Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
Completion Date: 1998
Project Team: Frank Harmon
Our clients wanted to build a new house in an existing 1950s neighborhood where most of the neighboring houses were small bungalows and ranch houses. Although the new house would be larger than other houses nearby, we wanted it to fit comfortably in its context.
Our Design Response
We designed the house to be long and trim, with its small, two-story gabled end facing the street. The 2300-square-foot house is covered in wood shingles and takes its place as a good neighbor on the street.
Inside, the heart of the house is the kitchen, with its lima-bean-shaped island of Brazilian granite that also serves as a dining counter. A dining alcove, beyond the main living room, and a niche for listening to music complete the great room, which is open to a family office situated in a loft overlooking the space. A “sleeping porch,” once common in North Carolina, is perched above the trees near the loft office. Kitchen, living room, loft, and sleeping porch combine to create a delightful family experience.
Between the living room and kitchen, a short flight of stairs leads to a long hall that runs the length of the house. The children’s bedrooms and bath are situated off the hall to the right. Each features a window seat (canted out beyond the exterior wall) and, thanks to tall ceilings, a spiral staircase that rises to lofts where toys, desks, etc. are kept. Along the hall’s left wall, a continuous row of windows allows sunlight in by day, moonlight at night, and ample ventilation during pleasant weather. A right-turn “jog” at the end of the hall, past a door leading to the garage, finds the master bedroom (and large, adjoining bath), complete with a gas-log fireplace where the children gather for hot chocolate every morning before school. The parents’ bedroom also includes a canted widow seat and loft space.
“This house just wraps its arms around us. That’s exactly how it feels.” – Gigi Karmous