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!”
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.
Works in Progress: Chapel Hill Architect Arielle Schechter, AIA, Announces Three New Residential Projects
December 12, 2017 § Leave a comment
RENDERING: PRIVACY FOR TWO
December 11, 2017 (Chapel Hill, NC) — Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, Architect, a full-service architecture firm based in Chapel Hill, NC, has announced three new residential projects, each with remarkably different aspirations.
Big House for a Big Family: Arielle Schechter, principal and founder, describes one of her newest clients as a “big, loving, blended family with kids and more kids on the way.” The family needs a generously sized modern house “for the rest of their lives,” she said, with plenty of space for the family as it is today and as it will be in the future as it expands with spouses and grandchildren.
One response will be a huge playroom to allow for ping pong, pool, and foosball “at any hour of the day or night.” The playroom will connect directly to the house and to the outdoors, allowing access to a future swimming pool. “This house is all about togetherness and family fun,” Schechter noted.
Privacy for Two: A husband and wife anxious to escape what they call a “soul-deadening” cookie-cutter residential development, have hired Schechter to plan and design a very private new home that will let them “just disappear into the woods,” she said. The “woods” she refers to are in Chatham County.
According to the architect, they are a modest couple and want a modern but simple, unpretentious, age-in-place design that let them live out their lives together in peace, away from the restrictions of a housing development.
One of Schechter’s inspirations was her clients’ request for “a sheltered place to sit outside and watch the rain.” In response, she has designed a deeply cantilevered roof where they can sit outside and enjoy the rain without getting wet.
A Doctor in the House: Schechter’s third new project is a modern residence for a doctor who teaches and practices at Duke University, his wife, and their son. The family moved to Durham from New York City. Their primary objective is a family home for three that maintains the parents’ connection to their young son.
One design decision directly related to that concept: a second-floor bridge that “floats” over an open, double-height living room. The bridge connects the master suite to their son’s suite, both of which are on the second floor. The lower level will feature the public spaces – living, dining, kitchen areas — and guest rooms that can double as an office or den.
For more information on Arielle Schechter and to see her built work as well as other “On The Boards” projects, visit www.acsarchitect.com.
October 16, 2017 § Leave a comment
has a host of projects underway these days. Among the residential work taking shape in her home studio and office, high atop Stillhouse Bluff in Chapel Hill, is a Modern Cabin out in rural Orange County, North Carolina.
A couple from San Francisco commissioned Schechter to design their Modern Cabin where one of their sons will live for a few years until they permanently relocate to North Carolina.
The couple asked the architect for a “sort of rustic but more modern cabin” that would become their permanent home as well as a family get-together destination optimized for comfortable visits with their two children.
Unlike stereotypical cabins, Schechter’s design expresses its modernity in materials, space, and architectural vocabulary. Abundant glazing will welcome sunlight and panoramic views of the wooded setting into the house. Under flat rooflines, the open floor plan will provide a natural, unfettered journey through the house and outside onto balconies and porches.
Like any well-designed cabin, traditional or modern, the structure will be efficient and durable. Schechter expects construction to begin this spring.
July 19, 2017 § Leave a comment
Designed by Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, this small, modern, age-in-place house will be featured on the Fall 2017 Modapalooza Tour.
“The Professor’s House,” a small, sustainable, age-in-place house overlooking Morgan Creek in Chapel Hill, has been selected for the Fall 2017 Modapalooza Tour on Saturday, September 16, sponsored by North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH).
Chapel Hill architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, designed the house for a retired professor of Native American Studies. A widow now, she wanted to downsize from her 3200-square-foot house and live with her dog in a modern, age-in-place house in a quiet, wooded neighborhood in Chapel Hill, NC.
She contacted Schechter because she’d heard about the Micropolis Houses®, a collection of modern “tiny house” plans Schechter designed that range from 150 to 1500 square feet and can be customized to meet specific buyers’ needs and preferences. In this case, the professor wanted to add a third bedroom/office and an extra bath to the Micropolis® plan she chose.
“A small house meant she could have things like a swimming pool, a Japanese soaking tub, and choose nicer elements for her money,” Schechter noted.
The final design is nearly half the size of the professor’s previous house. Yet at only a little more than 1600 heated square feet– almost 1000 square feet less than the average American house, which is now 2500 square feet — it packs in all of the professor’s spatial needs in an open, fluid floor plan with age-in-place functionality. Schechter calls it a “Custom-opolis.”
The Professor’s House is one of seven houses designed by award-winning architects on this year’s Modapalooza Tour, including projects by Frank Harmon, Phil Szostak, Tina Govan, Jason Hart, and in situ studio. (For all the details about the tour, visit http://www.ncmodernist.org/palooza17.htm.)
The Professor’s House is also in the running for a 2017 George Matsumoto Prize, which recognizes excellence in North Carolina modernist residential design sponsored by NCMH. Winners are selected by both a professional jury and public voting. (Public voting at https://ncmhcompetitions.squarespace.com/ ends July 20.)
For more information on The Professor’s House and architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, visit www.acsarchitect.com.
Photos by Iman Woods
January 19, 2017 § Leave a comment
Over 40 million monthly users that comprise the Houzz community chose Schechter and the other winners from among more than one million active home building, remodeling, and design industry professionals.
Best Of Houzz honors are awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service, and Photography. The Customer Service honor is based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews that a professional receives. (Click here to see Schechter’s reviews.) A “Best Of Houzz 2017” badge now appears on Schechter’s Houzz profile, along with the 2016 badge and a 2015 “Recommended on Houzz” honor.
According to Lisa Hausman, vice president of industry marketing, “These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area. Each of these businesses was singled out for recognition by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts for helping to turn their home improvement dreams into reality.”
Founder and principal of Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, Architect, the architect is perhaps best known for her modern, Net Zero Passive residential designs and her new Micropolis Houses® collection of modern, sustainable “tiny home” plans.
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