In the Ground and On the Boards: Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, Greets Spring with Modern, Custom Houses at Every Phase of Design and Construction
May 1, 2018 § Leave a comment
MASON-GRABELL MODERNISM (All renderings by Arielle Schechter)
A family of transplants from hurricane-prone Florida can’t wait for construction to begin this summer on their spacious, modern house perched on a hillside in Orange County. Cheryl and Ken Serdar are showing off their new, modern, Net Zero, Micropolis® house in Hillsborough, NC, during the 2018 Green Home Tour. And a husband and wife in Chatham County are anxious to “break free” of the “soul-deadening” confines of a cookie-cutter residential development, so they’re counting the days until they can move into their new, modern, Net Zero house also nearing completion in Chatham County.
Chapel Hill architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, a Net Zero/Net Positive Passive House expert*, designed all three houses.
Meanwhile back in her studio, Schechter is moving along with six more projects that span the first three phases of architectural design: schematic design, design development, and construction documentation.
Mason-Grabell Modernism (pictured at top)
Construction is scheduled to begin this summer on the spacious Mason-Grabell house. The family grew tired of fighting hurricanes down in Florida so they relocated to Chapel Hill, NC, where hurricanes are extremely rare.
Rising from a hillside with large expanses of glass on all sides, the Mason-Grabel house features flat, cascading roofs that crown specific interior spaces. Designed to touch the ground lightly and protect the site’s natural hydrology, “Mason-Grabell Modernism” will be one of very few modernist houses in its neighborhood.
Net Zero on Tour
“HAPPY FAMILY” (photo by Iman Woods)
Schechter always stresses that a smaller house allows homeowners to invest their money in elements other than square footage. In the Serdars’ house (above), that other element is a luxurious, spa-like bathroom with a curb-less walk-in shower for two, a custom cast-concrete trough sink, and a vanity area where top-quality tile rises up the high walls to the ceiling.
Otherwise, the Serdars’ relatively small house is deceptive. It appears to be a simple modern house with large, honey-hued wood soffits adding warmth and textural contrast to the precast custom concrete exterior walls. But this is a Net Zero passive house. And the design skills, technological and materials knowledge, and attention to details necessary to create such a high-performance house are anything but “simple.”
*Schechter welcomes the challenge, however, as she continues to add to her growing portfolio of certified Net Zero and Net Positive, Passive residential designs with what she’s dubbed the “Happy Family” house.
“They consider themselves ‘escapees’ from a rigid, traditional development to a lot in the woods,” Schechter said, referring to her clients who are moving out of a traditional development and into this secluded, Net Zero house (above) in the forest in Chatham County. (She noted that “breaking free” and “soul-deadening” are her clients’ words.)
Besides the huge emphasis on privacy, the couple told their architect that they wanted a “modern but simple, unpretentious, age-in-place design.” And they had one specific request. “A sheltered place to sit outside and watch the rain,” Schechter said as she pointed out the house’s deeply cantilevered roof.
Concurrently, Arielle Schechter is working through the schematic design phase for a house for two engineers in Harnett County. She’s also fine-tuning three houses in design development and shepherding two other houses through the construction documentation phase.
For more information on Arielle Condoret Schechter and to see additional examples of her built and on-the-boards work, visit www.acsarchitect.com.
April 5, 2018 § Leave a comment
Architect Arielle Schechter welcomes tour-goers to “Happy Family.”
The Serdar house, designed by Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA
The 2018 , sponsored by the Home Builders Association of Durham, Orange, and Chatham counties (HBADOC), will offer participants a rare opportunity to tour a customized , one of the modern, sustainable, customizable homes in a collection of small house plans designed by Chapel Hill architect . Originally the Micropolis® “Happy Family” house, this version will be open for public touring during the first two weekends in May (5-6 and 12-13), from noon to 5 pm. Schechter will be there part of the time to answer questions.
The homeowners are Cheryl and Ken Serdar, transplants from Texas, who told Schechter they wanted a “very modern, almost industrial house,” the architect said. They also needed one more bedroom than the plan offered for two reasons: (1) Cheryl Serdar is a jewelry designer and plans to work from home, so the extra room will be her studio; and (2) most banks require a third bedroom for loans (an issue that’s proving problematic for Schechter’s tiny Micropolis® plans. To date, she’s usually had to add one bedroom for future homeowners to obtain bank loans).
Like their architect, the Serdars are animal lovers who include cats in their household. For the cats’ pleasure, there is a “cat staircase” that leads up to a 12-foot-high platform “where the feline members of the family can go to observe their minions below,” she said.
Another customized deviation from the original plan is the spa-like master bathroom. Schechter designed it to explore ideas of what a luxurious bathroom can be. “Which ties in with my assertion that smaller houses let you put your money toward better quality in materials and details rather than more square feet,” she said.
Schechter names her Micropolis House® for certain inspirations they give her. She named this one “Happy Family” because the (original) two bedrooms are on opposite ends of the house with the “public” spaces in between. This floor plan provides family members with a central social area for being together and private places to which they can retreat, “creating the type of spatial variety essential for a happy family,” she said.
Speaking of happy families, the Serdars have two words for their new home: “Love it!”
March 25, 2018 § Leave a comment
March 16, 2018 § Leave a comment
When the young Fleischauer family met with Chapel Hill architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, to discuss the new house they wanted her to design, they told her they wanted something “very, very simple…reminiscent of the vernacular tobacco barns and farm cottages of old North Carolina” that would complement their commitment to healthy living. They also wanted their new home to be very environmentally responsible and “soft modern” with an open floor plan.
Schechter didn’t blink. She knew just what to do… READ MORE
January 23, 2018 § Leave a comment
For the third consecutive year, Arielle Condoret Schechter is honored for Client Satisfaction.
Architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, of Chapel Hill, NC, has been voted by Houzz.com as a winner of a Best of Houzz 2018 award, marking the third consecutive year she has received this award from the popular worldwide online community.
From among more than one million active home building, remodeling, and design industry professionals associated with Houzz, Schechter won in the Client Satisfaction category again because “your portfolio includes some of the most consistent reviews on Houzz in 2017,” the Houzz team informed her.
Expressing her gratitude for her clients taking the time to post so many positive reviews on Houzz.com, Schechter explained her thoughts on client services.
“While we’re working together, my clients and I form a type of family,” she said. “I care about them and their worries are my worries. Also, having built my own house, I empathize strongly with their concerns. It’s the most expensive thing they’ll ever own and I am very respectful of that.”
Founded in 2009 in Palo Alto, CA, the Houzz platform features articles, photographs, product recommendations, and a user forum along with professional profiles. The Best of Houzz awards are presented annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service/Client Satisfaction, and Photography. A “Best of Houzz 2018” badge appears on a winner’s Houzz profile to help homeowners identify popular and top-rated professionals in every metro area. For more information, go to www.houzz.com.
To see Arielle Schechter’s Houzz profile, including her clients’ reviews, go to www.houzz.com/pro/acsarchitect/arielle-c-schechter-aia. For more information on the architect, visit www.acsarchitect.com.