Set in a forest in Stony Point, north of Charlottesville, the house is a modern interpretation of a “dogtrot”. The “dogtrot” is believed to have originated in the southern Appalachian Mountains.
All the public areas, including the living, dining area and kitchen are housed together in the eastern wing of the house. On the ground level of the western wing are the studio and master bedroom.
On the lower level are three bedrooms that are partially embedded in the sloping hillside.
The covered breezeway, with its connection to nature is where the clients are drawn on a daily basis and where they eat most of their meals there from spring to late fall.
When approaching the house from the drive, you first see the north façade, a battered wall with dark stained poplar and minimal openings except for the broad breezeway. On the side, you can see the sloping north wall morphs into the roof, which slopes down to the south with a generous overhang to protect from the summer sun. On the south side, the whole house opens up to the views of the grassy terrace and surrounding forest.
The project is successful on many fronts, optimizing envelope design, passive solar strategies and integrating the surrounding landscape. It is the dogtrot concept that allows the clients to spend much of their day connected to the outdoors, which also has a fundamental impact on energy use. The connection to nature combined with the thermal comfort of the concrete slab floor (diurnal shift in temperature keeps the space cool during the day and warm at night) creates a space so desirable as to change the clients' daily habits. The design of the house has led to a symbiotic relationship between the clients and their surroundings - sustainable living without sacrificing comfort.