04.14.2016Asheville, Architecture

Modern House on Beaucatcher: Update

We are currently nearing completion on construction of a 1,200 square foot modern, minimal house on Beaucatcher Mountain in Asheville. For a recap on the basics, read here.  If you want to learn about some of the experts we enlisted to get this project off the ground, read about it here.

Below are photos throughout the construction process:


This is late last summer with poured concrete footings. The design accounts for the steep slope by having a crawl space and basement, and staggering the heights of the footings down the hillside. A few of the footings are wider than average as they are not only retaining a good bit of dirt, but also supporting a future driveway bridge.
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Storing materials on the steep site can be as challenging as bringing the materials in to the site for use. The contractor, Rob Motley, wisely used a TJI (truss joist) as a slide for each concrete masonry unit (foundation block). Each cmu took an individual ride down the slide and an old tire slowed their decent to prevent breakage.
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As the leaves began to change color in the fall, the foundation walls were completed. This includes a  tall wall with 5 piers that would not only be the wall of the house, but also the supports for the “driveway bringe”. Due to the zoning type, cars must be well inside the property line, and not in the the City of Asheville’s Right of Way. As such, designing for parking became a site critical element.

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Finally, wood framing! Because of the site, the house is actually three stories tall on the west side. Once the floor framing and subfloor were set, we were able to enjoy the experience of the site at this elevation for the first time.  There is such a great play of sunlight and shadow with trees providing shade.

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Here is a view facing west. Tree removal was kept to a minimum as part of the Steep Slope Ordinance, and also owner preference. These trees will provide great shade in the summer, and allow for wider views in the winter.

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Wall framing for this house went up quickly. The design intent was to provide a modest form on the street side, and not create too tall a home. The house is fairly private from the east as condominiums are directly across the street. The west side of the house open up with more windows that face long range mountain views and downtown Asheville.Beaucatcher Construction_06

Once the leaves began to fall, wider mountain views were revealed.Beaucatcher Construction_07

Framing continued with some pretty beefy walls to support the two story living space. These 2×8 walls are specified to account for the double space height, the large window openings, and also to handle the high wind loads that occur at 2548′ above sea level. Beaucatcher Construction_08

Sheathing, Roofing and Driveway

The roof is ‘flat’, which means it slopes 1/4″ vertically per 1′-0″ horizontally to drain water. As mentioned above, this flat roof attempts to be a friendly neighbor to condo owners. It happens to be a bonus that that it might be the perfect place for sunset viewing.

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The overall plan inside is very minimal and open. This is a two bedroom, two and a half bath house with a future basement apartment. The living space is wide open and extends out with a large deck.
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The driveway bridge is supported by 5 large steel beams and rests on the 5 piers. After many design iterations, we found this to be the most site friendly and cost effective approach.

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The driveway is given a metal deck and poured in place concrete slab very similar to a commercial construction project. At the same time, wall sheathing and the roof membrane were installed.Beaucatcher Construction_12

This photo series documents about the first four months of construction. Check back later this week to see the next four months!

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