March 2013

Remember to Vote!     


Dear Friend,

Fine Homebuilding Houses Issue Over the past two weeks, I've sent out two announcements 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 -- and we'd love it if you would continue to vote for us.  We're currently in second place, so we need your help to regain the lead.



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


Thanks so much! 

A Breezeway for All Seasons 

The central breezeway of the NC Mountain Lake House is a core element of the design, and something we're particularly proud of.

When we first visited the site for the house, the view of the lake from the driveway was nothing short of stunning.
NC Mountain lake house view

We didn't want the house to completely block this view, although this was the obvious location for the home, so we developed the design around the notion of several separate structures joined by breezeways.  If you look first at the completed house from the driveway, you'll see that there are three main "buildings."  The building to the left of the breezeway contains all the primary living spaces.  The building to the right contains the master bedroom and upstairs office space, and the garage is connected with a separate breezeway that defines the front entry sequence.
NC Mountain Lake House Exterior
Photo by Randy O'Rourke 
Driving up to the house, when the breezeway doors are open, you see the lake prominently framed in the center of the view.

And even when it's too chilly to open the up the doors, you still get a partial view, and the sense that there's something spectacular to be seen from within.
Breezeway with doors closed

But to make this idea work without letting all the bugs in required the clever application of exterior bi-fold doors and disappearing screens.  Below you can see one of the breezeway screens on its way up.
Breezeway screen

If you look closely at the plan below, you'll see that there are four openings that require screens -- the two marked in red that open the front of the house to the roof deck on the lake side; and the two marked in yellow that open into the house to either side of the breezeway.
Breezeway plan

This allows the homeowners two different ways of opening the house to the great outdoors.  Either they can open the two screens indicated in yellow, so that they can move easily from one end of the house to the other,
breezeway screens up

or, they can lower these screens, and open the ones indicated in red to allow easy movement between the front and back of the house -- an ideal arrangement for when they have guests over for an outdoor gathering.  In the image below, to the left and right of the breezeway, you can see the screens are down. 
breezeway with screens down, doors open
Photo by Randy O'Rourke 
With this arrangement, from the eastern patio at the driveway side of the house, you can walk straight out to the roof deck, which offers expansive views on all sides. Here you find a lakeside outdoor living room and fireplace. With doors to the master bedroom, living room and central breezeway opening into this space, it allows the interior of the house to spill out onto this dramatic outdoor room.
Lake view

And when it's too cold outside to have any of the doors and screens open, then the accordion doors appear simply as a window walls, still giving excellent access to light and view, while keeping the elements at bay.

You can visit my Facebook page to see more pictures.  And you can click here and here to read the previous newsletters about this house.

Voting for the Readers' Choice Award continues until Wednesday, March 13th at 11:59 pm.  With your help, we're still hopeful we can win. 

Thanks again for your vote!


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NC Mountain Lake House Newsflashes

newsflash thumbnail

Did you miss the previous newsflashes about the house?  Click here and here to catch up.

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!