Our clients asked us to build them a home where they could grow old gracefully. We created a single level house for them, sited to experience the full motion and beauty of the land. One end is grounded in the earth and the other floats above the landscape; the three-season porch nestles into the earth while the master bedroom floats in the treetops.
Undermountain House’s simple form is extruded across the sloping site. It’s simplicity and the expression of balanced weight and lightness is inspired by local farm structures, which have stone bases which anchor them to the ground, and light wood framing that engage with the surroundings.
The primary living spaces, including the master suite, are housed on one level in an open plan that allows for ease of mobility. The kitchen is built into “the house in the house”. The lower level contains guest rooms for the couple’s grown children, and can be used by caregivers. The guest area is placed below so that when it’s unoccupied it doesn’t affect how the house feels
Windows are placed to frame specific views; orchard, pond, woods. They allow for qualitative aging-in-place strategies such as copious daylight, views, and the ability to tell the passage of time by the movement of light across a room.
The house has triple the number of solar panels required, and excess energy is sent back to the electrical grid. It has soy based insulation and a high efficiency boiler, and roof runoff feeds the native plantings.
Simple, durable, materials with long lifespans are used, and the native ecology is minimally disturbed. The meadow and wetlands are untouched, allowing the natural runoff to occur; when it rains, the water runs under the house through a boulder strewn rain garden to the pond beyond.