Our clients wanted the design of their new house in rural Southwest Pennsylvania to celebrate the natural beauty of the surrounding area. Conceived as a “telescope” to draw the commanding view of the Allegheny Mountains into the living areas, a series of three gabled segments create the main living space which steps up to the view as it steps down to follow the natural contour of the site. The parti consists of a “main house” and a “guest house” separated by a generous entry hall, shared by both the owners and guests. The hall bestows a measure of privacy and allows the guest wing to be closed off when not in use. Outdoor terraces in a similar series connect the house to the site.
The exterior facade is comprised of stone quarried from the site itself and many elements are constructed from native species of wood. The clapboard siding is cedar and all-wood windows and doors were specified. The extra thick cedar shake roof gives the house a rustic quality. Designed to flow diagonally across and out of the “telescope,” the interior also makes use of wood to enliven the space. The naturally finished floor and ceiling are set off by the white painted wall surfaces. The cherry doors, trim, built-in shelving, and cabinetry add warmth and beauty to the experience of the house. Instead of air conditioning, a series of operable high pentagon windows allow natural convection to ventilate the house.