Category Archives: Modern Makers

Modern Monday | Artist Brief

linda-01Linda McCane Gritta | Last week I was able to pause and visit with artist, and Modern Asheville friend, Linda McCane Gritta at her painting studio along the river in Woodfin. It didn’t surprise me to find her along the river as her work is naturally watery and an element she is at home around. Though a Chicago native Linda and her work have that Northern California vibe {I call it Urban Zen} of grounded coolness mixed with the water and shimmering light of the bay area using those complimentary Diebenkorn-ish warms and cools I love.linda-02

Linda graduated from the New York Studio School in 2001 followed by a BFA from Converse College in 2004 and has been producing full steam ever since. Though Linda enjoys her figural work, expressing the figure in relaxed, natural contexts, she loves the gut level adventure of abstraction. The process uses that push-pull of both intuition and intellect, chaos and balance, control and surrender that we see all around us in nature. She likens the “letting go” process to jumping off a skyscraper and having to fashion your own net on the way down being left with moments of inherent experience and instinct as resources.img_6014

Linda currently exhibits her work in both North and South Carolina and New York City. Her work can be found in numerous private and corporate collections. Also, she is represented by Serena & Lily of Sausalito and Libby Silvia ArtStyle in Boston. She recently contributed one of her abstract paintings for the Raise Your Hand WNCap Auction last month. To see more of her colorful work visit her website here. Enjoy!linda-04

Modern Monday

9 Katies Ridge Drive | Clean lines pull together modern and traditional design influences in this newly constructed home in the Versant neighborhood of Asheville. The home is featured on the Parade of Homes currently being conducted this month and will still be open to the public this upcoming weekend.scott-marks-4-rz

The kitchen was recently featured in Carolina Home & Garden Magazine. Our colleague, M. Scott Marks, brought his vision to the interiors of the home. Check out the special feature here. Go check it out in person this next weekend. Until then enjoy your Monday and have a wonderful week. Cheers!

AIA Design Award Entries

Hi Folks! You can now see all the entries to WNC’s AIA Design Awards this year. Go here for the video overview.Screen Shot 2016-09-03 at 1.35.46 PMThe outdoor awards is this upcoming Thursday evening and is $25 for General Admission which includes beer, wine and catering by Corner Kitchen. The 30 minute awards portion will be presented via a cool multi-media projection. Come and enjoy this outdoor ceremony at the City County Plaza. For tickets and information go here. Come and join us Modern Mixer crowd. Cheers!Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 6.15.03 AM

Modern Monday

IMG_4821Under Construction | Here is a quick peek at what David Way of Roost, Inc is currently working on. This 1900 sqft home anchored to the hillside of Chicken Hill is getting closer to completion. The interior spaces have high ceiling heights to add more light and vertical space to the efficient floor plan. Both the upper levels will have expansive viewing decks to increase the three season, livable space. The two rectilinear masses defining separate living spaces will be clad in complimentary materials. The lower mass is currently being wrapped in rough-sawn boards. Overall, a cool addition to our urban infill. Cheers!Roost jefferson

Sunday Morning Modern

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 6.52.11 AM1956 Eamed Lounger Debut | Charles and Ray Eames have come up in conversation recently in discussions about American modernism. There is tons of information on the internet you can find on them. However, this 11 minute video of them gives you a good overview on their work, their quirkiness and a bit on our social standards at the time. So, warm up your coffee and enjoy this little video clip. If you want a bit more following, as always, there is this Eames pinterest board. Cheers!

Maker Spotlight | Lexington Glassworks

interiorYesterday, I stopped by Lexington Glassworks having strolled past their open door a few times a week on my way to my “go-to” yoga studio Go Yoga. Having arrived a bit too early I decided to finally step into the space. Wow! I had no idea how established of a venue it was. I could always see that the product was well IMG_4786crafted, but the space itself was equally and thoughtfully crafted, too. From layout to detail they have created a mindful experience around glass blowing making it a blend of retail, education and cool social space. I’ll refrain from saying a whole lot more, but simply encourage you to visit. Their own space and website tells their story better than I so I’ll step back and let them take over. If you haven’t been — GO. They have a beer on tap and a schedule for live music. Cheers!Lex Two

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)

Architect Spotlight

Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 5.38.31 AMGiuseppe Terragni {1904-1943} While researching for various talks on Modernism at Black Mountain College we became familiar with this Italian architect Giuseppe Terragni. He was an Italian architect who worked primarily under the fascist regime of Benito Mussolini and pioneered the Italian modern movement under the rubric of Rationalism. His most famous work is the Casa del Fascio built in Como, northern Italy, which was begun in 1932 and completed in 1936; it was built in accordance with the International Style of architecture and frescoed by abstract artist Mario Radice. Some of his European counterparts were Le Corbusier and Marcel Breuer. We love his clean lines and compositions of shadow and light. Please find more samples of his work on our Pinterest page here. Cheers!

Sunday Morning Modern

Big0The Limitless Box | Architecturally speaking we at Modern Asheville appreciate a simple box along with many of our designer friends and clients. At a glance a rectilinear home with four walls and a flat roof may seem constrained, but can truly offer a great deal of efficiency, versatility and freedom. Having designed sets in a simple black box theater you know that you can truly do anything you want on the inside with minimal means. And for those of you who joined us at architects Maria and Jakob’s home this past spring you will call the richness and sophistication behind the simplicity of their own corten box home.Your basic ranch home offers this potential if you look past the plain exterior and existing wall configuration.  515 Residence3
Recently, husband and wife architects, Thad and Lindsey Rhoden of SPARC Design constructed a box of their very own. Seeking something different they avoided the competitiveness for a building lot in burgeoning East or West Asheville. Given their vision they could see potential in lots that seemed less desirable in the marketplace. They chose a lot hugging the edge of downtown that had been on the market for some time given the odd shape, access to sewer and rules regarding steep slope. Living Space
The constraints of the site and the project budget were variables out of which the design emerged. The overall house program was simple: create a minimal home that celebrates the main living space, winter views and prioritizes functionality over excess.Entry
Because there are condominiums directly across the street, they made the house private on the entrance side, and opened it up in the ‘rear’ of the house. The main living space is sunk a story below the road and that contributes to a private feel.515-Residence-BR
Lindsey says that they wanted the house to feel like a retreat far away, yet still close to town. “We have large patio doors and lots of windows and they are placed so that in the summer, we look out to the trees. It’s very peaceful with exception of some big windy rain storms of this past week.”
515-Residence-header
Thad states,“The house is pretty simple from the outside; it’s a box with a flat roof. We knew we had to keep the footprint small for cost purposes, and the steepness of the site means you’re not able to get a good look at the house from all sides. Our focus was more on the interior and making it feel open and inviting, and that extends outside with a large deck.”Rhoden Box
As experienced architects they knew that a large portion of the budget would go to site work to build on a steep site. As a result, they chose a lot of simple, accessible materials and then picked a few special elements including a big 84” Haiku fan (by Big Ass Fans), and a super tiny Duravit sink for the 1/2 bath.515-Residence-CS1
Thad and Lindsey, along with their new baby, are enjoying the freedom that their simple, but thoughtful, home allows them. What can first seem like constraints {a challenging site or a box} offers opportunities to focus on what is truly important and get the most out of minimal means. Cheers to you Thad and Lindsey!
{Want to see more homes like this? Visit our Pinterest page here.}

Modern Monday

Introducing East Fork Pottery’s Gas Fired Wares

EW 03East Fork Pottery held their introduction kiln sale this past weekend to debut their hand crafted housewares produced from the new gas fired kiln they recently acquired. The Danish Modern inspired line balances earthiness with cool clean lines evoking a timeless simplicity that transcends fashion for grounded functionality. As with any quality, modern craft the pieces are beautifully rich under the principle of “less is more”. While remaining local they are, at the same time, universal. EW 02

Alex Matisse, founder, and John Vigeland, CFO, are the leaders of the pottery studio supported by apprentices Amanda and Connie. Their studio is several stone throws to the west of Mars Hill nestled in the rustic atmosphere that has inspired generations of local craft folks. You can make appointments for guided tours and to shop directly from their studio. Visit the East Fork Pottery website to find out more and assemble your own shopping list. Cheers!EW 01

Artist Brief | Barbara Fisher’s Blue Period

Barbara Fisher BlueI stopped in for a visit with our beloved Barbara Fisher yesterday. Barbara, currently going through a “Blue Period” of her very own, has been experimenting with a cooler color palette. As always I’m amazed at her consist work ethic and prolific work amassed in her studio. Make sure you pay her a visit on the main floor of Warehouse Studios at 170 Lyman St in the River Arts District. Cheers to you Barbara!IMG_3681

What Black Mountain College Taught

Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933-1957,” on view at the Hammer Museum until May 15, makes the case for the creativity, talent, and ongoing influence of this short-lived educational experiment in North Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 6.28.23 AMCarolina. This article in Forbes by contributer Tom Teicholz gives a nice little overview of our cultural phenomena that was and is Black Mountain College and the current exhibit at UCLA. Take a peek a both. Cheers!