Architect Arielle Schechter and Her Clients Introduce Modern, Minimal, Sustainable Design to Lake Orange Community.

June 14, 2021 § Leave a comment

Press Release: June 14, 2021 (Chapel Hill, NC) — Across the east fork of the Eno River in Orange County, six miles north of downtown Hillsborough, Lake Orange has attracted well-heeled homeowners to its shores for years, many of whom have built their very large, very traditional dream homes there. Many hardwoods and evergreen trees have disappeared in their wake.

Now another new home has appeared along the lake’s shore, nestled among the lofty trees, that is the antithesis of those houses. Designed by Chapel Hill architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, the Wolf-Huang house (above) has introduced modern, sensibly sized, and environmentally sustainable living to the Lake Orange neighborhood. Inside (below), it is the essence of minimal, reductive design — simple and serene.

Most of Schechter’s residential clients value light, livability, energy conservation, and spaces tailor-made for their lifestyles over ostentation and grandiose square footage. These homeowners are no different. In fact, the lake itself was fundamental to the conception of the 2677-square-foot Wolf-Huang house — views of the lake and sunsets over the lake, as well as the breezes that glide across the water.

To that end, she oriented the house on the site to face the lake and used large sliding-glass doors and windows to provide views and welcome the breezes in spring and fall. Windows on the street-facing elevation along with the house’s slim footprint facilitate cross ventilation. Clerestories in a roof segment above the main roofline — where a solar array is located — contribute more natural light to the crisp, all-white interior. Deep roof overhangs shade glass doors and windows from the high summer sun.

For the Wolf-Huang’s exterior, Schechter says she was Inspired by her love of Amsterdam’s colorful houseboats moored along canal banks — simultaneously luxurious and cozy. She’s made several architectural trips to Amsterdam to visit them. As a result:

“I think the Wolf-Huang Lake House feels as if it could be launched right into the Lake to float along the banks,” she says, smiling. “We hope our clients feel as if they’re on vacation all the time, except without crowded flights and long lines!”

BuildSense custom home builders in Durham served as general contractor for this project.

PHOTOS BY TZU CHEN

Under Construction: The Lerner-Campbell Residence

May 19, 2021 § Leave a comment

When these homeowners’ approached Arielle, they had grown tired of living with little privacy in their old neighborhood. They also wanted an exciting, “dramatic” interior.

The site they chose accommodates their desire for privacy while high ceilings and extensive glass will deliver plenty of internal drama in their new modern home.

Another imperative was a clear connection between indoors and outdoors. Arielle’s design provides that relationship through a massive curtain wall (floor-to-ceiling window) in the living room, a screen porch, a generously sized deck, and even a hot tub deck on a lower level.

​Another feature the homeowners will enjoy will be the main bath — “a spa and a retreat from the stress of the world,” Arielle said, adding, “We love designing special bathrooms that enhance our clients’ quality of life and enjoyment of their house.” 

To see more renderings of the Lerner-Campbell Residence, click here.

RESIDENTIAL DESIGN: “Design Lab – Baboolal Residence”

April 12, 2021 § Leave a comment

Front elevation. (Photos © Tzu Chen)
Rear elevation: “At the Baboolal House by Arielle Condoret Schechter, family hangouts on the deck overlooking the neighbor’s meadow are what restore the spirit.” ~ RD

By Claire Conroy, editor

Yes, there are custom residential projects where money truly is no object, but those are the exceptions to the rule. Unless your clients are bitcoin billionaires, there’s a limit to how much they can or will spend on their house.

Architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, understands this acutely. Her clients in North Carolina’s Research Triangle are ordinary people tired of their ordinary houses, and they trust her to keep their best interests at heart. That drives her to seek out value at every turn on her projects, trying to hit that perfect balance of budget, sustainability, livability, and delight. ..READ MORE

ATOMIC RANCH: “Net Zero: No Problem”

September 16, 2020 § Leave a comment

How a North Carolina architect created a private and environmentally sustainable home for a couple to break free of traditional living.

By Lauren Hofer | Photos by Keith Isaacs

Under Construction

November 1, 2018 § 1 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

INHABITAT: “Micropolis custom net-zero home generates all its own energy”

September 7, 2018 § Leave a comment

Net Zero Net Positive North Carolina house

Through form, function, and materials choices, the house is decidedly modern and “extremely green.” (Photos by Iman Woods)

By Lucy Wang

When Cheryl and Ken Serdar saw one of the homes belonging to Micropolis®, a collection of sustainable and contemporary house plans designed by architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, they knew they wanted a custom home based on the original 950-square-foot “Happy Family” plan. Taking into account the couple’s needs for extra space, Schechter designed a 2,222-square-foot dwelling that also offered all of the sustainable and modern design features defined in her Micropolis® line. Located in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, the custom net-zero home is the most energy-efficient residence that the architect has designed to date. READ MORE…

Modern, Customized Micropolis® House Joins 2018 Green Home Tour

April 5, 2018 § Leave a comment

Architect Arielle Schechter welcomes tour-goers to “Happy Family.”

Happy Family Micropolis

The Serdar house, designed by Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA

 The 2018 Spring Green Home Tour, sponsored by the Home Builders Association of Durham, Orange, and Chatham counties (HBADOC), will offer participants a rare opportunity to tour a customized Micropolis House®, one of the modern, sustainable, customizable homes in a collection of small house plans designed by Chapel Hill architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA. 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).

Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA

Homeowner and jewelry designer Cheryl Serdar on the construction site.

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!”

Click here for more information on the HBADOC’s free, self-guided 2018 Green Home Tour.

Click here for more information on Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA.

Click here for more information the Micropolis® House Plans.

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