Project: The Lookout Retreat
Architecture: Altura Architects
Builder: R-Squared Construction
Interior Designer: Alchemy Design Studio
Landscape Architect: Kerns Land Planning & Design
Structural Engineer: Innovative Structural Engineering
Location: Buncombe County, North Carolina, United States
Square Footage: 3700
Photo Credits: Keith Isaacs
Text by Altura Architects
Discreetly tucked among the trees on a mountainside perch near Asheville, this modern treehouse-like hideaway exists to serve as a family home for the generations. The guiding design principle was to create a house that feels hidden and private while still providing a strong connection between the inside and out. Its low profile shields the interior from the approach, while the L-shaped layout extends out and opens up to wooded views of distant mountains. With a combination of open living spaces and separated bedrooms on both levels, this home has the ability to feel comfortable no matter if it’s accommodating just the owners or a full house.
The Lookout Retreat is a balancing act between open and private. The home affords stunning views and plenty of spaces to enjoy nature, but was designed to minimize visual impact on neighbors. Upon approach, the front of this house is unassuming and concealed. The low profile roof and dark colors help the home blend into the mountainside and shield itself from view. The back of the house generously opens over the steep wooded site culminating in a soaring ledge that floats in the tree canopy.
A thin, delicate roof with extended cantilevered eaves provides an important function for stormwater management. In this Western North Carolina highland cove, managing rainfall is imperative on a steep mountain slope. All rainwater that hits an impervious surface is controlled through stormwater management structures incorporated throughout the landscaping and paved surfaces of the site. The intentional roof form diverts the majority of rainwater to a primary basin which features several large boulders and native plants to minimize the impact of the falling water on the landscape.
At the other end of the main level is the owner’s suite that can easily be closed off to the rest of the home. A corner window over the bathtub provides a relaxing scene for a soak. The lower level holds two sizable guest rooms and a bunk room all centered around a main media room. The lower level provides plenty of sleeping spaces for extended family, as well as a secondary hang out spot for watching TV or playing games.