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This retreat home is located on Lake Chatuge, which straddles the North Carolina-Georgia state line.  The exterior of the structure is inspired by the verticality of the surrounding trees and the interior provides a restful environment from which the outdoors can be enjoyed. 


The design of the home considers the Dogtrot house, a vernacular dwelling from the Southern U.S. which historically consists of two cabins (one for cooking and dining and the other for bedrooms) with a breezeway between them.   The combination of the breezeway and operable windows create air currents which pull cooler outside air into the living quarters.  For the Dogtrot Update:  Vertical, each of the main spaces of the home – Kitchen, Art Studio, Bedroom, and Office – are stacked in section rather than sprawling in plan.  This allows the nearly 1600 square feet of interior space and an additional 800 square feet of exterior decks to take up only a 650 square foot footprint.   Open riser alternating stairs permit views and breezes at a reduced footprint than typical.


The natural canopy of leaves provides the initial shelter from the sun.   The major passive energy strategy for the home is the use of Trombe walls.  The void created between the corrugated glass (which helps to enhance the verticality of the design and also references the corrugated metal roofs of local vernacular buildings) and the concrete structure of the building itself is used to help with heating and cooling.


The interior of the home is designed to be simple, open, and clean.  The first level is accessed via a bridge which enters onto a porch extending the entire length of the house.  

The second level is a loft studio space open to the Living Room below.  The north wall opens completely onto a deck, doubling the amount of work space.  A daybed is built-in for daytime relaxing or overnight guests.  A full bathroom and storage space are hidden behind a wall clad in reclaimed wood.


Level three is completely open-air, inspired directly by the breezeways of the Dogtrot house.  This affords spectacular views of the surroundings as well as visual connection to decks on levels below.


The Master Suite Level features a large deck, clothes closet, laundry closet, and full, spa-like bathroom.  Aligned windows and doors not only allow breezes to flow through but also frame views to the exterior.


The top floor is the office and library.  Built-in shelves are designed to be consistent with the vertical theme.  Another daybed, full bathroom, and sliding screens to close off the view to the Master Bedroom allow this room to also be used by guests.

The Dogtrot Update: Vertical project was included in the SITE UNSEEN exhibit at the Spruill Gallery in Dunwood, Georgia from June 10 to July 23, 2011.  A review of the exhibit by Catherine Fox of the Atlanta Journal Constitution can be seen here:

"Site Unseen" at Spruill Gallery by Catherine Fox for the AJC



Level 1 Plan, View of Living Room

Level 2 Plan, View of Art Studio

Level 3 Plan, View of "Breezeway"

Level 4 Plan, Views of Bathroom and Bedroom

Level 5 Plan, View of Study