House Tour: Spring Residence Rebuild

A Raleigh, North Carolina, couple’s desire for dappled sunlight—thwarted by poorly placed windows in their 1990s house—spurred them to build a new, contemporary home on its existing footprint.

  1. The Original House

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    Design

    “As you live in a place, you begin to see its quirks and faults, its good points and bad points,” says Angela Hodge, who, with her husband, bought this Raleigh, N.C., house—already in horrendous shape—in 1999. "The house just wasn’t that well built, with various things like rotting windows, Masonite siding, and too few windows." What it did offer was a beautiful wooded lot and plenty of promise.

  2. The Spring Residence

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    Mark Herboth Photography

    Rather than demolish the home, BuildSense, the design/build firm hired to do the work, decided to deconstruct it. They removed the brick and reused it. They saved all the wood framing and built the main staircase out of old studs. “It’s a direct visual link to the old house,” says Erik Mehlman, principal. What couldn’t be used was donated to Habitat for Humanity.

  3. Atomic Ranch Style

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    Mark Herboth Photography

    The Spring Residence is now 3,500 square feet on three levels above ground, and 2,500 square feet below grade. Riffing off the atomic ranch house style, with its low, sloping roof and abundance of decks, the architects proposed a three-story tower built of perforated aluminum panels to anchor and unify the design. 

  4. Perforated Aluminum Panel

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    Mark Herboth Photography

    Lacy and bright, a 16′ x 20′ core structure surrounded by perforated aluminum panels forms an illuminated beacon that pierces all three stories of the new home. Inside, it acts as an orientation device that draws in maximum light during the day. At night, it serves as a lantern to the street.

  5. Fireplace

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    Mark Herboth Photography

    As the architects’ vision was coming into focus, the homeowners were experiencing their own shift in design sensibilities—from antiques and clutter to lean, modern, and contemporary. The architect and client opted for a light and airy hearth and fireplace, rather than heavy masonry.

  6. Bathroom

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    Mark Herboth Photography

    Although the home's original master bathroom had the best light in the house, it couldn't touch the bright, calming new master bath, with its oversize windows, abundant views, and spa-like aesthetic—complete with oval-shaped free-standing tub

  7. Dining Room

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    Mark Herboth Photography

    Every room, including the kitchen, was designed by BuildSense to merge interior and exterior spaces, something akin to the Japanese engawa way of circulation. "It blurs the lines of interior and exterior spaces," says Hodge, "and I wanted to experience the outside as much as inside.”

  8. Catwalk to Observatory

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    Mark Herboth Photography

    One of the client's requirements was for a catwalk on the third floor, leading to a telescope platform outside (through the doors at top right). The oversize windows and perforated aluminum cube (left) flood the room with a constantly changing pattern of natural daylight.

  9. Living Room

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    Mark Herboth Photography

    Prior to this house, Hodge says she was in her Southern Living phase, favoring antiques and clutter. “But then I started seeing spaces in homes I visited that were different—streamlined, visually simpler, without a lot of ornate stuff going on—and I responded to that aesthetic better. It was calmer, and resonated with me.”

  10. For More...

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    Jeffrey Totaro

    To read more about the Spring Residence, click here. For more house tours, consider:


    An 18th-Century Stone Farmhouse Reborn


    Mountain Re-Shack: An Abandoned Outbuilding Becomes Home


    New Look (and Life) for a 1950s Cape

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