Category Archives: Asheville Modernism

Vote for Samsel Architecture

Fine Homebuilding 2016 Houses AwardsFontana-FHB-Award

Our friends at Samsel Architects are up for an award again this year.  Their Fontana Lake Residence which was on the modern tour last year has been chosen as a finalist for Fine Homebuilding 2016 Houses Readers’ Choice Award! Voting is open now until February 26 at midnight. Votes are limited to one a day per person but you can vote every day until the contest ends.Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 4.44.43 AM

If the project wins, it will be featured in a two-page spread in Fine Homebuilding Houses issue later this year. Please take some time to vote by clicking here.

Cheers from the Modern Asheville Real Estate team!

Jeremy at the Junction

jeremy compIf you haven’t dined at the Junction lately it is time to stop by. Local artist Jeremy Russell’s work is vibrantly displayed throughout. Jeremy, is both a fine artist and scenic painter having worked in the entertainment industry. His work is conceptual in nature and plays with symbolic imagery dealing with issues such as science, sexuality, psychology, human nature, religions, politics and beyond to the universe. Go check out is work in person and visit his website here. Cheers!

Modernist Furniture Maker | Ben Rosenberg

coffee.table copyKelly and I met with local furniture maker Ben Rosenberg at the Grovewood Gallery on Wednesday afternoon. Ben studied welding and furniture making at Haywood Community College. Ben’s inspiration comes from the great designers and furniture makers from the early modern movement creating furniture with clean lines and subtle curves. Ben says, “These elements reflect my belief that thoughtful design creates uncluttered, functional, and beautiful pieces of furniture.” We agree.Ben Comp

Ben uses locally and sustainably harvested lumber whenever possible that is either air dried or dried in a solar kiln. Not only is this better the environment, but helps retain the woods natural color and also provides him with lumber that is superior to work with.

Ben’s goal is to provide our clientele with beautifully handcrafted, heirloom quality furniture that is built to last lifetimes. For more on Ben visit his website here or stop by the Grovewood Furniture Gallery. Cheers!

Modern Asheville | Pinterest

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 6.55.41 AMHere is a reminder to check out our Pinterest page if you haven’t done so already.  We have boards on various designers in Asheville, along with, modern inspiration from across the globe. Cheers!

VOTE | 2015 NCMH Matsumoto Competition

ncmhlogoHi Folks! North Carolina Modernist Houses has released the entries for this year’s Matsumoto Prize. Locally, there are two homes [shown below]: Katie’s Ridge by Retro Fit Design and Peregrine #6 by Roost. However you decide enjoy browsing the entries shown here and vote!Mats Comp

MA Satellite Tours for 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 6.19.29 AMThe Modern Atlanta home tour and Design is Human Week is coming up incredibly soon. Kelly and I will be attending. Also, this year there will be satellite tours in other cities including Asheville. Brickstack Architects, Samsel Architects and Unity Homes will all have homes on the local tour. We should have more details to pass on soon, however, to reserve tickets for the May 30th and 31st tour go here. See you on the design road. Cheers! Kelly and Troy16129441565_54f3dc0bf6

Modern Asheville | Pinterest

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 6.30.29 AMHi Folks! If you haven’t checked it out yet, go and enjoy our new Pinterest board. Over 82 boards and 2000 pins on everything from Asheville architects, mid-century homes and modern inspiration.

Cheers!

Modern Mixer | Thank You!

A big thank you to our co-host, Jeff Crawford, for opening his cool home in Mountainbrook last night to so many of our shared friends and the modern community. The Roost remodeled pad looked amazing and everyone enjoyed meeting designer and builder David Way. It was definitely one not to be missed! Mountainbrook

For those of you who didn’t make it or want to see it again enjoy the tour, here, of this modernized, mid-century home. Thanks again and cheers! Kelly and Troy

NCMH’s Matsumoto Prize 2015

Along with rounding up folks to submit their local homes for Modern Atlanta’s sponsored Modern Tour, Kelly and I are helping to solicit modern home owners, designers and builders to submit their home for entry into NC Modernist Houses Matsumoto Prize competition. Kelly and I went to the award ceremony last year where two Asheville homes received prizes. Yeah!Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 12.45.12 PM

To see those homes and the other prize winners from 2014 click here. Kelly and I had a blast and just missed out on winning a cool modern chair. {long story} We did get to accept the prize for Rusafova Markulis Architects entry for their Blue House in 5 Points while they travel the world.Untitled-1

For details on submitting entries click here. Entries will be accepted on and following May 1, 2015. We wanted to get the word out so you can get your information ready. Give us a call if you would like to discuss your home.

Cheers!

Kelly and Troy

Architect Brandon Pass on Asheville Modern Architecture

Brandon-Pass-Architect-Office-folkMy good friends, architect Brandon Pass and his wife Libby, are two of my favorite people to sit and discuss regional craft and design with over beer and wine. Not only are they both talented – they are just good people who are both passionate about their individual craft. I wanted to take a moment and share Brandon’s words on modern architecture here in the mountains. Enjoy!

An Asheville Modern Architecture that merges Modern Sensibilities and Design with the Vernacular Influences of Materiality, Geography & Culture specific to the Western North Carolina Mountains

Throughout my career I’ve maintained a focus to reconcile the ideals and simplicity of Modern Architecture with the vernacular influences of place, materiality and culture to now establish a clear and true Asheville modern architecture. I believe it is not the primary mission of architecture to change the course of culture nor to produce stylistic replicas of times past, but rather to synthesize the social realities and cultural expressions with the physical experiences of site, geography, materials and local skill.06-bar-3

It was emphasized early in my education in at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia that architecture is an expressive art with the capacity to move us emotionally, spiritually and must enhance the context in which it is sited establishing an identity independent of fashionable styles. Utilitarian structures took the place of iconic traditional or modern buildings as objects for contemplation and influence. The result became an effort to synthesize vernacular tradition with a modern language to create architecture firmly rooted in place and time. In contrast, the techno-rationally biased and economy-obsessed buildings that have become familiar everywhere impair our sense of locality and identity and hastens the urgency for an elevated level of quality and craftsmanship through design. The standard of building today has accelerated estrangement and alienation through homogenatiy instead of integrating our worldview and sense of self through expressive regional character and craft.

Strapped with boundless idealism and a sense of purpose I headed to Chicago and then to New York City to hone my skills and development as a designer. Over 16 years, as the scope and budget of projects increased to exponentially when compared with my modest existence, I began to question the absolute dogma of a Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 7.10.51 PMuniversal utopian modernism versus a simplified contextual hand-crafted modern. What were the so-called fruits of my labor? Specifying  rare exotic stone from the depths of China, endangered timbers from South America or synthetic forms devoid of the hand seemed best suited for the glossy pages of popular magazines and less to do with our current collective reality rife with environmental depletion, economic uncertainty, exportation of traditional skill and cultural identity. I asked myself, why must progressive architectural innovation of the highest order remain the privilege of so few? Was I practicing what I had preached? I began to realize that the true challenge of a skilled architect is to do more with less, not excess with more.

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One-to-one in architectural terms typically means to work at full-scale; one inch equals one inch. The underlying philosophy for my practice, this relation has also come to mean having empathy for and relating to my clients. Returning to Appalachia, the region that has continuously influenced my work and core philosophy over the years, seems to complete the circle and fulfill a desire to define a new architectural language specific to our shared time and place. While remaining independent of stylistic replication, commercial influence and remaining true to the ideals of modern architecture I am proud to call Asheville my home and hope to create thoughts, works of art and architecture that encourage the community to think about style, function, and the true purpose of our shared creative and architectural identity; an Asheville modern architecture that celebrates as opposed to replicates and stands firmly and independent.

For more on Brandon’s work visit his website.

Cheers!

Troy

Architect Maria Rusafova

Defining a Modern Asheville Aesthetic

I recently sat down with architect Maria Rusafova at her home in West Asheville. She is the first architect to respond to my formal request to define the qualities of a Western North Carolina modern design. However, the original idea and inspiration came from lengthy discussions with my friend and architect Brandon Pass. No doubt I will be discussing this with him soon.

Maria Comp

Maria and her husband have been in Asheville since 2000 following her graduating from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Her brother lived here and – well — who can resist? Asheville worked given that Maria states she is drawn to modern, site sensitive and environmentally conscious designs. She, also, loves the creative challenge of designing aroundbeka1 tight budgets. How often do we hear that? Given the rich results of her own home and the client project she just finished in 5 Points neighborhood she definitely knows how to wrangle a lot – from minimal means. As you know, that always speaks to me.

Before I delve further into my discussion with Maria, let me remind you that my goal is not to define what modern is to WNC in black and white, but to note some common influences. Most of us, without being able to describe it, can intuitively feel when a modern building works within its context and doesn’t. The natural and organic design integrity creates a harmony that is almost timeless. In opposition, I’ve seen some out-of-state builders propose stucco and aluminum homes that capture a trendy modern aesthetic that is neither contextual nor timeless.

Back to Maria.

Big6Geographically, Maria, as most architects, has rarely seen a flat site here. Most are sloped and challenging. However, the challenges can offer useful layering of functions and separations from public to private or living to utilitarian.

Materials – there are many natural materials readily available here from stone, wood and metal that reflect our local geography and help to create a continuum with the natural world.

Maria Vernac Comp

When it comes to vernacular influences Maria is infatuated with both barn structures of our rural landscape and some of the simple, narrow and upright homes of our historic neighborhoods. There is calmness in breaking down a residential structure to a simple polygon, as opposed to, a myriad of roof lines. Big3Again, less is more. There is richness and freedom in something that is easy to identify.

Culturally, people are moving here for sense of community. A home no longer defines ones life, but something that steps back to offer the freedom to live other aspects of your life in a broader sense. So, freedom from financial constraints and maintenance are important to living the life we all want here — perhaps aBig12n extra dinner at the Admiral or time to hike the Blue Ridge with friends?

For me, Maria blends her understanding of context with her European sense of simplicity and efficiency. It is an appropriate blend that allows her to capture the nuances of locality while bringing a lightness to living appropriate for today. One can see this in the plans for her own home.

B14Maria was recently chosen by one of our real estate clients to help sensibly steward the updating needed to their original Bert King home. We will explore more on that and one of her other upcoming projects soon.

Cheers!

Troy

MOD MAN

Article from Carolina Home + Garden: Fall 2013 Edition

Mod Man 02Troy Winterrowd’s small town Midwest upbringing may have laid the foundation fo this interest in all things modern. He hails from Columbus, Indiana, a city about half the size of Asheville. But Columbus is very big architecturally speaking — a modern design hotspot — with a collection of over 60 structures designed by the likes of I.M. Pei, Eliel Saarinen, Richard Meier, Harry Weese and other prominent architects.

Winterrowd left Columbus to study architecture, and moved on to work for creative firms such as Walt Disney Imagineering, Hallmark Cards and Sony Retail Development. He later ran his own modern art gallery in Astoria, Oregon. But it was in Asheville, a city better known for its Art Deco and Craftsman styles, where he chose to launch his blog, Modern Asheville in 2008.

A reverent ode to modernism in the mountains, the blog is randomly experiential — one day readers may see a post about an inspiring all-Asheville-artist exhibit he spied while traveling, or a birthday tribute to Marcel Breuer, who designed the beautiful Weizenblatt House in Asheville’s own Lakeview Park.

While many posts are real estate-oriented, often showcasing new modern listings, the site also features modern-related events, local architects, builders, retailers, designers, fine artists, details on mod-centric American cities, and even a section on modern food and drink.

Winterrowd shared with Carolina Home + Garden his take on modern in the mountains.

Modern is: At some point, everything has been modern. Mid-century modern is one classification with a distinct style and can be restricted to a period much like Craftsman or Victorian. Modern is generally defined by expansive glass to create a stronger relationship with exterior spaces, open floor plans that were often multi-leveled and shallow pitched roofs. I think Modernism on its own is generally related to the clean lines of the International or Bauhaus movements, which began in the early to mid-20th century, but for me surpasses any period, still influencing designers today.

Why contemporary styles work with our mountain environment: It’s actually quite a natural combination, because Modern’s organic elements are stunning when paired with our beautiful regional sites. Here in Western North CArolina, our geography encourages in indoor-outdoor lifestyle. Plenty of people move here for it!

Favorite Modern WNC architectural interpretation: A post and beam with natural stone floors and wood ceilings that steps back and opens up to its natural surroundings. It’s been popular locally from mid-century through today, and a more earthy, organic Modernism that’s appropriate to our region.

On the durability of good design: I just toured local architect Bert King’s home, which he designed and had lived in since the 1950s. It was inspiring to see that the original walnut kitchen cabinets are still in place, function well and are aesthetically beautiful and appropriate for the house. In a sense, they’re timeless, like all good design.

Written by: Carolyn Comeau   Photo by: Matt Rose