The Schultz-Popish residence was designed to do all we could to optimize indoor air quality and to be a setting to complement the owners' collection of contemporary American crafts. These photos were taken before the collection and furnishings were brought into the house, so the beauty of the furnishings wouldn't compete with the craftsmanship of the setting. The two benches in this photo are a hint of what was to come.
This home won the first place award for "Aging in Place, New Custom Home" in the 2005 Best in Seniors Housing Awards at the NAHB's International Builders Show in Orlando Florida. The judges were impressed by the way the universal design features were so seamlessly integrated with the design of the house as a whole.
The house is only 1820 square feet, including the heated breezeway, with an additional 400 sf in a guest cottage. There is no pressure treated wood, no carpet, no sheetrock, only formaldehyde-free insulation. All the floors are black and multicolor slate and travertine marble, and are heated from below with five different radiant heat zones. We chose stone for its great heat transfer properties and for its low embodied energy content. All the walls and ceilings are sustainably harvested southern yellow pine or knotty spruce (in the guest house). We used low VOC finishes throughout. An energy recovery ventilator provides fresh clean air.
Overview from the south
The house actually has more south facing glass than is recommended by the North Carolina Solar Energy Association however the tendency to overheat on the south side of the house is resisted by the design of the radiant floor system which was laid out in accordance with Dan Holohan's book "Hydronic Radiant Heating. " The radiant tubing in the floor circulates 24 hours a day and the temperature of the water is modulated by a hot water injection system that has 5 separate zones. When the sun warms the floor on the south side of the house in the afternoon that heat is circulated to the north side of the house even if the thermostat is not calling for heat. The master bath shower walls and floor are on their own circuit and stay warm all the time to cut down on mildew. The rooftop cupolas provide natural attic cooling.
Entry from North
The lower half of the siding is locally harvested natural stone. The upper half is cedar shingles applied one at a time. This more formal "Front Door" entry on the north enters into a sculpture gallery that is heated but finished with stone and shingle interior walls and lots of glass looking out on the pool and courtyard. A craftsman style entry door separates this room from the living space entry giving a dramatic but efficient airlock entry that also helps with managing the owner's dogs.
The floor plan was a joint effort between the homeowners (of course) and Sid Schultz AIA of Gwathmey-Pratt-Schultz Architects , brother of homeowner, who developed the preliminary drawings and space plan. Chandler Design-Build created the working drawings and specifications. Pete Lucey at Birdsong Design did the landscape design. We encourage our clients to seek advice from other architects, engineers, aunts, uncles and children. After all, it's not about our ego but your comfort in your new home.
Entry from the parking area
The parking area enters the house between the 1,820 sf main house and the 400 sf guest cottage. Most of the day-to-day traffic comes in and out through the parking area and the garage so the pool courtyard really becomes the hub of daily life. When the guest cottage is not in use, the thermostat can be adjusted accordingly to conserve energy. The 3'6" x 8'0" door to the screen porch was built on site to match the carriage house garage doors and the site built exterior storage closet doors.
The Granite Countertops were triple honed to give them a non-glossy appearance by Prescott Stone . We wanted to give this home an authentic, non-ostentatious, quality. So we tried to play down the showy elements while keeping the quality and respect for good design at the forefront of our thoughts at all times. The house is actually not very large at only 1820 sf, not counting the guest cottage. So we went out of our way to maximize the usefulness of the space. The kitchen sink has an offset trap pushed back against the back of the cabinet to optimize the usefulness of the under sink area. We used energy star appliances throughout to conserve energy with the notable exception of the Wolf Range.
The Rais Comba Wood stove was a bit too close to the cabinetry on the wall beside it so we shielded the cabinet with 2 ¼" broken edge sandstone slabs which we also used on the stove platform. The display shelves above are 3/8" plate glass on aluminum supports. All the cherry cabinetry in the house is by Bishop's Custom Kitchens.
The vanities in this house are designed to accommodate a person in a wheel chair. The house is what we call "visit-able" in keeping with the concept of universal design rather than "wheel chair accessible". The plumbing under the vanities is pulled back into the wall with "offset traps" to create a knee hole under the sink. The Porcher sinks we use protrude from the face of the cabinet to facilitate their use by a person with limited mobility. Additionally we have used all lever type faucets and doorknobs and the shower in the master bedroom has an ultra low "wheel in" shower curb.
The tub in the master bath is recessed into the concrete slab floor and wrapped in a cinderblock and steel surround that was then wrapped in granite by Prescott stone. The stone windowsill above was cut on site to match the stone shower curb. The walls and floor of the shower are heated 24 hours a day by the re-circulating domestic hot water system to reduce mildew and enhance the bathing experience. There is never any wait for hot water in the master bathroom. A small pump constantly circulates hot water from the master bath to the water heater and back with a small detour through the walls and floor of the shower. During the winter all the floors have radiant heat pipes to warm the house along with its passive solar features and the wood stove and back-up electric heat pump. The system uses seven thermostats to allow the owners to send the heat where they want it as they choose.
This is still the same Master Bath. The second vanity has mahogany cabinetry by Bishop's custom cabinetry. The window sill has a built in grab bar that is very securely screwed to the framing. Additionally there is hidden blocking in the walls in case hospital style grab bars should ever be necessary. A special niche was created to house a piece of art glass. It has a copper countertop that has been allowed to patina naturally and has a hole drilled in it with a cement board light box hidden underneath. The counter top has a touch switch dimmer concealed inside it. To turn the light on or off and to adjust the dimmer you simply tap on the copper.
Since construction the gardens and landscaping have been a major focus for the homeowners, Below are a few images of the landscaping from this fall, we are eagerly awaiting the spring to watch as the plants complete the house. Additionally the homeowners have installed an organic vegetable garden with an eight foot tall deer fence and a very long loop trail through the back half of the property which winds through the wooded hillside.