Category Archives: Shed Style

The Shed Roof

Good Morning Folks. In our team’s discussions around new residential homes here in Asheville we often bring up the term “Shed-style” roof. Overall, it is a popular design feature for our contemporary mountain homes. Often designers use it to emulate the vernacular of a shed or a more utilitarian style of architecture. At other times it is used to either open up your view or control the sun coming in. I thought the below video gave a nice overview of the popular roof style here in Asheville. Enjoy!

Sneak Peek | Roost’s Industrial “Wigmore” House

IMG_1950Kelly and I took a quick tour of Roost’s latest new home in the final touches of completion near UNCA. The industrial styled infill home is 3 bedrooms with 2.5 baths on 3 levels. The architectural mass of the interior spaces are clad in an industrial metal siding. The mass framing the exterior spaces are clad in “corn crib” style natural wood siding.

The lower entry court provides rare level parking and a paved play area for an active family. The home offers the option of using the garage or car port for housing your transportation or outdoor toys. The utilitarian level offers easy access to drop off equipment and clothes directly into the laundry/mud room before heading upstairs to live or play with or without clothing.UNCA comp

The second level contains an open living and kitchen area and the master bedroom suite. Roost, also a cabinet-maker, is providing their usual quality built-ins for both the living spaces and master bedroom. What did we love here? The built-in dining island and the kitchen look out through a folding garage door style window that raises up into a protective awning to let the outside in and will keep your cocktails extra dry…just the way we like them.

The upper level has an open living and office area flanked by 2 bedrooms a shared bath and utility closet. The corner window with views to Mt.IMG_1947 Pisgah and beyond lead to an outdoor terrace big enough to welcome visitors from neighboring planets. This gives the home great indoor/outdoor living on all three levels which is perfect for our environment here in Asheville.

The “Wigmore” home is a Roost signature plan that designer/builder David Way has developed over several iterations in both Montford and North Asheville. Currently, there is a more vintage styled version of this home on the market in Montford. Cheers!

Hudson St Project | Quick Peek

IMG_1743We did a quick drive-by over the holiday weekend to see the progress on the Hudson St project with Earthtone Builders. Here are a couple of pics of the West Asheville, one level, green home. Looking forward to getting inside soon. Cheers!IMG_1745

Earthtone Builders | Floor 2 Frame

IMG_0916Having just completed the foundation topped by finished concrete floors, builder Greg McGuffey sent us this photo of the framing going up today on his latest modern, shed style home under construction in West Asheville. We are excited to watch the progress on this cool and quality home having brought builder and buyer together. Cheers! Kelly and Troy


IMG_0034Kelly and I stopped to visit with our friend Jason Weil of Retro-Fit-Design at his office in north Asheville this week. We have been following his work for a few years now. Jason is currently working on a variety of residential designs. His northwest inspired modern style reminds me of my days traveling to Seattle for Microsoft retail. The clean, extended horizontal lines blended with natural materials works well in Western North Carolina and in the northwest United States. Below are a couple of renderings of homes currently on his boards. He has a few projects in development in the Beaverdam valley area. Jason Comp

Jason did the design for the luxury, modern home seen below currently under construction at Ciel on Elk Mountain Scenic Highway. For more on Jason’s work visit his website.1492210_768778253158734_2735543227926577824_o Enjoy!

Samsel Architects | Modern Pavilion House

Tryon-RenderingI recently saw this project published online. Immediately, I was drawn to the updated mid-century, prairie styling. The home is being designed for a 40 acre farm in Columbus, NC with large oak trees, an existing barn, pastures and distant mountain views. I look forward to seeing this evolve. Go here for more.

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.



The Modern Frontier of Leicester

Yesterday, I walked around in the drizzle with friend and local architect Brandon Pass at his latest project under construction — way, way out in Leicester — where soft, gentle pastures brush up against steep, rugged hills. It’s been a long year since we last connected and I remembered our past conversation like it was yesterday. I had contacted him after browsing his website and came across the “Leicester House”. There were only a couple of 1204-Perspective Southeast cornerrough renderings at the time, but I was caught the quiet, modern aesthetic that seemed well matched with the rustic context.

Brandon’s clients live out there on 70 acres (and several mules) of beautiful farm land in Sandy Mush. They are charging their land to raise flowers in the dramatic rural landscape. The lower level of the house will be a functional, IMG_0014shed for their flower business and open to the fields below. The upper level will be a modern and flowing living space that captures specific views of both natural and manmade features in the landscape. The house will be anchored by a concrete, passive solar core.

In spirit, both the client and Brandon were struck by the existing, domestic and functional vernacular distinct to this site and locality. It was a jumping off point for the architectural inspiration for both building form and materials. Leicester Comp

Once Brandon had locked down the plan and construction drawings the clients and their friends took over creating a natural, organic process where various  crafts people and found materials began to further influence and embellish the outcome. Brandon had to generously let go of Material Compcontrol and let the hands-on spirit of the clients take over in building their home on the new frontier. The result will be an obvious, modern construction, but with earthy, regionally materials that will weather to blend in with the rural structures of this specific site. It is a marriage of sophisticated design thought blending with the pioneering spirit of our Asheville mountain community. It’s an evolving process that is still being hammered out today.

Thank you for the tour Brandon. Next time — beer!


80’s Revival

Rediscovering the Shed Style

1980sIf your my age and you have young nieces or nephews you know that the 80’s are back again, and have been for a while. All things return, good or bad, given enough time. If you follow the waves of home fashion styles you know that in the 60’s, nationally, we rediscovered the Victorian. Locally, we reclaimed and revived the Montford neighborhood. Since, it has been Bungalow-Mania for over two decades in all areas of North, West and East Asheville. New artsy crafty constructions are still popping up in all areas of town and beyond. Is that all we know how to build these days?

76247_153879677990704_346866_nNow – we are in a well established trend of modernist styling and romancing the few atomic ranches we have here. Neighborhoods such as Beverly Hills to the East, Malvern Hills to the West and Lakeview Park to the North provide an assortment of ranch style homes, both adaptable & plain and some swanky & sophisticated.

Cedarwood04webSo, that leads us to the 70’s and 80’s. Huh?  Yes, there are some period developments, including a wave of condos, in all directions with a reasonable proximity to downtown, but still nestled in the woods. How many times do we hear clients say that is what they want? These places offer established open floor plans, vaulted ceilings, larger bathrooms than decades past and great indoor/outdoor living relationships. Sure – you have cedarwood0854webto scrape off some popcorn ceilings, lay down some hardwoods in place of carpet, replace large track lighting, but there are some good bones for today’s clean and open modern living. Given what we have in Asheville you more than often have to work a little to make your modern nest within this rustic environment and housing stock. If you search you will find Cedar Wood to the East, the Timbers to the North and Laurelwood to the West. All are simplified versions of the Shed Style of Sea Ranch, but easy enough to strip down and create something chic.


According to the Washington State Department of Historic Preservation, “The Shed Style is easily identified by a juxtaposition of boxlike forms capped with single-sloped shed roofs facing a variety of directions. The style spread quickly through the United States after the construction of the Sea Ranch Lodge condominium complex in Sonoma County, California in 1965.  The use of the style in the 1970s coincided with the energy crisis and some of the better examples employ passive-solar design elements.  Features such as south facing windows at the roofline (clearstory windows) paired Shed Stylewith interior elements such as brick floors or rock walls which could collect and store heat, saved energy costs.”

“Exterior walls are usually covered with flush board siding, applied horizontally, vertically, or even diagonally to follow the lines of the shed roof.  Builder examples often used T1-11 siding, while high style examples are clad with cedar shingles. The junctions of the roofs and walls are smooth and simple, with little or no overhang.  Most Shed Style buildings are 1 to 1½ stories tall.  Entrances are often recessed and obscured from the street and windows tend to be a variety of sizes and shapes.  Long narrow windows installed vertically or horizontally are common, as well as windows that are angled to follow the slope of the roof line.”

Cedarwood01web“The style’s popularity peaked in the 1970s, when it was commonly used for houses, apartment complexes, vacation cottages, schools and small office buildings.  By the mid 1980s, the use of the style in urban areas dwindled, mainly due to the high maintenance requirements of the wooden exteriors.”

It takes over 30 years for styles to circle back around. In the 80’s I was dressing like the 1950’s. Now I’m venturing into the next era of home remodeling. I’ll be offering more on this unexplored territory on Modern Asheville in the next few months. Play some Cure. Pencil in some eye liner. Follow along.