Our clients wanted the design of their new houses in rural Southwest Pennsylvania to celebrate the natural beauty of the surrounding area.
VMA conceived a “telescope” to draw the commanding view of the Allegheny Mountains into the living area. VMA also designed a “main house” and “guest house” whose features and finishes further ingratiate themselves to the outdoors.
As part of the house, 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. A generous shared entry hall, separating the two “houses,” 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 consists of stone quarried from the site itself. Many elements are also constructed from native wood. Clapboard siding is cedar. Windows and doors are all also wood. 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 cherry doors, trim, built-in shelving, and cabinetry add warmth and beauty. Lastly, instead of air conditioning, a series of operable high pentagon windows allow natural convection to ventilate the house.