Mountain and Lake Home Curb Appeal
Written September 7, 2012 by Hendricks Architecture: Tom Russell, Architect LEED AP • Filed Under Architecture
, Mountain Architecture
Mountain and lake homes don’t usually have curbs, but the phrase “curb appeal” still applies. There are few among us who haven’t driven, walked, or even boated by a nice neighborhood and admired the beautiful houses. Everyone appreciates a well designed home with pleasing proportions, balanced massing, well placed windows, and coordinated materials. A nice looking house draws the attention of people passing by, and especially catches the eye of prospective home buyers.
Subtle Curb Appeal - A Mountain Home in Winter
Having a home that meets your spatial requirements, functions well, and doesn’t cost too much for operation and maintenance is important, and any new home design should be able to accommodate these basic requirements. According to a recent survey conducted by Professional Builder magazine, respondents indicated that the most popular criteria people used to decide on whether to buy a property was the exterior look of the home, or its overall design and curb appeal.
While this is not a shocking discovery, it is worth noting that despite recent challenges in the housing market, people still value nice looking home exteriors and are willing to spend extra to have a home that looks good from the street. Despite what the term “curb appeal” suggests, the best aspect of a home’s exterior isn’t always the side that faces the street, and sometimes it makes sense to enhance the curb appeal of a home as seen from other vantage points. This is often the case on waterfront homes we design, and should also be considered for homes that front on a golf course, ski slope, or public park.
This lakefront home's roofline has its own subtle curb appeal
Most of our clients, now and in the past, are building homes that they want to live in for a long time. In general, they place a high value on having a home that looks good to them, their guests, and to the other residents in the neighborhood. Creating a home with enhanced curb appeal not only leads to greater owner satisfaction, it also gives the property an advantage when it comes time to sell. It is likely that a good looking home designed by a creative Architect will appeal to a new buyer as much as it did to its current owner, and that the perceived value of good design will be realized in the form of a higher contracted sale price.
Designing a home may seem like it is not difficult to do, and in the case of a basic box shape with a simple roof that may well be true. Many people who have built homes think that since they know how all the pieces go together they can design a nice home, and I’ll admit to thinking the same thing when I built homes before becoming an Architect. However, the process of creating even a moderately complex home requires very careful attention to spatial arrangement, building form, proportion, materiality, detailing, and the buildings relationship to the site. Architects have extensive training and experience in contemplating these “right brain” aspects of design and resolving them with the nuts and bolts requirements imposed by material limitations, building codes, budgets, and zoning restrictions.
What gives a home its curb appeal is subject to individual preferences, but most people would agree that the exterior presentation of a home conceived of by a skilled Architect is unmatched when measured against a similar home designed by someone with lesser credentials. Most people know better than to seek investment advice or trust their money to someone without extensive training in financial management. It seems logical to suggest that the same should hold true for choosing an Architect, to help you realize the best potential from what may be your most valuable asset, your home.
Tom Russell, Architect, LEED AP
Hendricks Architecture specializes in mountain and waterfront homes. Our home designs have been featured in and on the covers of various periodicals, including Mountain Living, Timber Home Living, Cabin Life, and Cowboys & Indians. Please visit our projects page for examples of some of our most recent projects.
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Outdoor Living Spaces for Mountain Homes
Written June 14, 2012 by Hendricks Architecture: Tom Russell, Architect LEED AP • Filed Under Architecture
, Mountain Architecture
Throughout its evolution, Mountain Architecture has held true to the basic idea that spending time outdoors is an essential part of quality living. One of the primary goals we strive for in designing mountain homes is to create a strong connection between the built environment and the natural landscape. In the ideal, a quality home should provide a sanctuary from the elements when necessary, and at the same time be able to open to the outdoors when conditions allow. Inhabitants should feel like they are a part of the surrounding environment, not isolated from it.
Mountain Home Outdoor Living: Decks, patios, bar, fire pits and spa
A well designed home for mountain living should be hewn from the materials at hand, harmonize with the landscape, and offer the inhabitants quality spaces both indoors and out. Depending on the local climate, covered and uncovered outdoor spaces can be mixed to provide a variety of options for relaxing, entertaining, eating or watching the sunset. In moderate climates, outdoor living rooms and kitchens can provide all the conveniences of modern life without the constraints of walls and windows. Recent trends show that homeowners place a high value on quality outdoor spaces.
Trellis over Outdoor Living Space
In just about any climate, covered outdoor space is a virtual necessity. It opens up the option to be outside when the weather isn’t great, offers a shaded place to relax on a hot sunny day, and also allows for a storage space that can be utilized year round. In many mountain and lake environments, bugs can be a deterrent to otherwise hearty lovers of the outdoors, especially in the evening. We have been designing a lot of homes with screen porches lately, including one that utilizes Phantom screens, an innovative system that rolls up and out of sight when it’s not needed. I’m particularly fond of a hallmark of old Adirondack camps – the screened sleeping porch. These seem to have lost popularity in modern times, perhaps due to the widespread use of air conditioning.
Porches, patios, and decks are another common feature in the mountain and lakefront homes we design. When the weather is good, nothing beats sitting outside reading or having a nice meal. If a home site has good views and it works with the design, we often add upper level decks or balconies to offer the occupants a place to get off the ground and enjoy an enhanced view of their world. We typically include a covered front porch as well, which offers a venue to engage with visitors and should be considered as an important social element of any home.
A Small Covered Front Porch with Mountain and Lake Views
Many of our clients want outdoor spas or hot tubs, and a deck or patio is the ideal spot to relax and have a nice soak. Some might be deterred by the thought of heading outside on a cold winter’s night to get wet, but for those willing to brave a little discomfort it can be a rewarding experience. For homes in places that have significant winter precipitation, I recommend locating a hot tub under cover but open to the outdoors. You will get a lot more use out of it during unpleasant weather, and if you put a clear roof over it or keep the roof high, it still feels like you are out in the open. My opinion was validated this winter when I watched numerous hot tubs become hopelessly buried under Schweitzer’s record snows.
Covered Patio Spa and Bar
We, like most residents of mountain resort towns in the West, live here because we enjoy being outside and connecting with the natural world. An important element in the quality of life we enjoy is the proximity to incredible outdoor environments, often right out the back door. In acknowledgement of this, we strive to create beautiful, sturdy homes that allow the inhabitants to live comfortably indoors or out regardless of the season.
Tom Russell, Architect
Bridge to Stone Deck
Hendricks Architecture specializes in the design of timber mountain style homes and cabins. Most of the homes we’ve completed are in mountain resort areas throughout the West, and have been featured in Timber Home Living, Mountain Living, Cowboys & Indians, Cabin Life and other publications. If you are interested in a mountain home, or you have any other inquiries, please contact us.
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Lakefront Mountain Home in Northern Idaho
Written March 12, 2012 by John Hendricks, Architect AIA • Filed Under Mountain Architecture
A lakefront mountain home Hendricks Architecture designed was recently built in Northern Idaho. The home faces north looking over Lake Pend Oreille, with great views of Sandpoint, Schweitzer Mountain Resort, and the Selkirk and Cabinet Mountains.
Lakefront Mountain Home
The property included an outdated lake home. The layout of the existing home and view corridors didn’t work for the owner’s tastes, and wasn’t very energy efficient, so they decided to tear it down and start over. The Owner’s mountain style home wishlist included a rustic, yet refined look on the exterior, with cedar, stone and timbers. They wanted the interior a little more modern and cozy, with well done finishes, and higher ceilings. They also wanted views from all the major rooms.
The existing home didn’t get any winter sun, so they wanted to bring in as much natural light as possible, while still maintaining some privacy. We designed in a cupola (held up by timber trusses) and a couple of dormer windows to add more natural light, along with other windows. I knew we succeeded when I showed the house to a client and they asked me why I didn’t turn the lights off when we were leaving. When I replied that they in fact were off, they gave me that wide-eyed wow look that’s always fun to see.
Two existing garages were kept, one of which was connected to the new house and given new exterior materials. A third garage was torn down to make space for construction materials, as it was a tight lot with limited access. A long mudroom/laundry/pantry connects the garage to the house. A great room, which includes an open kitchen, dining, and living areas, has breathtaking views out to the lake. The master bedroom also has great views, along with its own fireplace, and a large nook for her desk and bookshelves.
In the daylight basement below are bedrooms, an exercise room and office. The guest bedroom is a favorite, and it looks out between massive stone pillars forming an arch, which frames the water and mountain views. Because the home is on a fairly steep slope (about 30 degrees), the basement sits back against the hill. We designed mechanical and storage in the rear, and included a wine room that is so naturally cool year round that a refrigeration unit isn’t necessary.
The home was built jointly by Dan Fogerty of Sandpoint, Idaho and Denman Construction of Whitefish, Montana. Photos by Marie Dominique Verdier.
John Hendricks, AIA Architect
Hendricks Architecture, Idaho mountain architects specializing in mountain style lakefront homes and cabins. Subscribe to Hendricks Architecture’s Blog.
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Adirondack Style Architecture
Written November 23, 2011 by Hendricks Architecture: Tom Russell, Architect LEED AP • Filed Under Mountain Architecture
The Adirondack Style has had a strong influence on much of the Mountain Architecture we enjoy today. When I was growing up in the Adirondacks, I knew very little about the rich history of the area. Now, traveling back there as an architect with a lot more knowledge of the natural and built environment, I am able to really appreciate a lot of the things that I hardly noticed when I was younger. One of the things I enjoy the most is checking out the Adirondack style camps that have become iconic symbols of the region, especially the ones that are built along the shores of the numerous lakes. My favorite place to go to learn about Adirondack history is the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, New York.
Until the late 1800’s, most of the Adirondacks were a rugged wilderness that few dared to venture into. As transportation routes slowly became established later in the 19th century, wealthy city dwellers started taking extended vacations there to recreate and escape from unhealthy urban environments. Early Adirondack accommodations were primitive at best, and as the demand increased more civilized shelters started appearing. The remoteness of the Adirondacks necessitated the use of indigenous materials for building, and abundant supplies of timber and stone made them the obvious choice. Sawmills and sophisticated fasteners were rare, so whole or half logs in easy to handle sizes and creative joinery became a part of the building process out of necessity.
Early Adirondack Cabin
As railroads started to penetrate the Adirondacks, many of the wealthiest industrialists of the time sought refuge in the clean air, numerous lakes and beautiful scenery of the area. They built grand lake lodges to house themselves and their guests, often as small campuses with separate outbuildings for sleeping or utility purposes. These so called “great camps” were built in a similar style using local materials and craftsman, and many of them are still standing and in service today.
Camp Pine Knot, the first of the Adirondack "Great Camps"
William West Durant, son of railroad magnate Thomas Durant, is often credited with developing the Adirondack style, though some of the signature elements of the style had been used for some time in early Adirondack buildings. Here is an excellent short PBS video on Adirondack Great Camps.
The great camps exemplify the Adirondack style, which has influences from the Arts & Crafts movement, the Shingle style, and Swiss chalets. Rustic elegance is the hallmark of the style, achieved through artful use of native materials left as close to their natural state as possible. Common exterior elements include unpeeled cedar log siding and railings, square pane divided light windows, indigenous stone, intricate twig work, and ornate gable decoration. The cedar log railing below was built by RP Ledger Construction of Lake Placid, NY.
Highlights of interiors include granite boulder fireplaces, birch bark wallpaper, fir bead board for wainscot and ceilings, and furniture crafted from small diameter unpeeled logs, bark and rough edged boards. Bedroom below by RP Ledger Construction.
Another common characteristic of the Adirondack style is buildings that harmonize with their surroundings. When the early great camps were constructed, large earth moving equipment was not available, and the rugged landscape forced the buildings to fit the land. The use of natural materials and earth tone colors helps to make true Adirondack style buildings appear to be part of the landscape, and the focus on recreation and outdoor living emphasize a connection to nature.
In classic Adirondack style, this grand lake home (photo below, also by RP Ledger Construction) is unassumingly tucked back into the forest. Unpeeled Eastern White Cedar railings and rustic timbers grace the exterior of this Adirondack lodge home.
Adirondack Lodge Home
No Adirondack camp is complete without a covered deck, and screened “sleeping porches” are common for warm weather use.
Adirondack Sleeping Porch
The Adirondack style is not strictly an east coast vernacular. Adirondack style homes and furniture can be found in many of the mountainous areas of the country. The Adirondack chair has become a fixture on cabin porches and docks all across America. Perhaps the most visible adaption of Adirondack style can be seen in some of the National Park lodges in the western United States. The Old Faithful Inn, Glacier Park Lodge, and The Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite are among those with influences from the Adirondack style.
Old Faithful Inn Exterior Detail
So called “Parkitecture” is a regional adaptation of the basic concept of using indigenous materials to create grand buildings that offer rustic luxury and promote engagement with the outdoors.
At Hendricks Architecture, we specialize in designing western mountain style lodge homes that take some inspiration from the Adirondack style. Having grown up in the area and worked on some old Adirondack camps when I was a young carpenter, I have a deep appreciation for the style. I am fond enough of it that I have designed an Adirondack style cabin that I plan to build on my property here in Sandpoint, Idaho. Anyone who has been to both the Adirondacks and North Idaho will know how similar the two places are. I think an Adirondack style lodge or cabin would be a great fit for the heavily forested lake country of the Idaho Panhandle. If you have an interest in an Adirondack style home or any other Arts and Crafts inspired mountain home style, we would love to talk to you about your plans.
Tom Russell, Architect, LEED AP
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Choosing Windows for Your Home
Written October 8, 2011 by Hendricks Architecture: Tom Russell, Architect LEED AP • Filed Under Energy Efficiency
, Mountain Architecture
From an Architect’s perspective, windows are one of the most important elements that goes into a typical home, and the choice of which windows to use should not be taken lightly. Windows perform many important functions in residential buildings – they are part of the exterior envelope that keeps inhabitants separated from the elements, they provide a visual connection with the outside world, they let in critical natural light, and they can be used to help ventilate or passively heat and cool a space. We also expect them to look good, function flawlessly, last forever, and coordinate with the exterior and interior materials.
Lakefront Home with Aluminum Clad Wood Windows
Modern building codes have minimum energy efficiency standards for windows, and these have been getting more stringent in recent versions of the code. Quality windows are a critical component in an energy efficient home, since most of the heat loss (and gain) in a well insulated building occurs through windows and doors. However, good windows are expensive, and cost is usually a major factor in the deciding which type of window to use. I always advocate for using the best quality windows that the budget will allow, even if it means compromising elsewhere.
Mountain Home with Aluminum Clad Wood Windows
The residential window business is highly competitive and there are constant innovations that Architects and builders try hard to stay current on. Here are my observations and opinions on some of the window options out there.
Vinyl windows have become something of an industry standard in lower to mid level homes, and are even sometimes used in more upscale custom homes. Because they are the most affordable of the pre-manufactured window options and are relatively easy to make in custom sizes, vinyl windows have become extremely popular, especially for replacement windows. On the plus side, all but the cheapest vinyl windows are reasonably energy efficient and meet minimum code requirements. They also won’t rot or require any maintenance.
In my opinion, vinyl windows have many disadvantages – the frames sag over time, the profiles are usually clunky and unattractive, the grids look fake, and vinyl as a material is environmentally harmful and contributes to bad indoor air quality. Sun deteriorates vinyl over time, leading to it becoming weak and brittle. Until recently, vinyl windows were available in any color you wanted, as long as you wanted white or tan. Now Jeld-Wen has vinyl windows available in 8 standard colors with a custom option to have them painted any color. I don’t advocate using vinyl windows except when the budget is super tight or in a replacement situation where custom sizing better windows would be cost prohibitive.
Home with Vinyl Clad Wood Windows
Vinyl clad wood windows are better than pure vinyl windows because the frame is made of wood with a protective vinyl cover on the exterior portion of the window. While they still look like vinyl windows on the outside, the interior is natural wood and it is hard to tell them from true wood windows. They combine the low maintenance of vinyl with the beauty and strength of wood. As you might expect, vinyl clad wood windows are priced in the mid range and are a good choice when the budget allows a quality upgrade from pure vinyl. Some companies offer Fiberglass Cladding in lieu of vinyl. Fiberglass is a more durable option that is available in more colors than vinyl.
Waterfront Home with Aluminum Clad Wood Windows
Aluminum clad wood windows are the standard of quality in modern residential construction. They take the time tested all wood window that has been used in quality homes for the last 100 plus years and eliminate the largest disadvantage – exposed wood on the exterior that deteriorates quickly and requires frequent maintenance. Modern clad wood windows are built to high standards of energy efficiency and their performance can be further upgraded by opting for different glazing choices. The exterior cladding is formed to different profiles, depending on the manufacturer and the product line you choose. Cladding color choices are extensive, and the best windows have 20 – 30 year warranties on the paint used for the cladding, which makes them maintenance free and very long lasting. In my mind, clad wood windows are the obvious choice when superior energy performance, longevity, and good looks are important considerations.
An Aluminum Clad Wood Window Section
All wood windows perform similarly to clad wood windows, with the exception that the exterior is exposed wood rather than clad with aluminum. While the energy performance of these units will be the same, they are more susceptible to weathering and require frequent painting or staining. They look great, especially on rustic and some traditional style homes, but I would only recommend using them when the aesthetic of the home requires. If all wood windows are used, it is a good idea to provide large overhangs or other means to protect them from sun and precipitation. Humid climates may necessitate using more durable (and costly) wood species, such as Honduran Mahogany, Verante or Teak.
Wood Windows on a Mountain Home
Hurd, a Wisconsin manufacturer of quality windows, is currently marketing a hybrid window called the H3. It combines aluminum cladding, a vinyl core frame, and wood interior. Installed, it looks just like a clad wood window because the vinyl is used in places where it doesn’t show. Advantages of using vinyl are increased stability, better rot resistance, and lower cost. I have yet to see these windows installed on a project, but it is an interesting idea and may be a good option for projects that require quality windows at a mid level price point.
Windows are an important architectural and functional element of any home. If you are building a new home, an addition, or replacing old windows, buy the best you can afford and pay careful attention to installation details. It may be worth checking for federal, state, or utility company incentives for energy efficient upgrades.
Tom Russell, Project Architect, LEED AP
Hendricks Architecture, mountain architects in Sandpoint, Idaho. Windows are a big part of our initial designs, helping the overall aesthetics, curb appeal, views, energy efficiency, UV control, and other considerations. Subscribe to Hendricks Architecture’s Blog
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Sandpoint Mountain Home on the Cover of Timber Home Living
Written July 16, 2011 by John Hendricks, Architect AIA • Filed Under Mountain Architecture
A home Hendricks Architecture designed at The Idaho Club in Sandpoint, Idaho is the cover story in the August 2011 issue of Timber Home Living Magazine. It is a good example of the Mountain Architecture style we design, employing the use of big timbers, rustic siding and indigenous stone to blend mountain homes and cabins into their natural settings. More information and photos on this home can be seen on Mountain Style Home in Sandpoint, a previous post of ours. The cover shot and accompanying photos were taken by Karl Neumann Photography. The contractor was Pucci Construction.
Sandpoint Mountain Home on the Cover of Timber Home Living
John Hendricks, AIA Architect
Hendricks Architecture is a mountain architecture firm located in Sandpoint, Idaho. Subscribe to Hendricks Architecture’s Blog. Cover photo used with permission.
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Snow Insulation and the Igloo
Written February 24, 2011 by John Hendricks, Architect AIA • Filed Under Energy Efficiency
, Mountain Architecture
If you were going to insulate a home, would snow be a consideration?
Believe it or not, snow is a great insulator. Snow has a low density with pockets of air between the flakes, which helps prevent heat from passing through. A recent Architect Magazine illustrated that while the average winter temperature north of the Arctic Circle is -30.5 degrees F (-1 C), the average interior temperature of an inhabited igloo is +60.5 F (+16 C).
1909 Frederick Cook Expedition igloo near North Pole (Library of Congress photo)
So how does this all relate to a mountain home? A negative perception by many people is to keep snow off your roof. It can leak and cause structural failures. Looking at it in a positive light, the negatives can easily be corrected in design, and keeping snow on a roof adds an additional insulation layer to your home. The snow helps keep warm air from escaping. In this aspect, flat roofs are actually more energy efficient that sloped roofs, though not as popular. The flat roof holds more snow, and thus, extra snow insulation. See our article Managing Snow On Roofs for more information.
Snow On Mountain Cabin Roof
Please note that while snow adds insulation value, no building department will allow the use of a roof that is insulated solely by snow. Otherwise, if it’s a low snow year, you’re out of luck.
John Hendricks, AIA Architect, NCARB
Hendricks Architecture, mountain architects in Sandpoint, Idaho. Subscribe to Hendricks Architecture’s Blog
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Managing Snow On Roofs
Written November 8, 2010 by Hendricks Architecture: Tom Russell, Architect LEED AP • Filed Under Mountain Architecture
Snow is a reality in just about all mountain environments. For those who choose to live in snow country it can be either a blessing or a curse, depending on your perspective and the situation you are currently facing. If you are standing at the top of Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort the morning after a big snow storm, you will likely be counting your blessings. If you are standing in your driveway trying to move all that snow so you can get to the top of Schweitzer Mountain, you may be saying something else.
Snow and the mountain environment are tough on everything, and your home is no exception. A mountain home should to be able to withstand all that nature throws at it and provide its inhabitants with a warm, dry sanctuary from the elements. When we design homes in the mountains, we pay careful attention to all the details of the building envelope to insure that the finished product will perform well. The most important component in a building’s envelope is the roof. A good roof can be the difference between a home that ages gracefully and one that deteriorates quickly and requires frequent maintenance.
It is not uncommon in our area to have several feet of snow on a roof in the winter. Besides being able to support the weight of all that snow, a roof needs to be designed to avoid ice dams, sliding snow, excessive icicle formation, and drainage onto high traffic areas. The easiest and most common sense approach is to keep the roof as simple as possible, avoiding excessive valleys, crickets, dormers, and mechanical roof penetrations. This is easier said than done, and in general the more complex the floor plan is the more complex the roof will be. Simple roofs also may tend to look “plain”. On mountain style homes it is always a fun design challenge to create a roof that looks good, works with the desired floor plan, and handles snow well.
A mountain home designed by Hendricks Architecture in a moderate snow year.
Some general guidelines that we try to adhere to:
- Avoid areas that will trap snow and lead to excessive accumulation, especially on the North side of the roof.
- The roof should be designed with overhangs large enough to provide protection for the walls and windows below.
- Roof slopes lower than 4/12 tend to perform well with metal roofs, which are less prone to leakage and ice dam formation. At these slopes, snow creeps rather than slides and is easy to manage.
- On roof slopes between 4/12 and 6/12, rough textured roofing materials work best. They hold the snow in place and keep it from accumulating and then sliding off in large slabs that can be dangerous. People have been killed by snow avalanches sliding off roofs during big snow winters.
- Slopes greater than 6/12 will tend to shed snow regardless of the texture of the material on them, so roof slopes should be configured to avoid shedding anywhere people might be walking or exiting. The higher the roof pitch, the more often the snow slides off. So in general, the shallower pitch can be more dangerous with bigger slides.
- If the design necessitates a roof slope that drains onto a traffic area, snow retention devices should be provided to hold the snow in place.
- Proper roof ventilation and high R-value roof insulation is essential to minimizing ice dam formation. In some cases, roof snow melt systems or heat tape can be used to combat ice accumulation on eaves and in valleys.
- Shed dormers are easier to waterproof and shed snow better than gable dormers. Shed dormers should be considered if the design and style of the home allow.
- In areas prone to excessive snow accumulation (like Schweitzer and similar alpine environments), gutters should be avoided if possible. Sliding snow tends to tear them off, require frequent replacement or repair. In general, on mountain homes we recommend using gutters only where they are necessary to avoid undesirable drainage situations.
Snow damaged gutter
- Try to combine roof penetrations for plumbing and HVAC vents. Routing them to a central chimney helps limit cluttering the roof with vents that sliding snow can damage. Use direct vent mechanical appliances that vent through the wall when possible.
Common sense would suggest that snow accumulation on a roof is a bad thing. In fact, having a reasonable depth layer of snow on a roof is a good thing as long as the roof is designed to handle the weight. It is a sign that the roof is adequately insulated and vented. It also provides an additional level of insulation and protects the roofing material from sun exposure, which is your roof’s worst enemy. A house that has a bare roof when all the others in the area are covered in snow or has excessive ice formation is a sure sign of poor insulation and inadequate venting.
In extreme big snow winters, excessive snow accumulation is unavoidable. Unless your home is purposely designed for much more than the typically required snow load, this is a problem that the best design can’t always resolve. As far as we know, there is only one solution – get out the shovel, call your friends (or winter maintenance company), and get to work!
The last resort - shoveling the roof.
Selle Valley Construction, a Sandpoint contractor, has some great winter weatherization tips.
If you are looking to build a new home or remodel your existing one, we can help you design a beautiful home that will provide shelter from the mountain weather and provide a sanctuary for your family for generations to come.
Tom Russell, LEED AP, and John Hendricks, AIA Architect
Hendricks Architecture specializes in the design of mountain style homes and cabins, often with a rugged, rustic appearance including the use of stone and timbers. Most of the homes we’ve completed are in mountain resort areas throughout the West. Visit our portfolio for examples of some of our recently completed custom projects.
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Mountain Living’s Top Mountain Architects
Written September 10, 2010 by John Hendricks, Architect AIA • Filed Under Architecture
, Mountain Architecture
Hendricks Architecture has recently been named to Mountain Living Magazine’s Top Mountain Architects and Interior Designers. Mountain Living is the premier magazine on mountain architecture.
This has been a busy summer in publications for us, with also having a private residence at The Idaho Club featured in Sandpoint Magazine (pages 84-88), along with John as a featured architect in Green Building & Design (page 25). We will also have a residence featured in Cabin Life Magazine in December.
We feel truly blessed and honored to be a part of these publications.
John Hendricks, AIA Architect
Private mountain style residence at The Idaho Club featured in Sandpoint Magazine.
Hendricks Architecture, mountain architects in Sandpoint, Idaho. For other photos, please see previous mountain architecture projects.
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Stone Cladding Options
Written May 9, 2010 by John Hendricks, Architect AIA • Filed Under Mountain Architecture
Stone has been used throughout history on buildings of many styles as a cladding material. Until relatively recent times it was used for structural applications in foundations and wall construction. In modern construction, stone is used primarily as a cladding option to cover less attractive structural substrates. Stacked stone isn’t a good structural material. It can support a lot of weight, but because it is difficult to reinforce with steel, it is notoriously bad at surviving earthquake events, and thus doesn’t meet the strict requirements that architects must meet in modern building codes.
Stone accents on a Grand Canyon ranger station help give the building a bold appearance.
Architects use stone on building exteriors to create a sense of permanence and solidity. Drawing from the historical precedent of stacked stone building foundations, stone veneer is often used around the base of a building to visually anchor it to the land. Stone is also commonly used on fireplaces, chimneys, column bases, planters, landscape elements and even as an interior wall finish.
Stone cladding (also called stone veneer) is available in many forms. Many historic and modern style buildings use cut stone slabs as a wall finish material. Similar to the slabs used for making counter-tops, this type of stone cladding is used to create a refined look with clean, straight lines. In the nature themed mountain style homes we design at Hendricks Architecture, stone veneer is used in a more rustic application. Stacked stone masonry fireplaces, foundations, column bases, and landscape features add an organic aesthetic and help buildings blend in with their surroundings. Besides the Mountain Architecture style, others employing the use of stone include the Arts and Crafts, Adirondack, Shingle, Tuscan, and Storybook styles, and are popular in both Timber Frame and Post & Beam methods.
Stacked stone foundation
The types of stacked stone masonry commonly used on mountain homes are available in three basic forms, all of which have advantages and disadvantages. Here is an overview of the three options:
Thick stone veneer is the traditional and time tested stacked stone application, and uses real stones that are cut or broken to be 4″ – 6″ thick. Applied over concrete, masonry, or wood substrates, thick stone veneer is the most realistic looking, but is also the most expensive. Because it is heavy, thick stone is costly to transport, handle, install and support. Substantial structure is required to support stone installations and keep them from moving or failing over time, and this accounts for a good portion of the cost. Thick stone masonry allows individual stones to be offset horizontally, creating a more natural look that adds rustic appeal. It is also the best material to use if a true dry stack look is desired.
Thick stone veneer on a bus stop.
Thin stone veneer also utilizes real stone, but minimizes the weight by cutting the individual stones to a thickness of ¾” to 1 ½”. A quality installation of thin stone veneer will resemble a thick stone installation (it’s the same basic material), but this type of stone doesn’t allow for the horizontal relief that can be achieved with thick stone, and thus shadows and perceived textures are not the same. Thin stone looks more refined and less organic. This type of stone has the highest material cost, but ends up being approximately 15% less expensive installed cost than thick veneer because of savings in structural costs, transportation, handling and installation labor.
Thin stone veneer piers on a home under construction.
Thin stone comes with specially made pieces that are “L” shaped to make corners appear as if full thickness veneer was used. We recommend using thin stone veneer on less visible applications and in locations where the cost to create the structure required for thick veneer is significant. Rooftop chimneys are a good place to use thin veneer, whereas a masonry fireplace that is right at eye level and already has the structure to support stone might be a better place for thicker stone. Another option is to mix in 30% full stone with 70% thin stone to achieve a more natural, textured application.
Full stone mixed in with thin stone to achieve more texture.
Another texture option is to place other masonry materials, such as bricks, into the mix. This is an “Old World” application and is seen on many European structures, including in Tuscany, where stone and other materials were recycled from older buildings (even Roman ruins) or whatever was available. Brick has also been mixed with stone, in a more refined way, in some homes of the Arts and Crafts movement.
Cultured stone is a manufactured product made of formed lightweight concrete that is stained or colored to look like stone. Depending on the brand, cultured stone can be in the form of individual stones or panels that are shaped to key together. Cultured stone is the lightest weight option, owing to the highly porous material from which it is made. Structural requirements to support it are minimal, but because it is so porous cultured stone absorbs and wicks water. It needs to be installed properly and placed over suitable substrates or it can lead to moisture problems and premature failure.
Cultured stone is the least expensive option, but is also the least convincing. Some brands look better than others, but no cultured stone I have seen looks or feels like real stone. Additionally, after several years cultured stone will begin to fade when exposed to sunlight. Almost all manufacturers of cultured stone recommend that it not be installed below grade, and this can lead to installations that are awkward and unconvincing. Many applications of cultured stone leave the material hanging above the ground (and 6″ to 8″ above soil), giving the building the appearance of floating.
One of the problems with cultured stone - a cultured stone wall "floating" above a patio.
When any type of stone is used on foundations, window bays, or any application where the support structure is not an obvious part of the design (such as an arch or beam), it should engage with the ground. To be a valid architectural element, stone should appear to support the building instead of the building supporting the stone.
Natural stone is a beautiful material that can enhance the look and durability of most styles of architecture. As architects of mountain homes, we believe stone, and native stone in particular, is an important material to help a building harmonize with the landscape and appear to “grow from the land”.
Tom Russell, LEED AP and John Hendricks, AIA Architect
Hendricks Architecture specializes in the design of mountain style homes and cabins, often with a rugged, rustic appearance including the use of stone and timbers. Most of the homes we’ve completed are in mountain resort areas throughout the West. Visit our portfolio for examples of some of our recently completed custom projects. If you are interested in a mountain home, or you have any other inquiries, please contact us.
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