"Privacy House", Chatham County, NC 

“We want a house just for the two of us.  We don't want to socialize, we want to be left alone to enjoy our life.” – the clients

Privacy House SOUTH TWILIGHT

Privacy House SOUTH TWILIGHT

The southern porch. Photo by Keith Isaacs.

ACS - Privacy House MIDDAY MED

ACS - Privacy House MIDDAY MED

The bright colors on the south porch signify the Owners' freedom and escape from their previous development home. Photo by Keith Isaacs.

ACS - Privacy House FRONT DAY MED

ACS - Privacy House FRONT DAY MED

The front elevation in the daytime. Photo by Keith Isaacs.

Privacy House FRONT TWILIGHT

Privacy House FRONT TWILIGHT

The street view at twilight. Photo by Keith Isaacs.

Privacy House

Privacy House

Photo by Keith Isaacs

ACS - Privacy House DECK MED

ACS - Privacy House DECK MED

An 11' cantilevered roof shields the porch from the harsh NC summer sun, and provides the sheltered place to "sit outside and watch the rain" that the Owners asked for. Photo by Keith Isaacs.

ACS - Privacy House KITCHEN MED

ACS - Privacy House KITCHEN MED

The kitchen has an Aga stove, work island, floating shelves and a coffee station. Photo by Keith Isaacs.

ACS - Privacy House LIV RM FP MED

ACS - Privacy House LIV RM FP MED

13" high ceilings and wide glass doors connect the interior to the deeply sheltered porch outside. Photo by Keith Isaacs.

ACS - Privacy House INT MED

ACS - Privacy House INT MED

The super efficient interior has no hallways. The Owners say they use every square inch of space. Photo by Keith Isaacs.

ACS - Privacy House DETAIL MED

ACS - Privacy House DETAIL MED

The cypress veil to the street. Photo by Keith Isaacs.

ACS - Privacy House INT DET MED

ACS - Privacy House INT DET MED

An interior detail showing precise and clean connections. Photo by Keith Isaacs.

A married couple whose grown son visits occasionally were determined to "break free" (their words) from the traditional, "soul-deadening" (ditto) residential development where they lived. Modernists at heart, they longed for a quiet, secluded place in the woods where they could build a simple, modern, “green,” age-in-place house custom-designed for their lifestyle, their needs, and their passion for privacy. One more thing: They asked for “a sheltered place to sit outside and watch the rain.”  They also wanted every square inch to be used with a “minimum of halls.”

The clients originally wanted only a 1500 square foot house, however the neighborhood covenants required a minimum of 2000 heated square feet, and the final design just makes it.  The house was carefully perched on a small knoll bordering a forest in Chatham County. The architect’s concept intent was to create a “veil” on the front elevation facing the street to signify the home’s private nature in a friendly way. The “veil” concept became a cypress screen that filters light entering the house and obscures public view of the homeowners’ private terrace behind it. The windows on this elevation are high on the wall so no one can peer inside.

The southern elevation facing the forest is meant solely for the pleasure of the owners and their guests. Here, the house bursts forth into the light with a broad, sun-drenched deck for outdoor living and dining; plenty of glazing to allow the sunlight to fill the interior and to maintain visual contact from the inside to the outside; and a deep, sheltering roof where the owners can “sit outside and watch the rain.”

We further enlivened this completely private elevation by using large blocks of primary colors as architectural elements, a concept mainly inspired by flags, but also reminiscent of the Netherlands-based De Stijl movement of the early 1900s.​​​

 

This house features:

  • Passive House triple glazed windows from AwiluxTo elevate the house from merely “green” to Net Zero Passive status, she placed it on its site to maximize solar gain, natural light, and natural ventilation then supported those low tech principles with such high-tech features as:

  • A small solar array on the roof to generate electricity.

  •   An over-abundance of insulation, sealing all air gaps.

  •   An Energy Recovery Ventilator to transfer moisture and heat from incoming air.

  •   Fiber cement panel cladding.

         
The spatially efficient floor plan eliminated hallways as much as possible so that the homeowners use “every square inch” as they requested.  The interior also features zero thresholds, curb-free showers, and oversized doorways -- aging-in-place principles they will enjoy for many years to come.

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