When architect Jennifer Gosnell was retained to create a purposeful place for a young, Greenville-area family to spend weekends and vacations, with enough room to entertain friends and extended family, the obvious solution was not a one-room wide contemporary home construct.
But that’s exactly what worked. Because beyond space and style, this family also asked for something a little out of the ordinary, Gosnell explains: “Architecture.”
The result is a three-level home, with two master suites and a pair of kid rooms that are as outstanding as they are out of the ordinary, encased in glass with a focus on materials that captures the sunlight and the natural surroundings of the site, while incorporating the crisp, natural elements of classic midcentury modern design.
“This is meant to be a vacation house, and the bedrooms were designed with that in mind,” Gosnell says. In one of the masters (there are two of them) the closet is not enclosed, but rather open to the bedroom and hidden by a low wall that comes up about six feet. Doors are sparse to ensure maximum natural light.
Bedrooms can be smaller when the color palette is light and consistent throughout, allowing color to live in furnishings and accents where they should find more longevity. The exception to this neutrality can be found in the kids’ rooms, where “permanent color” is incorporated into home materials, rather than on the walls.
“The color changes are in the materiality of a cabinet and in the tile of the kids’ bathroom,” Gosnell says. “When the architecture is really strong, and it takes front stage, it’s easier to not feel like you’ve got to put a bunch of color on it.”
Fifty-foot lake setbacks created placement and orientation challenges, but by designing a home that is no more than 25 feet wide at its broadest point, it also presented an opportunity: “Sunlight. The sunlight in that house is ideal. You don’t get any dark rooms because you’ve got glass all the way around you.”
That combination of glass and wood, as well as prominent ceiling forms, designates it as classic midcentury modern. “But we created a completely original design that responded specifically to this site. That’s where the architecture sets itself apart.”
Other elements on display include LED lighting, foam insulation, and exceptional window technology—all of which makes the home extremely energy efficient. Windows were installed at standard sizes to accommodate standard roll-up blinds, all of which contributed to keeping construction costs down. Front-end planning involved interior designer Amy Emory who not only coordinated textiles and treatments to complement the architecture, but she also custom designed all the home’s millwork, for a truly integrated and individualized look.
“Especially in modern architecture it has to be a holistic approach to interiors,” Gosnell says. The end result is a small package with big impact.