2004 | Orange County Residence | Orange County, NC
This home was designed and built by its owner at the time, firm principal Phil Szostak.
Though intentionally understated, the character of the home emphasizes elegance and clean modern lines. At the same time the home also has many of the conceptual elements associated with historic Southern architecture. Its shady porches, natural ventilation, cooling courtyard fountain and reflective coloring recall generations of Southern homes.
The central entrance hall, which passes straight through the house to the southern terrace, borrows from a traditional planning strategy for providing good cross-ventilation. The dining and living room open spaces flank this central hall in keeping with vernacular floor plans.
The home’s 3.5 acre site abuts 1,200 feet of wooded creek frontage. Szostak emphasized views to this pastoral setting in the home’s planning, both in the development of its living spaces and adjoining outdoor terraces. The house is designed to be firmly grounded in the site, comfortably fitted into the natural terrain with access from all sides. Due to the elevation of the creek’s flood plain, the house is raised on the southern side creating a large outdoor living porch.
The home’s east-west orientation offers protection from solar glare and limits the potential for damage to the owner’s collection of art. Tempered glass sunshades on the southern exposure further enhance the environmental performance of the house.
The more private spaces of the home surround a grassy courtyard that features a fountain and a reflecting pool. Flanked by living areas on the south and a bedroom suite to the west, the courtyard has been planted with trees organized on an orthogonal grid.
The painted stucco and masonry parapet conceals roof-mounted photovoltaic and solar hot water panels that contribute to radiant heating and domestic water needs.
Photography by James West
Elegant and modern, this design applies common sense vernacular design principles to create an environmentally sustainable residence. Its shady porches, natural ventilation, cooling courtyard fountain and reflective coloring recall generations of Southern homes.