In this edition of Asheville Home Stories and as part of my exploration of modern homes in Asheville, I wanted to use this platform to explore the “Deck House” by detailing a local example. Prior to reading this you may want to take a moment to review my original post on the Deck House to capture the philosophy and design influences behind these high quality, mid-century styled homes. Even today the company still markets the Deck Houses with the following: Exposed Post and Beam, Rich Natural Woods, Relaxed Elegance, Harmony with Nature.
This house, registered as Deck House #727, is currently owned by Jeff Crawford, a freelance art director, and Guillermo Rodriquez, a landscape architect at LeisureByDesign.net. The pair was drawn to the cosmopolitan and entertainment quality of the home. The designer details and dramatic lines immediately appealed to their designer senses. It lives like a movie set with great flow and visibility from space to space and from arrival to the view beyond.
Shown below are the plans to Model 7127 from which their home was based. The upper level is identical to the one shown with the exception of being flipped. The lower level bedrooms were omitted to allow for a spacious garage. However, the area noted as Heater Storage Laundry was built out as the home’s fourth bedroom, laundry and lower bathroom.
As conceived the homes were systemized, packaged and shipped to help keep costs down, but were designed with a depth of quality in terms or space planning and materials. The architectural richness is evident upon entry. The front door, along with all the exterior doors are solid core Mahogany set within a mahogany frame and architectural grade European style, brushed chrome, lever handles, lockset and dead bolt. I know the last time I exited the home I found myself studying and running my hands over the screen door — admiring the hand crafted quality. My mind wandered to the feel of a vintage, luxury wooden boat. All full glass doors are bronze finish to match with insulating tempered glass. Interestingly enough the Deck House company exists today and you can still order replacements for all windows and doors. How comforting is that?
The quality wood and mahogany is carried throughout many areas of the home including the framing of the screened porch, interior and exterior window sashes, stair risers, handrails and even the baseboards. The interior doors are hung in mahogany sashes while the interior doors are made with oriental ash. The ceilings and window walls are a blend of mahogany millwork, cedar decking and Douglas fir beams.
Originally, the home was built with sound deadening insulation between the public and private spaces. Guillo and Jeff further enhanced that by installing cork flooring in the bedrooms to help soften the atmosphere of the bedrooms while enhancing the mid-century and natural feel of the home.
The warm materials through out this livable home mask the mechanical richness which includes all copper plumbing. There are a variety of heating systems including both passive and active solar, in floor radiant heat throughout much of the home and six mini-splits to further tailor the distribution of both heating and cooling. The efficiency of the home has been furthered by On Demand gas, hot water heaters. For emergencies there is a back up generator to keep the entire house up and running. And for pure luxury all bathrooms have been outfitted with heated towel holders. Keeping this cool home warm and cozy is a breeze.
As with all homes the kitchen becomes the heart. Guillo and Jeff were very selective in crafting a new kitchen that sets the tone for both the entertainment quality and the modern elegance of the home. They started by selecting a custom Scavolini kitchen to enhance the clean lines of the architecture. Maintaining the European quality they added a Fagor gas stove top, Fagor Dishwasher, Kuppersusch Convection Oven and Dacor refrigerator/freezer. The kitchen is topped off by warm, natural granite counter tops.
Externally, the house was sited and landscaped by renown architect Doan Ogden. Guillo and Jeff have the original hand drawn plans hanging on the wall of the home. One can immediately tell that the house wasn’t just plopped down on the side of a hill developer style, but Doan was mindful of making the home both easy to access and making it an experience that unfolds and reveals itself slowly from beginning approach to the final expansive view beyond whether walking through the house or around it.
Guillermo, being a skilled landscape designer himself, is very aware of the arrival sequences and worked to both thoughtfully edit and enhance the experience from outside to in — to outside again.
Overall, the mindfulness that went into the layout of both the house and the land over time creates expansive breathing room and an uninhibited stage for…well…the magic of living there. This magic is felt through witnessing the light penetrating deep into the house during the low winter sun, the marriage between indoors and out, fire blazing in the natural stone hearth opposite the cold snow, basking in the sunny warmth of the solarium on a winter day, fireworks and fireflies from the terrace Guillo designed, thunderstorms from the screened porch, the glowing and flowing quality of the home during festive parties, the view when they wake up and the view when they go to sleep.
In terms of being in “Harmony with Nature” and providing for a “Relaxed Elegance” this Deck House walks the talk. Jeff and Guillo have maintained and furthered this story through their own modifications. They get it.
I know many clients who would like to import designer, kit homes that we all see on Dwell and Houzz today. I, too, get stirred by the notion. Here we have a quality, architectural home that is just that. However, this home has also been graced by time, matured into its environment and enhanced by both life and experience. It is a designer blend of yesterday and today setting a rich stage for not only living comfortably, but for living…period.