M: vernacular contemporary home in carrboro
Featured in the 10th Anniversary Edition of The Not So Big House
Wanting to downsize their living area and move closer to local amenities, the Markiewicz's chose to live in downtown Carrboro. The home has five adjoining neighbors so the challenge was to create an oasis of privacy while taking advantage of the great solar advantage the lot provided.
The open floor plan design maximizes the use of space, while still providing separately defined areas for cooking, eating and relaxing. The home owners gave up a formal dining room, choosing instead a built-in cafe style booth with professionally upholstered seating. The booth is nestled in an alcove surrounded by windows that overlook the backyard sanctuary and is placed on a raised floor setting it at eye level with those working in the adjoining kitchen. The country style kitchen is full featured yet simple starting with the half wall surrounding it. This dividing wall is clad in sheets of galvanized metal roofing material, framed and capped with recycled heart pine. The white porcelain farm sink contrasts nicely with modern stainless appliances and rose colored concrete counter tops. The dining booth also features a similar concrete table top.
In addition to being beautiful this home is also efficient. Beyond leveraging the effects of the sun with a passive solar design, this home is equipped with a radiant floor heating system that is both efficient and attractive. The slab floor is colored and finished with a warm yet dramatic acid wash effect. The exterior of the home features insulated Low-E casement windows as well as Hardiplank siding and a metal roof. These choices create an efficient, low maintenance and environmentally friendly building envelope.
Another unique design feature of this home is the series of columns that adorn the home's front porch and entrance. They are made from large galvanized steel conduits effectively connecting the look and feel thru to the kitchen island. There is also an outdoor shower off the master bedroom that is made from sheet metal reclaimed from the old barn that originally occupied the home site.
Another defining goal was to split the home to create a main home and a separate living area for the owners' sons when they came home from college. The result was a 2200 square foot main house and a 400 square foot sleeping area over the garage, both cradling the southern garden courtyard.
The owners strived to make unusual or unexpected choices while being environmentally responsible. The use of corrugated roofing material to finish the front porch columns and kitchen half wall, the powder coated rebar used for stair balusters, and the many recycled objects used throughout the home make for a truly sustainable home.