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July 11, 2014


Street View
It is certainly about time we show you the building's appearance.

(Click the images to enlarge.)
We've been holding off on doing this for two reasons:
- We have been refining some of the exterior finish color choices (and probably will continue right up until we have to commit).
- We wanted to produce acceptable renderings for you.

View from Garage across the Garden Courtyard

The planned landscaping and hardscape is not represented.
Some brief design commentary:

It is important to us that our house respects the context of the neighborhood, and does not stand out as an unwelcome peculiarity.  Gable roofs, front porches, and a street-facing orientation are prevailing characteristics of the local homes.

It was also important, however, to design a solidly modern house for ourselves.

We believe these two goals can coexist happily.

Similarly, it is very important to us to build a high-performance, energy efficient house.
Also important to us is having a house with generous windows and a strong connection to the outdoors.

Often, these concepts oppose one another : The most efficient envelope has little or no windows (like an ice chest).  Large windows are less-insulated parts of your building that  also allow significant solar heat into your home.

We struck a careful balance.

Largely southern orientation of the windows and carefully sized roof overhangs and canopies allow our windows to be well-shaded in the hot summer months, and invite the light and solar heat gain inside during the winter months when it is desired.

Gray skies for half the year can be oppressive unless you let in as much natural light as possible, and enjoy the views of the moody skies. 

We believe that the best buildings respond to, and are informed by, their environment.   Living in the Pacific Northwest, where rain is an everpresent fact of life for much of the year, we found it hard to reconcile a home without roof overhangs that acknowledge this reality.

Crisp modern homes in other parts of the country rarely have them, and the super-clean geometric lines are very appealing aesthetically.  It can be hard to resist as a designer.

But roof overhangs protect the walls below (especially important in wood-clad construction), keep water away from the foundation, and provide shelter as we move around the building.

(Of course not every roof built in the PNW *must* be overhanging - there are always many considerations at play - but that would arguably be a regionalist's starting point.)

The overhangs and canopies perform double-duty by providing covered patios, walkways, and decks tuned to respond to both the rain and sun of our locale.

The large canopy over the carport and front entry provides a green roof for beauty and stormwater benefits.

Metal roofing on the other canopies reflects light without most of the heat into the 2nd floor windows.

The upper roof is angled conveniently for mounting the solar panels.

A very extended gable overhang provides partial cover to the 2nd floor deck space, allowing it to be used rain or shine. 

SE Aerial View

Other aspects of the design will be addressed in following posts, or can be discussed in the comments.


  1. I can imagine y'all thinking: OK, south facing windows on the second floor. Full height like the first floor would be nice, but more bedroom privacy is primary. A translucent lower panel? Nah, not worth the cost. But maybe on the hallway portion? Nah, let's keep the datum clean and pull it all the way around the upper level and save on R-value too. The roof can also overhang less - oh wait, let's size the PV panels to make sure two rows will fit first, yeah that works, OK cool.

    1. Probably need a pretty serious beam to carry the loads over the glass on floor 1 too?

    2. Have a decent sized beam tucked up into the floor structure, for sure.

  2. Thoughtful balancing-striking modernists that you are, were you ever tempted to make single pitches, rather than gables, work?

    1. We certainly tried many versions with shed roofs. Maybe I should post one of the sketchup models showing all sorts of experiments.


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