CUSTOM BUILDER: “Light Touch”

April 25, 2019 § Leave a comment

Understanding these basics will help you create better lighting transitions

by Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA

Arielle's own house

Schechter’s own house (and dog)

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 HillModern CabinWhen “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

MillValleyRdAccording 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.

ARCHITECT BLUEPRINT: “House in the Woods. Very Modern and Extremely Green”

March 22, 2019 § Leave a comment

ArchBlueprintCover

This modern, Net Zero – Net Positive house is a customized version of one of architect Arielle Condoret Schechter’s Micropolis® houses, a collection of small, modern, sustainable house plans she continues to design that can be purchased outright or customized to accommodate specific needs.

Her clients, Cheryl and Ken Serdar, loved the original 950-square-foot plan but needed a bit more space. So Schechter enlarged to 2222 heated square feet to include a spacious, spa-like bathroom and a third bedroom that Cheryl could use for her office and jewelry-making studio. READ MORE…

Chapel Hill Architect Arielle Schechter Awarded Best of House 2019

January 28, 2019 § Leave a comment

In the Customer Service category for the 4th consecutive year

acs at drafting table

Once again,  Houzz® has honored Chapel Hill, NC, architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA(right) with a Best of Houzz Award in the Customer Service category.

As in years past, Schechter was selected for the 2019 award by over 40 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than 2.1 million active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals. The honor is based largely on reviews her clients submitted to the popular online platform – a total a present of 21 effusive reviews.

houzz badge“Best of Houzz is a true badge of honor as it is awarded by our community of homeowners, those who are hiring design, remodeling and other home improvement professionals for their projects,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “We are excited to celebrate the 2019 winners chosen by our community as their favorites for home design and customer experience, and to highlight those winners on the Houzz website and app.”

Arielle Condoret Schechter is perhaps best known for her expertise in modern, Net Zero/Net Positive Passive residential design. Examples of her work have appeared in a number of publications, blogs, and online galleries, including Architect, Architects + Artisans, Archinect, Architizer, Builder, Chapel Hill MagazineDwell, Freshome, Inhabitat, Raleigh News & Observer, Professional Builder, The Huffington Post, and TechHome.

For more information on the Chapel Hill-based architect and her work, visit www.acsarchitect.com.

About Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, ArchitectArielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, is a licensed, registered architect based in Chapel Hill, NC, who specializes in Modernist, energy-efficient buildings with special expertise in modern Net Zero/Net Positive Passive design. Her body of work includes her Micropolis Houses®, a collection of modern, green, tiny-house plans.  She is a lifelong environmentalist and began practicing green design long before it became mainstream. She is also a lifelong animal advocate. She lives in Chapel Hill with her husband, Arnie, and an assortment of foster animals in the Modern, sustainable house she designed for them. For more information: www.acsarchitect.com

About Houzz

 Houzz® is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a small room to building a custom home and everything in between, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community empowered by technology, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin, Sydney, Moscow, Tel Aviv, and Tokyo. Houzz is a registered trademark of Houzz Inc. worldwide. For more information, visit houzz.com.

Under Construction

November 1, 2018 § Leave a comment

Front with Veil

On the front of the house, a “veil” of cypress slats softens its presence within the wooded setting.


The couple was determined to escape the traditional, “soul-deadening” (their words) development where they lived. So when they met with Chapel Hill architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, they told her they were ready for a very private, secluded setting in the woods and a simple, modern, age-in-place house with every square foot custom-designed for their lifestyle rather than “the community’s.”

“We want a house just for the two of us,” they said. “We don’t want to socialize. We want to be left alone to enjoy our life.”

They also wanted the house to be Net Zero — using only as much energy as it produces by renewable methods — and knew Schechter specializes in modern Net Zero/Net Positive residential design. Another special request: Their new home must include a protected place where they can “sit outside and watch the rain.”

The house they described is nearing completion now on a secluded site in Chatham County. It’s a simple, compact house for two, plus a small bedroom for the homeowners’ son when he visits. The simple form, elevated where necessary to follow the natural contours of the land, is composed of three rectilinear volumes. Each volume is defined by its individual flat roof. Roof overhangs around the entire house protect the windows and the large expanses of glass that provide constant visual contact with the natural wooded setting.

Rear with colorOn the southern elevation, the house “is free to burst forth with colors and light.”


At the front of the house facing the approaching road, Schechter created a “veil” of cypress slats that soften its presence within the wooded setting. She limited glazing to two horizontal windows tucked up under the roof’s broad overhang.

For the completely private southern elevation, however, the house “is free to burst forth with colors and light,” she explained. The blocks of primary colors there are also architectural elements, recalling the Netherlands-based De Stijl movement of the mid-1900s. De Stijl devotees believed that harmony and order could only be achieved by reducing elements to pure geometric forms and primary colors – a very fitting idea for this house, she believes.

At the central volume is a large, deeply cantilevered roof that reaches out to the south. It shades walls of glass there and provides shelter for a very private back porch where husband and wife will be able to “sit outside and watch the rain.”

Towards achieving Net Zero, Schechter oriented the house to maximize solar gain, natural light, and natural ventilation (the latter when weather permits). She is also combining a small solar array on the roof with an over-abundance of insulation, sealed air gaps, an Energy Recovery Ventilator, cement board exterior cladding, windows, and doors certified for passive house construction, and the roof overhangs – all to assure that the house will produce as much energy as it needs.

Inside, zero thresholds, curb-free showers, and oversized doorways will be part of what will make this an age-in-place home.

A Modern Cabin Grows in Orange CountyModern Cabin Rendering


Also under construction now in central Orange County is the “Modern Cabin” Schechter has designed for a couple from San Francisco (rendering above).

Schechter has created a variety of spaces for the cabin suited to different moods, types of gathering, and connectivity.  A lofty living/dining space will connect on the second floor to a balcony for the upstairs bedrooms. The balcony will provide visual and social connection to the lower level.

The kitchen is also connected to the main space but tucked under the second floor on the north. Bright red tiles will give the kitchen visual warmth and energy, making it an inviting space for cooking and gathering.

The living/dining area, master bedroom, and office/study will have south-facing windows for natural light and views of the woods.

“My firm treasures southern lighting,” Schechter noted. “So we always give interior spaces as much natural light from the south as possible.

Newphire Building is the contractor for the cabin.

For more information on these are other houses by Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, visit www.arcarchitect.com

AECCafe: “Net Zero-Net Positive Modified Micropolis® House in North Carolina”

October 8, 2018 § Leave a comment

Net Zero Net Positive North Carolina house

(photo by Iman Woods)

by Sanjay Gangal

This modern, Net Zero-Net Positive house is a customized version of one of architect Arielle Condoret Schechter’s Micropolis® houses, a collection of small, modern, sustainable house plans she continues to design that can be purchased outright or customized to accommodate specific needs.

Her clients, Cheryl and Ken Serdar, loved the original 950-square-foot Micropolis® plan she calls “Happy Family” but needed a bit more space. So Schechter enlarged it to 2222 heated square feet to include a spacious, spa-like master bathroom and a third bedroom that Cheryl will use for her office and jewelry-making studio. READ MORE

ARCHITECT MAGAZINE: “Modern Net Zero Modified Micropolis® House”

September 11, 2018 § Leave a comment

1a.EXTERIOR

PROJECT DESCRIPTION