Project: Heirloom Farm Studio
Architects: Bushman Dreyfus Architects
General Contractor: Element Construction
Location: Virginia, United States
Project size: 600 ft2
Site size: 1500000 ft2
Completion date: 2021
Photo Credits: Virginia Hamrick Photography
This small structure, located in Bundoran Farm – a unique sustainable residential community on a working farm in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in central Virginia, is primarily used as an art studio, an exercise and a drum rehearsal space – a getaway from the owners’ busy city life.
With the arrival of Covid-19 in 2020 our clients were eager to leave their Manhattan home and spend more time on their rural property in Virginia. The wife is a three-dimensional artist working in varied media. The husband plays drums in his free time. With the realization that pandemic life was the new normal came the need for more living and making space.
Adding onto the existing one-bedroom 18th-century log cabin was not an option. Any new freestanding structure had to be located within buildable area limits defined by the architectural guidelines of Bundoran Farm. After studying the topography of the 33-acre lot and opportunities for distant mountain views to the north and the west, the structure was sited on the high point of the lot, tucked between a pasture, an apple orchard, the existing cottage, and a second homesite area where a new house would be built in the future. Not knowing exactly where that house might be located or what it would look like, the studio had to be both proximate and complimentary. One year later that new house is under construction and the studio is nicely nestled into the view from it. With a new primary residence underway the log cabin becomes a guest cottage and the studio is a dedicated quiet space located between the two.
The simple, minimal, prismatic form of the building distills our Scandinavian barn inspirations into an essential and timeless vernacular. The sculptural form of the building is emphasized by the use of the same cladding system on the roof and the exterior walls. As one approaches the studio, the dark geometry resolves into individual slats of wood and the structure changes quite a bit from distant to near. The color palette is kept to an absolute minimum using dark-stained poplar slats for both wall and roof. The wood is thermally-treated for permanence. The cladding system is sectional and designed to be removable. The vertical slats are attached to horizontal battens, aligned on all elevations, roof and entry door. Behind carefully detailed and rigorously spaced wood slats is a black UV-stable waterproofing membrane.
The interior is an unembellished working space painted white. It is equipped with adjustable ceiling track lighting and a walk-in art supply closet across the south wall. Large windows light the room from three sides and provide a 270-degree view of the surrounding pasture and mountains, with western exposures shaded by the adjacent mature oak trees. The south wall remains solid to afford privacy from the vehicular driveway and to protect the room from direct southern sun. Functionally it made sense to put the entry door in that wall because of the proximity to the cottage.
Key products used:
Facade cladding: thermally treated poplar, Cambia by NFP
Flooring: sealed concrete
Doors: Lifestyle series Slider, Pella
Windows: Contemporary series fixed windows, Pella
Roofing: thermally treated poplar, Cambia by NFP
Interior lighting: W Track System, WAC Lighting
Wafer LED surface mount fixtures, Maxim Lighting
Pitch exterior wall sconce, Tech Lighting