New jobs brought Angela Hodge and Adnan Nasir from Chapel Hill to Raleigh in a quest for a new home that was convenient for their 30-minute commutes in opposite directions. After an exhausting search, the home they bought was literally about to be taken off the market. The home itself was nothing spectacular, but they loved the wooded neighborhood. They knew they had to significantly remodel or rebuild.
“The house on the lot was an early 90s builder-spec home, which failed to address the site’s steep lot and solar orientation,” says architect and contractor Erik Mehlman of BuildSense. “It was also falling apart and riddled with rotted windows, siding and trim.” They envisioned a new, light-filled, open, yet cozy, home. Inspired by the “atomic ranch” (magazine), they also wanted to incorporate green certification features and energy efficiency into the design. Environmental responsibility is a tenet of BuildSense.
They chose to build a new home on the site and the existing home was deconstructed. Parts and pieces were reused in the new home construction or donated for tax credits. Approximately 90% was diverted from the landfill. The new home made use of ICF (Insulating Concrete Form) construction. They chose to install a geothermal heating and cooling system and a roofmounted photovoltaic array for clean energy generation.
The design/build process took more time than usual due to existing wetland complications. “The final product was worth it. The clients were wonderfully thoughtful, articulate and exacting in their wants and needs,” says Mehlman. The 14-month build period included deconstruction of the existing home and installation of extensive landscaping.
The result is a home filled with wonderful spaces for the couple’s toddlers. The openness of the main floor living and dining area is awash with natural light. “We are still discovering the spaces,” says Hodge. “This is the amazing part.” From the quiet solitude of the “away space” to the third story “telescope deck” to the sitting wall in the front yard landscape, there are numerous places to get away and enjoy. “If I had to choose one space that was my favorite, it would have to be the main floor living/dining area and its opening connectivity to the large screened porch,” says Mehlman.
For decorating, the homeowner advises that if you see something that really grabs you, get it; it will work. “I love flea markets, consignment stores, TJ Maxx, artist co-ops and vacation finds,” says Hodge. “I have no decorating secrets. Decorating needs to speak to the needs of those living there. And it should change over time instead of being static.”
Mehlman’s design secret —“Natural light. It makes everyone feel better, everything look better, enhances the connection of the interior and exterior space and assists with energy efficiency.”