The design of Inchyra Farm represents a return to family roots for the owners, one of whom grew up near the beautiful north Georgia property.
Their interest in a sustainable lifestyle, organic gardening, viticulture, aquaculture and sustainable land use completely inform the design solution. The open site was formerly agricultural land, the context is rural and primarily farmland.
The master plan of the 10-acre site includes locations of the main house, guest house, greenhouse, a pond for viticulture, orchards, crops, gardens, a labyrinth, privacy screenings of native plants, paths and gravel roads linking the various site functions. Southern views toward the mountains of the Chattahoochee National Forest were paramount in location and design of the house.
The one-room-wide shotgun design of the house combines southern vernacular concepts of cross ventilation and livability. A traditional dogtrot transects the middle of the house as main entry on one side and open patio living on the other. The open east wing of the house comprises the day-to-day living areas while the west wing houses guest, laundry, shop, gym and mud room functions.
The house is a study in energy conservation, economy of materials and minimalist design. Passive and active features are incorporated throughout. The east/west linear orientation is ideal for the home’s southern climate. Extensive eaves shelter south facing glazing (toward the site’s mountain views) in summer but allow winter sun to warm the concrete slab floors. North facing walls are comprised of insulated concrete masonry units utilizing thermal mass to retain investments in heating and cooling and also providing a sound and privacy barrier toward the adjacent highway.
The shop and circulation areas of the house are unconditioned, relying on cross ventilation in summer and thermal mass in winter for comfort control. Total conditioned space for the house is, as a result, less than 1,700 square feet.
A geothermal heat pump system with variable speed recirculating loops is incorporated into the design. The zoned geothermal system serves an air distribution systems in portions of the house for cooling and dehumidification. In winter the geothermal heat pump system also controls a hydronic floor heating system. Hot water is provided through a desuperheater coupled to the geothermal system. Energy Recovery Ventilation is incorporated throughout.
Photo Credit: Fredrik Brauer