A Southern Colonial themed home created with a unique thought process. Building on a 2-lot site overlooking the Brookhaven Country Club golf course, our clients wished foremost to capture a bit of their native Louisiana. What would unfold over a year-long planning process was a home that projected the timeless authenticity of deep south architecture yet would incorporate in the most unobtrusive way the most up-to-the-minute sustainable building technology. The key to the former was the writing of “the Story of the House.”
In the past centuries rural homes of southern America, from modest structures to grand mansions, were often designed not by a trained architect, but by a master builder who relied on architectural style guides, showing the practical application of the Orders of the Classical Period and other useful geometry and detailing. The eventual prevalence of these structures formed our national subconscious for architectural good-taste and the effects are still felt today when we react positively to homes with good proportions, symmetry, and elegant simplicity. So to create a home with a sense of historic permanence we retraced the imagined steps of a simple plantation house, built in what was “then” rural Georgia in the early-to-mid 19th century: added onto in logical ways by a growing family and inheritance, and modernized right up into the 20th century with the conversion of the now-attached stable to embrace the automobile. The effectiveness of this method is proved at every turn: one experiences the symmetrical formality of the front house which gradually relaxes, passing through a brick-lined kitchen which at one time may have been detached for very practical purposes, finally arriving full circle at a colonial-themed three-season screened porch inspired by the rebirth of Williamsburg in the 1930′s. Porches were added and expanded, formerly exterior brick paving and clapboard walls became enclosed by window-lined connectors: each space has a chapter to tell in the Story. ::
Sustainability has come to mean in recent years tankless hot waterheaters, geothermal heating, radient floor heating, “smart lighting” controls – all devices used in this house – but more compelling is the rediscovery of the old ways and materials that made living in the humid south a little more bearable: the second level sleeping porch, composed on an east-west axis for maximum performance; the arrangement of overhangs and loggias to protect southern exposure. Rainchains can direct water to an underground cistern and light-absorbing paving is used inside and out to absorb heat by day and radiate out by night. Authentic materials are used where they have the greatest “touch”, such as smooth wood-molded bricks and saw-hewn cypress timbers, and the solid slabs of granite that welcome guests to the front door. Whereas only successful modern facsimiles are used where superior maintenance properties or cost effectiveness makes them indispensable, such as simulated slate roofing and wood-free trim in hard-to-paint roof dormers. Thus altogether making a modern home with charm and permanence: a Lifetime Home.