Category Archives: Sustainable

Sunday Morning Modern

We had Earth Day this week so I thought it only appropriate to reflect on some modern design that was site and earth sensitive. {click on links} Whether they are directly influenced by the nature around them or live lightly on our earth and resources take some time to be inspired by some of these designs. There is no reason to not be sensitive to nature, our resources and our community when adding to our built environment. Enjoy your rainy Sunday. Cheers!

You Can Go Home Again

tiny-home-outside-2-rzCarolina Home + Garden by Lauren Stepp | Check out the article on this 474 sqft infill house in the Kenilworth neighborhood by the team of  Wilson Architects and Lobo Builders. It is one of the more interesting and unique constructions of this past year that Kelly and I were able to tour and a good example of site specific design. Cheers!

Architect Mark Allison

kArticle from February 2009 | Architect Mark Allison is a native of Asheville. He left Asheville after high school to study at UNC Charlotte. He followed that with studies in Denmark and then finished with his degree from the Pratt Institute. Eventually, he moved to Atlanta where he spent several years working for the Epsten Group. The Epsten Group was one of the first design groups in Atlanta practicing sustainable principles and LEED certifications with their projects. In 1997 he returned to Asheville where he worked for both PBC&L Architects and Samsel Architects. One year ago, after completing a home for him 1chand his family, he opened his own design office.

Mark’s office is in his new home, which is located in one of my favorite mid-century neighborhoods off of Town Mountain Rd. The home was constructed on a steep slope opposite many 1960’s contemporary homes. While creating a 3300 sqft modern home for today his design is sensitive to the context of his neighbors all while balancing with the steep slope of his 1.5 acre site.8ch

Mark’s use of sustainable materials was evident through much of his home along with incorporating some passive solar exposure. The steep slope of the site allowed the incorporation of a deep basement into the foundation. Mark made use of a pre-cast concrete system to allow for larger openings and more a natural light. The basement does not feel like a basement.intro-home

One of the mechanical items I knew little about was the Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV). Mark tried to explain it to me, but it went in one ear and out the other while admiring the house. Doing an online search I found the dictionary explanation in unreadable technical jargon. Still not getting it I found this video that will helped. Take a moment to watch.

Previous to visiting Mark’s office and home I looked at his website. I noticed two projects I wanted to discuss with him.

One of the two projects is a concept for a commercial building along Merrimon Ave. Mark has a great deal of experience developing commercial projects. In Mark’s words, “This building for a retail or office tenant creates a pedestrian oasis against heavy automobile traffic on Merrimon Avenue. A south-facing courtyard shielded from the street by an armature of precast concrete and glass block wall creates a multifunction courtyard. One passes from here to an inner court between an existing building and the new. The design reinforces the 1street-final-copyemerging pedestrian character of this new urban edge. The challenge was to create an economical, energy efficient shell that is true to its concept, affords flexibility to its future tenants.” I could immediately recognize and appreciate the attempts Mark was making to address both the automobile and the pedestrian. The simplicity, scale and continuous portion of the architectural marquee creates a billboard to help identify it from an automobile. At the same time the way the pedestrian level falls back becomes welcoming to those on foot. For me they are simple, clean gestures that get the job done while addressing issues that many new buildings along Merrimon don’t.1jh-copy

The other project I noticed is a home he is creating for a family in Asheville.  He is designing a 1500q/ft., sustainable house that will house 3 generations under one roof. The house utilizes passive solar design principles and is tailored to its gently sloping site.  Shared terraces and courtyards join both the public and private wings. I appreciated what he and his clients were working to achieve and believe that they were creating something we will see more of in the future which is a smaller home with the flexibility to house more generations, accommodate a professional office all while working to be energy efficient.0815-plan-sd-copy1

Looking at Mark’s projects you notice that he works closely in blending the program of each project with the context of the specific site. He works back and forth with all the different issues involved in designing a building until there is a natural balance of all the pieces while always including his individual, creative vision as part of the process and result.

(text by Troy Winterrowd, Mark’s house photos by John Fletcher of the Citizen Times)

Congrats to Samsel Architects

Fonatana Lake House Wins Fine Homebuilding Readers’ Choice Award | Samsel Architects is delighted to announce that their Fontana Lake House won Fine Homebuilding Readers’ Choice Award!Fontana-ReadersChoiceAward

This LEED Gold certified home serves as a serene family retreat and is situated almost at the water’s edge on Fontana Lake. The home’s design was inspired by its surroundings and uses a neutral color palette and natural materials. Inside, simple forms and clean lines are used throughout to create a peaceful atmosphere for this family to enjoy. Abundant windows and a glass-enclosed breezeway connecting the two sides of the home provide generous views of the lake. Some green features of this home include us or low or no V.O.C finishes, LED lighting and energy efficient appliances.Fontana-Bridge-Dining-e1410183391442

Along with the Samsel team a special thanks goes to Traci Kearns of Alchemy Design Studio, Bill Baxter of The William Baxter Company, and Hutch Kerns of Kerns Land Planning + Design for their contributions. Read more about this project in the 2016 Houses edition of Fine Homebuilding magazine or online at Cheers to you all!

Modern Sneak Peek | Hudson St. Update

IMG_2076Paint is being applied, cabinets and ceramic tile are going in and lighting is being installed. Yes, the finishing touches have begun at Earthtone Builder’s Hudson St. project. The original spec home began in mid-April and now is on the road to completion for the Builder’s Tour this fall and for our happy buyer to move in. Builder Greg McGuffey has been mindfully managing the process along the way.Comp 01

We stopped by for a quick tour, along with, Princeton modern fans Shelly and Sean. Greg walked all of us through the net zero, single level, 3 bedroom home being added to the growing West Asheville landscape. The roof slope becomes both the base for the southern facing solar panels and the container for the open living space with the additional loft. Stayed tuned for final updates and information on the early fall builder’s tour. Cheers!IMG_2085

Today’s Modern | Maximized Living thru Minimal Means


We at Modern Asheville Real Estate were very pleased to see this home by our friends at Samsel Architects. The Asheville modern home is on trend to meet many of our real estate home buyers needs. The smaller efficient floor plan lives openly like a loft for those looking to downsize and live with less, along with, the low maintenance materials and natural setting that requires little care from the home owner. The home is as easy to live and relax in as it is to exit worry free when the travel bug bites unexpectedly. On top of that it maximizes energy efficiency and includes technology to make the home sustainable for years to come. All around the simple and sleek modern home has been intentionally designed to maximize quality of life while minimizing the burdens of home ownership. We love that combination. Discover more details on Samsel’s website here. Cheers to the team!CravenGap-Blog-KitchenHall

On another note, if you are in the market for an efficient, quality mountain home designed with a similar philosophy — check out our architectural and sustainable listing in Waynesville here. Originally designed by Stephen Beili and Wilson Architects with interiors by Traci Kearns the home has three green certifications. Conveniently, we are co-hosting a lunchtime Broker Open House there tomorrow, Wednesday the 25th. Give Kelly or Troy a call for the details if you would like to stop by for a tour. {828.552.4811}

Samsel’s Modern Pavilion House Update

On our past visit to Samsel Architects, architect Duncan McPherson walked us through the design of this clean and simple house. We love this one! Below you can see the progression. Samsel Sketch

“The Pavilion House is located on a 40-acre farm that has remarkable mountain views and land dotted with towering old growth oak trees. It was important to locate and organize the house so the owners would get spectacular views without compromising the health of the large oak trees on the property. The result is an “L” shaped house designed around the trees with plenty of windows to connect the indoor living space to the outdoors. Construction has begun and framing, roof and windows are complete. Samsel Architects is working with Fred and Seth Koon of Koon Custom Homes to bring the modern home to completion.”Construction

sketch and photo courtesy of Samsel Architects

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

Virant Design | Shou Sugi Ban

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 7.10.29 PMWe caught up with Virant Design, Tom and Yumiko, yesterday as they had recently completed some remodeling work on a ranch home we have a contract on for some buyers. It wasn’t too long into the conversation he mentioned “Shou Sugi Ban” in relationship to a project they completed. I nearly jumped out of skin with excitement that someone was using this process in WNC. I’ve been imagining a small, modern home for myself using this cool and ancient technique for siding.Shou Comp

Shou Sugi Ban is a Japanese exterior siding process that preserves wood by charring it. The process involves burning the wood, cooling it, cleaning it and finishing it with a natural oil. Although time-consuming, the final product is not only gorgeous with its rich finish; the charred wood resists fire, rot and insects and can last up to 80 years. So cool!Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 7.10.18 PM

The home they designed and constructed is for an artisan near Penland. Of course the material can be purchased, but no craftsman residing in our mountains within radius of Penland would allow someone else to do when they could be doing themselves. Above are a few shots of the team in action. Word has it they may be using it on another home soon in east Asheville. We can’t wait. Cheers to Virant Design!

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

New Construction | Red Tree Builders

Yesterday was a beautiful day here in Asheville. Kelly and I were able to put the top down and head for the mountains. We met our clients in Versant at their lot to walk them through some design options for building their new home. While there we checked out all the new homes under construction. The Versant community design guidelines allow for more contemporary homes. Yeah!Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 7.04.06 PM

We got to check out the shed style Katie Ridge home from the most recent Home Builder’s Parade. This 2794 sqft home was constructed by Red Tree Builders. The home is Green Built NC Certified Silver, geothermal heating and cooling system and uses reclaimed materials throughout.Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 7.03.50 PM

If you want to see a little more here is a link to a YouTube video of the home and location. Enjoy! Troy

JAG Associates unite with Unity Homes

IMG_5532Kelly and I have been watching this new home go up close to our own in North Asheville. Lured by the unique facade assembled on one of the few remaining infill lots, we decided it was time to call for a tour. We were met by Jody Guokas of JAG & AssociatesJody and his crew were hired to do the land prep, foundation and finish work on what is essentially a kit house from Unity Homes of New Hampshire. The walls and roof were shipped in panels much like Asheville’s Deltec homes and then assembled onsite. The home is the 2 Bedroom model of their ZUM plan and the one here is actually the first produced by the company. IMG_5544

Jody, who is part of the Green Building Council, states that this will probably be one of the most efficient, green homes in Asheville when it is completed. The 10″ insulated walls come shipped as panels already routed out for plumbing and electric leaving no opportunity for air penetration. The roof does the same at 12″ thickness. Cosmeticly, the exterior hardy plank siding came prepainted for less labor in the field.jag comp

Though well built, cool and efficient the challenge still remains the cost for modular and kit homes here in Asheville. Dollar for dollar Site-Built homes remain consistently more affordable to construct here. Still, it was cool to see this home owner venture into bringing a unique housing product to Asheville to add to our stock. Similarly to the 1940’s Lustron home in our Beverly Hills it does break up the monotony of some of the repetitive development we see. Cheers to that! Troy