York City. Their primary objective is a family home for three that maintains the parents’ connection to their young son.
One design decision directly related to that concept: a second-floor bridge that “floats” over an open, double-height living room. The bridge connects the master suite to their son’s suite, both of which are on the second floor. The lower level will feature the public spaces – living, dining, kitchen areas — and guest rooms that can double as an office or den.
For more information on Arielle Schechter and to see her built work as well as other “On The Boards” projects, visit www.acsarchitect.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 houses, and her new tiny house plans, the Micropolis Houses™. She is a lifelong environmentalist and began practicing green design long before it became mainstream. She is also a lifelong animal advocate who 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.