February 2013

Help Put Us Back on Top!    


Dear Friend,

Fine Homebuilding Houses Issue Last week I sent out an announcement about Fine Homebuilding's 2013 HOUSES Readers' Choice contest. Tina Govan, AIA, and I have designed one of houses in the lineup -- the NC Mountain Lake House. Shortly after we sent out the announcement, thanks to your votes, we shot up to first place with a very comfortable edge (we were at 49% at our peak!). Unfortunately, as the week progressed, we lost our lead, and now we've fallen to second place. You can help get us back on top by continuing to cast your vote daily until March 13th. One vote is great, but two weeks of daily voting multiplies your contribution many fold.



More images of the house can be found on my Facebook page or the Picasa album.  


Thanks so much! 



Double Duty Dining  


NC Mountain lake house dining  


The Dining Room in the NC Mountain Lake House has a unique feature.  It does Double Duty, but in a different way than I've ever done before.  Those who are familiar with my books will know that I question the need for multiple dining areas in our houses. In most homes, the formal dining room sits vacant 99% of the time, waiting for those one or two occasions per year when there's a need for a larger, or more formal dining area. I've advocated for a dining area that does double duty, designed primarily for everyday meals for the household, but with the ability to transform on those occasions when a more formal setting is required.


NC Mountain lake house floor plan
NC Mountain Lake House floor plan (dining room is on the left) 


The NC Mountain Lake House sports a new twist on the Double Duty Dining idea. It has a "transformer" dining room table composed of two separate tables, which actually creates three tables in one:


a breakfast table,

NC Mountain lake house breakfast table  


an everyday dining table,

NC Mountain Lake House every day dining  


and a formal dining table capable of seating ten.

NC Mountain lake house formal dining  


This multi-functional table allows the dining room, with its amazing view of the lake, to be used every day (see first diagram below), but also to transform into a formal space when needed (see second diagram below).     


every day dining floor plan
Every day dining
The table and chairs were custom made for this house by furniture maker Brian Fireman. The homeowners worked with Brian first to select the wood for the table, and then to select and refine the chair and table designs.  The only requirements Tina and I had were that the table serve both as two separate tables and one big table, and that its height match that of the cabinetry beneath the windows overlooking the lake. This way, one of the tables can be pushed up against the cabinetry
formal dining floor plan
Formal dining 
(supplied by Benbow & Associates) for
every day use.    


This strategy is an effective way to make a dining room serve multiple functions throughout the year.  

What do you think?  Let me know on Facebook, where I have posted these images.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks again for your vote!   




Warm regards, 




Photos by Randy O'Rourke  

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Last Week's Newsflash

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NC Mountain Lake House Team

Sarah Susanka, FAIA, Susanka Studios, and
Tina Govan, AIA,
Tina Govan Architect

General Contractor:
Ryan McLellan, Copperwood Builders

Interior Designer:
Traci Kearns,
Alchemy Design Studio

Landscape Designer: Jennifer Brown,
Green Meadow


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Know someone else who will vote?

Please send them the link to this page.  Thanks for your help!