For centuries, pastoral landscapes have dictated an archetypal country-cottage design response, but there are benefits in doing exactly the opposite taking a much more modernist approach.
This house, which is used by the owners during summer and fall, sits on a picturesque, 23-acre block of land in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Eric Gartner of SPG Architects says the owners, who were family friends, were familiar with his firm's work, and open to the suggestion of a modernist form.
"The owners agreed that they wanted a very discreet structure to orientate the arrival point," the architect says. "The house is reached by a long winding driveway through a glade in the woods, which ends in the sheltered forecourt. It is a very intimate, welcoming area the L shape of the house and the corresponding L shape of the wooded area enclose the yard. We also ensured the views are not visible from this point you only catch a glimpse of what lies beyond when you move up to the glass front door."
The dramatic, modernist form of the house owes as much to its siding as it does to its simple, rectangular volumes. Walls facing the front courtyard are clad in rusted corten steel panels. The rest of the main volume is wrapped by cumaru hardwood in similar color tones.
"The rusty red color of the steel and wood is the same shade as the red earth in this part of the Blue Ridge Mountains," says Gartner. "People often think steel is not compatible with a natural landscape it's not a familiar architectural vocabulary in a country setting. I felt it was important to make this house seem grounded into the landscape. So the house is very much the color of the deep red clay. These materials also define this volume as the main living space the garage, media room and guest suite below are in off-white stucco."