JD Prince Builder, Nantahala
The architectural concept behind this project on a top of a North Carolina mountain was to create a retreat where nature is in focus and which accommodates the leisure and luxury of vacation living, while flowing perfectly into the surrounding nature.
For that reason the house is not designed as one big volume, but consists of three interconnected structures. The Main House with a view of the lake and distant mountain ridges with living, dining and kitchen as well as the master suite, the Entry/Hall Building, greeting visitors with a view to the west oriented courtyard and the Guest House.
Surrounding terraces connect those structures and create a platform for multiple outdoor leisure spaces sheltered from the weather. The spaces weave in and out, framing panoramic views of mountains and lake to blur the boundaries between inside and outside. The mix of minimalistic detailing juxtaposing raw wood against white walls with tall glass panes and simple furnishings gives this rustic contemporary home its character. Large glass panes provide passive solar heating during winter, but in the summer trees shade the house thereby keeping it cool, and minimizing energy consumption.
The house is built with easily locally available sustainable materials.
While the project started with a research of historical styles typical for the area, the Mountain Retreat represents another take on the more traditional cabin of the region. Many of the local cabins even built now, are rather closing the nature out than inviting it in.
The house was designed as simple as possible to eliminate potential mistakes and misunderstandings between the contractor and the architect, taking into consideration the distance from the building site and not being able to supervise the site at all times. The fact that local builders might not be familiar with the kind of aesthetics the project represents was also taken into consideration.
The local builder and his team, who completed the project, were very open and willing to build in unconventional ways in order to achieve the look and feel the architect strived to create. In the end they did a top notch job, and contributed with their first class craftsmanship to the quality of the house.