Description by Samsel Architects: This modern passive solar residence sits on five acres of steep mountain land with great views looking down the Beaverdam Valley. The house is on a south-facing slope that allowed the owners to build the energy efficient, passive solar residence they had been dreaming of.
The very steep slope required significant retaining walls, so we developed a narrow floor plan that worked parallel to the topography. This narrow layout also allowed for daylight to enter on multiple sides of most rooms. The upper level has the best valley and mountain ridge views so the main living spaces and master bedroom are organized on the second floor, above a carport, guest bedrooms and an office. Efficient space planning reduced any wasted square footage and packed a lot of functionality into this 2,100 square foot house. Outdoor spaces to the north and south flank the main living space, which visually and physically connect the living area to the outdoors.
Our clients were looking for decidedly modern architecture with a low maintenance exterior and a clean-lined and comfortable interior. We developed a light and neutral interior palette that provides a simple backdrop to highlight an extensive family art collection and eclectic mix of antique and modern furniture. The cantilevered maple shelving is a design feature that displays our client’s art and craft collection and greets visitors as they arrive at the top of the central stair.
A top design priority for the home was to minimize energy use as much as possible while using cost effective and conventional building techniques. Polished concrete slabs are used to provide the proper thermal mass for passive solar energy, and roof overhangs were calculated for the correct year-round sun exposure. An efficient thermal envelope, ERV, and mechanical system also minimize energy use and allowed the house to achieve a HERS rating of 50 (50% more efficient than a standard new home). The house is prewired for a future rooftop mounted PV solar system. Standing Stone Builders did an excellent job executing the construction of this energy efficient modern house design.