Tag Archives: sunset summit

MAKE YOUR MODERN | Bringing a Bert King Contemporary into 2011

I recently toured 10 Crowningway in one of my favorite Asheville neighborhoods, Sunset Summit, just off Town Mountain Rd. The current owners, Bradley and Peggy Holmes, purchased the 1964 built, Bert King home in 2006. Having lived in it for a few years they were slowly exploring renovating the home when a pipe burst causing extensive damage and forcing them to seek repairs. This presented the opportunity to expand and bring the house into the future at the same time.

As I pulled into the drive of the home I did not recognize it from the photos as I had found from its 2006 MLS listing. It was similar, but not the same house. I pulled out again to check the address. This was it. The confusion stemmed from the house looking so originally 60’s that I thought I was at the wrong house in the same neighborhood of mid-century homes. The house had seamlessly been altered within its original aesthetic. The owners had been careful to match the original wood siding and other appropriate details.  Cool!

Mid-Century Make0vers – Allow me to pause and make a point here. You will often see around the country and in Asheville mid-century and ranch homes that get a traditional makeover by their owners and become a mix of conflicting styles. In Asheville you will witness many being “dragged out” in craftsman style garb such as windows, doors and siding. The end result is conflicting and uncomfortable and often times challenging to sell. I find that maintaining the homes true nature is the best way to go long term. Let’s look at people as an analogy. We have all watched those make over shows where they find people who are 40-something trying to wear clothes of a 20 year old, a man trying to hide his balding head with a come-over or a woman trying to shove her breasts into a shirt that is way too small. Without fail the fashion expert will make them over wearing clothes that fit their true proportions and nature, age appropriate and working with their natural bones. In the end they look more fashionable, approachable and walk with more integrity by doing less. The same is true of a house. You don’t have to be a designer to know that it just feels right. Keep it simple and work with what you have.

In continuing with my tour I found that the entry space was the most visible, but subtle departure from the original styling. The contemporary slat wall was crafted by a local artist, Craig Wies, using slats of rich Walnut. The choice was a personal statement and reflection of Brad’s upbringing in Pennsylvania and memories of building family homes using walnut off the land. To avoid isolating this feature they tied the wood into the entry flooring and the cap to the kitchen cabinetry.Originally, the home had no internal stairs to the basement. In removing the flooded and damaged laundry from this area and expanding it in the front they created an expansive entry and circulation area. As I toured the bedroom wings there was mention of the house having been expanded in one area to allow for a closet and other closets and doors being rearranged. If they hadn’t told me I would have thought it was all original. Again, it was seamless in its updating. This played out further in the den. Despite closing off an entry to the living space and rearranging a closet they were able to salvage all the paneling and place it back. The warm wood maintained the integrity of what was appropriate to the period and lifestyle keeping the contemporary and cozy feeling of the room while adding a needed third bedroom to the home.Overall, the house was clean, open and comfortable like most of the Bert King homes I have been in. I can’t say much more than they just feel right. Peggy states, “Some architects bring the outside in, but she feels that Bert King’s designs really bring the inside out.”  They definitely balance function and flow and make for a quality livable home for generations. Just ask the Holmes who plan to live a quality life in their own for many years. I commend them for their sensitve updating to this Bert King classic contemporary home and hope they inspire others to do the same.

Asheville Citizen Times – 1960’s House of the Week

Thanks to my friend and fellow mid-century enthusiast, Steven Chicurel, and his saavy scrapbooking skills I am recreating this article from the Asheville Citizen Times for their House of the Week. I immediately recognized the home as 4 Crowningway which I have toured. The plans and windows have been modified slightly from what was published. Notice the images from the original article in the 60’s and a few of my photos from two years past when this cool pad was on the market. Following is the original article. Realtor’s take note on some past room lingo!

Angled Styling Features Rasied Ranch

The split entry or raised ranch is a favorite with architects and home buyers who like a style that permits considerable flexibility of design.

Architect Rudolph A. Matern has utilized this available flexibility in his latest creation for House of the Week. Contemporary styling takes over in this unusual home, with the right side turned at an angle for dramatic effect, yet with no loss of practicality for gracious, large family living. It is impossible to view this house, either from the outside or the inside without being impressed by the striking placement of its components.

Although its over-all dimensions are a modest 71′ 2″ by 36′ 3″, it is a five-bedroom, three bath house with an amazing 2977 square feet of living area, not including a spacious deck porch, two other porches and the two-car garage.  And because of the raised ranch design, the lower level — with its huge family-recreation room, two bedrooms, a batha nd a laundry room — is higher than a basement, has larger windows and gets more sunlight.

The boldness of design applies to more than the angles plane. Note the impressive front entrance, with glass squares surrounding the door; the prow-shapped deck porch; the similarly-shaped living room with almost an entire wall of sliding glass; and the upper level reception hall, excellent as  a guest introduction area. And see how the garage is invisible from the front, its two windows blending in perfectly with the rest of the house.

The circulation is good and well-controlled from the flag-stone foyer to either level. An open balcony at the stairs adds a touch of elegance. Besides the previously-mentioned 18 feet of sliding glass, the living room has a large fireplace just off the reception hall. From this area it is easy to move out to the large deck porch at the front or, through the dining room, to the smaller deck porch at the rear, also accesible through sliding glass doors. The living room ceiling is the cathedral type which follows the underside of the rafters.

What lady could resist a kitchen 20 feet long, with every conceivable modern appliance? And there’s a curved wall at the second stairs in the house around which another open balcony is designed. The master bedroom has a bath and shower, a walk-in closet, two other closets and a handy vanity section.  Another bath is conveniently located between to two other bedrooms.  There are two linen closets in the hall.

Two more bedrooms are on the not-so-lower level, with a third bath nearby.  The family that lives in this house will never lack for plenty of recreation space. Not only is the family-recreation room a whopping 26′ by 19′, but there is an additional relaxation or what-have-you area on the adjoining sunken porch. A large storage room also adjoins the recreation room.

The two-car garage is wide enough to include a workshop and two seperated storage areas.

All in all, Design H-54 must be considered a house with plenty of space for a large family as as one with extra special styling.

Blast from the Past – Year 1960

Article from The Asheville Citizen, Thursday July 28, 1960

Minnichs’ Mix Contemporary With Tradional

What kind of house does and architectural engineer build for himself?  The home of S. Clinton Minnich on Sunset Mountain is a fascinating example.  Clint, an engineer, and Tony Lord, architect, two of the Six Associates, worked for a year in their spare time on the plans.  The Minnichs wanted a contemporary design as a background for traditional furniture and wanted to try new materials and new uses of old materials.

Marian says that people are beginning to call its location “Rotary Ridge” because so many members of Rotary Club live up there.  From the mail box where one turns off Old Toll onto Bent Tree Road it is half a mile to the house.  A walk at the left of the carport leads to a front door set between floor-deep windows with louvered glass above.  The exterios is stone from Flag Pond, Tenn, and oak siding.  Oak and firpanels on the “town” side are painted Delft blue, yellow, rusty red, black and white above and below aluminum windows.  Marian actually had nightmares worrying about the effects before they were finished.

Many things about the house are unusual.  The only conventional ceilings are in the kitchen and bathrooms, the rest are raftered with exposed beams bolted together with large iron bolts at the rooftree.

Room dividers separate living and dining areas from the entrance hall and breakfast from the laundry area in the kitchen.  This gives a feeling of height and spaciousness.  It also provides better circulation of air.  The whole place is practically dust-free because of the warm air furnace equipped with an electro-static filter.  Thanks to Clint’s efforts it can be washed out in a few minutes by merely turning a valve.

Another feature is the absence of plastered walls.  The whole fireplace end of the living room is stone, another wall is pine stained blue-green-gray and the rest is glass door and windows framing the western expanse of mountains.

Pine panels the master bedroom, 13 year-old Ken’s room and the rumpus room and Larry’s immediately below.  All of the oak floors are done with a dull, walnut wax stain instead of shellac.  Washable pink plaid fabric wallpaper and resilient black-streaked vinyl tile floor decorate the bath adjoining the two first floor bedrooms.

Great thought has gone into planning the large and workable kitchen.  The overall color scheme is grey and turquoise but cabinet doors are each painted a different color, picking up some of the soft deep tones of exterior panels.  Just think how convenient that would be to identify where something is – such as the salt behind the blue door.

The gray slate entrance hall and stairway lead down, beside a red brick wall, to the lower level.  Sliding wood panel folding doors open on a rumpus room with raised brick fireplace and whole wall of bookshelves.  Furnished with studio beds it doubles as a guest room.  To the left is a bath having a stall shower of beautiful red Tennessee marble.  Across the hall is a tiny efficiency kitchen.  When Marian’s parents, Capt and Mrs. K.B. Bragg of Annapolis, MD. Are here they like to get up early and prepare their own breakfast.  Frequently when entertaining Marian bakes a ham or turkey down there.  Of course the refrigerator is stacked with snacks for the teenage boys and their friends.

Larry, now 15, hopes to go into medicine, so bookshelves in his room are adjustable for large textbooks in the future.

Opposite is what every house should have, a workroom with built-in desk on one wall and huge deep storage shelves for luggage and “junk” on another.  Marian has made heavy draw curtains to conceal them, but mostly they are pulled back.  Her sewing machine stands open in the middle.  A phone with a long cord is accessible to the other rooms by means of a pass through.

Not quite visible at lower left of the picture is a door from the rumpus room to the small terrace, one of two and the front walk fromed of gravel heavily mixed with concrete to look like stone.  Above, out of sight, off the master bedroom is a redwood balcony supported by the house beams.

Like everyone who has built recently the Minnichs found that costs exceed the budget, necessitating elimination of something.  In their case they amputated a third bedroom on the first floor and workshop for Clint below.  Now they don’t even feel the need of them.

Note: Clinton Minnich was an engineer employed by the Six Associates.  The Six Associates were: William Waldo Dodge, Jr., Henry Irvin Gaines, Anthony Lord, William Stewart Rodgers, Erle G. Stillwell, Charles Waddell. Information couresy of Laura Hope-Gill.