October 14, 2019 § Leave a comment
October 1, 2019 § Leave a comment
VIEW FROM THE KITCHEN AT THE CENTER OF THE HOUSE TO THE DINING AREA (RIGHT) AND LIVING AREA (LEFT) ON EITHER SIDE OF A TWO-WAY FIREPLACE.
The name Arielle Condoret Schechter has become synonymous in the Triangle with smart, stylish, Net Zero Passive houses whose modern horizontal forms appear as comfortable on their sites as the forests that often surround them.
Fans of this Chapel Hill architect’s work were pleased to learn that her most recently completed house — this one in Chapel Hill’s Beech Forest — will be featured on the fall “Modapalooza” Tour of modernist houses in the Triangle.
Sponsored by the non-profit organization North Carolina Modernist Houses, this fall’s “Modapalooza” will be held on Saturday, October 12, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will offer nine private homes for touring, including Schechter’s Mason-Grabell House on Mill Valley Road.
Schechter designed the 2465-square-foot house for Anne Mason and Bruce Grabell who moved to Chapel Hill from Florida. They wanted a modest and modern, environmentally sustainable, age-in-place home in a natural setting. They found the perfect property in Beech Forest.
Working with green home builder Kevin Murphy of Newphire Building Co. in Chapel Hill, Schechter designed the Mason-Grabell House to be extremely energy efficient now as it awaits a future solar array on the roof, which will take it easily to Net Zero.
Among the high-performance features Modapalooza tour-goers will see are Schechter’s favorite Passive House-rated windows and doors from Eurostar Fenestration® and the flat roof’s deep overhangs. The latter provide shade for the windows and overhead shelter for the porches and decks – the outdoor living spaces – that are key elements in all of Schechter’s residential work.
To meet the homeowners’ age-in-place goal, Schechter designed the one-story house to be “zero thresholds” from the walkway to the front door and throughout the interior: There are no steps and no tripping hazards, such as thresholds at doorways and shower curbs.
ARIELLE SCHECHTER CUSTOM DESIGNED THE BLACK WALNUT CABINETRY THROUGHOUT THE HOUSE.
On the front elevation, reminiscent of a cluster of orange Cosmos in a field of wildflowers, the house’s orange front door is a bold element within the horizontal panel siding and cypress accent wall.
On the rear elevation, a large screen porch appears to float out into the landscape. A wrap-around deck connects the porch to an outdoor grilling area.
Inside, an entire wall of the main living space is actually two massive, glass folding doors. While the house’s windows, strategically placed to avoid heat gain, provide visual access to the natural setting, the folding doors literally open the interior to the outdoors overlooking Beech Forest.
Aware that Anne Mason loves to cook, Schechter’s floorplan revolves around the kitchen — the heart of the house, both physically and metaphorically — with all other spaces having easy access to it.
And in the kitchen, as throughout the interior, Schechter custom designed all of the black walnut cabinetry. With its vivid grain and rich color, black walnut is both retro and regal and lent itself beautifully as well to the mid-century-inspired cocktail bar she created for a space beside the fireplace in the dining area.
The fall Modapalooza Tour is sold out, but NCMH founder George Smart encourages anyone interested to get his or her name on the waiting list in case there are cancellations. Click here for details.
July 14, 2019 § Leave a comment
By Lucy Wang • Photos by Keith Isaacs
When a couple decided to “break free” from their cookie-cutter home and realize their long-awaited eco-friendly dream home, they turned to Chapel Hill-based architect Arielle Condoret Schechter to bring their vision to life. With their grown son now out of the house, the couple wanted to downsize to a simple modernist home where they could peacefully age in place. Nestled in a secluded place in the woods of Chatham County, North Carolina, the resulting sustainable home is custom-designed to meet all their needs, from achieving net-zero energy to its modernist design with architectural elements inspired by the Netherlands-based De Stijl movement of the early 1900s. READ MORE
May 21, 2019 § Leave a comment
After receiving Best of Houzz® awards in the Customer Service category for five consecutive years (2015 – 2019), Chapel Hill-based “green” architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, can now add Top Rated Local® Architect in North Carolina to her growing list of accolades.
Top Rated Local® (TRL) is a national partnership dedicated to finding and promoting businesses, trades, and professionals that excel in overall customer/client experiences. TRL tracks, scores, analyzes and ranks them according to how well they satisfy the “five pillars” of customer experience — quality, value, timeliness, experience, and satisfaction – as expressed in customer/client reviews and ratings on popular, verified sites. For architecture ratings, the verified sites include Houzz, Facebook, and Google. The top rating at each site is five stars.
Schechter is best known for her modern, custom-designed, Net Zero/Net Positive houses that complement natural landscapes throughout central North Carolina. Ranging from 400 to 6000 square feet, Schechter’s houses are always featured on the annual Green Home Tour sponsored by the Home Builders Association of Orange, Chatham, and Durham counties.
She’s received international attention for her Micropolis Houses®, a collection of modern, sustainable, ultra-small house plans she designed. She sells the plans as they are or customizes them for specific clients. In fact, several of her completed and currently, under-construction houses are modified versions of Micropolis® plans.
And as rave online reviews from her clients attest, Schechter has gained a reputation for leaving a string of happy homeowners across central North Carolina.
“Of 25 ratings and reviews posted on verified review sites, Arielle Schechter has received dozens of reviews and an average rating of 5.00 stars. This earns her a Rating Score™ of 96.00,” said Rachael Walsh of Top Rated Local®. “That makes her the 2019 Top Rated Local® architect in all of North Carolina.”
In an article on www.topratedlocal.com, Schechter attributes her positive reputation to her sincere commitment to customer service, which she defines as “paying attention to the details, staying in touch with clients, being available for clients and supporting them at all times, making the process smooth, and caring deeply.” Myriad online reviews reveal the success of her commitment. For example:
“My husband and I have been living in our new modern, ‘green’ net-zero home…,since May [of 2018]. I am every bit as delighted with it — and even more so now that we are living in I — than from when Arielle first designed it. Arielle designed a home that is uniquely ours by listening to both what we wanted and needed in our home…Through Arielle, our ‘dream home’ has become a reality. We couldn’t be happier!”
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“Arielle… is a seasoned professional with an eye for detail second to none. She never left our side throughout the building process and was always quick to provide alternative suggestions along the way.”
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“I am amazed at how efficient [the plan] was! You literally put in everything we asked for, with no wasted space at all. I loved it, and still do.”
For more information on Top Rated Local® go to www.topratedlocal.com.
For more information on Arielle Condoret Schechter, visit www.acsarchitect.com.
May 15, 2019 § Leave a comment
When Chapel Hill-based architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, was asked to renovate a mid-century modern house in Durham, she quickly realized that her task would be to interject some of the key features of mid-century modern design that this 1940s house was actually lacking. And, in doing so, she would create an appropriate setting for an icon of modern furniture design. READ MORE
April 25, 2019 § Leave a comment
Understanding these basics will help you create better lighting transitions
by Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA
Most architects’ goal today is to optimize natural light in their buildings and houses so artificial lighting is rarely required during the day.
But what are the best artificial lights for nighttime and for the transition from daylight to sunset and from night to dawn?
To answer that question, you have to understand what comprises natural light. READ MORE
THE REAL DEAL: Chapel Hill Architect Contributes Two Extremely Green, Thoroughly Modern Houses to HBA’s 2019 Spring Green Homes Tour
April 23, 2019 § Leave a comment
Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, is quick to credit her clients with allowing her to pursue her passions for environmental stewardship and modern architecture – passions that have once again secured spots for two of her projects on the 2019 Spring Green Home Tour April 27-29 and May 4-5 throughout Durham, Orange, and Chatham Counties.
And again this year, Schechter’s houses will give participants a chance to tour the real deal: modern, ultra-energy-conserving, high-performance houses that rest lightly on the land and will produce all or almost all of the energy they need without depleting any natural resources.
“Because my clients are dedicated to sustainable design and construction,” Schechter said, “and because they’re such fans of modern design, they have been such an inspiration as they’ve allowed me to design houses for them that are Net Zero/Net Positive or very close to it. That, along with getting to design modern homes that fulfill my clients’ unique needs and dreams and enhance their lives — it’s an amazing feeling.”
Both of Schechter’s houses on this year’s tour are nestled in verdant settings deep in the forests of Orange County.
Modern Green Cabin, 5909 Running Green Road, Chapel HillWhen “rustic” combines with “modern” and “green,” the result is the Gouchoe-Hanas cabin (above), a Net Zero Passive house Schechter designed for a couple moving to North Carolina from San Francisco with two grown children who will visit often.
Among the many features that will fulfill its Net Zero function, this modern cabin features a roof-mounted photovoltaic array and battery storage, radiant heated concrete slab floors on the main level, EuroStar Fenestration windows and doors, and deep sheltering roof overhangs plus suspended sun shades to screen out the high summer sun.
Schechter designed a variety of spaces inside the house to provide for different moods and types of gatherings. The lofty living/dining space on the main floor connects visually and socially to the upper bedrooms via a balcony overlook. (Each guest room includes a private balcony.) The kitchen is also connected to the main space but tucked away under the second floor. And in the kitchen, Schechter specified bright red tiles “to give warmth and joyful energy to the kitchen, making it pleasant for both cooking and gathering.”
The living/dining space, master bedroom, and office/study all have large, south-facing windows to welcome an abundance of natural light and to provide panoramic views of the natural setting.
“South light is greatly treasured by our firm,” Schechter noted. “We always aim to provide ample south light in our spaces.”
NewPhire Building is currently finishing work on this modern green cabin.
Mason-Grabell Residence – under construction – 1505 Mill Valley Road, Chapel Hill
According to the architect, the Mason-Grabell residence (above) is “an extremely energy efficient house that will have a rooftop solar array to get us near Net Zero.” She designed it for a couple relocating from Florida to Chapel Hill. Among its many high-performance features are “my favorite Passive House-rated windows and doors from Eurostar Fenestration,” Schechter noted.
One of Schechter’s clients for this house is a gourmet cook and both love to entertain, so the kitchen was extremely important. To honor their passions, Schechter designed a floorplan in which the kitchen is the central “heart” of the house. All other spaces flow from the heart.
The prominent and most important exterior feature is a generously proportioned screen porch that appears to be floating out into the site. A wrap-around deck connects the grilling area to the screen porch.
The Mason-Grabell house should be complete by early to mid-summer, but it is complete enough now for tour participants to enjoy.
About the Spring Green Home Tour:
Sponsored by the Home Builders Association of Durham, Orange, and Chatham counties in North Carolina, the Spring Green Home Tour is a self-guided tour of houses located throughout the Triangle area. The tour allows the public to see advanced building practices and materials. For more information go to www.springgreenhometour.com.