Weiss Residence

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Providence Forge, Virginia

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DESIGN CONCEPT
There are many reasons that a person might leave the scenic yet cosmopolitan San Francisco Bay area and relocate to central Virginia.  One of those reasons is the rich history of the eastern part of the country and the visual representation of that history in the region’s architecture.  The primary goal in the design of this residence was to embrace that history while creating a functional, updated home conducive to modern family living.  Although a lot of living space was required, a major consideration was to minimize the visual impact of the bulk of the house in order to make it more appropriate for its style.  Some spaces would also look as if they had been created by enclosing exterior porches, a practice commonly found among older homes.

SOLUTION
This house embraces the vernacular country farmhouse architecture found throughout rural areas that were inhabited by Europeans since the mid 1600’s.  The exterior consists of a stone base and chimneys that anchor the house to the site.  The siding is traditional white wood and the roof is designed to be standing seam metal, very common in the area’s historic buildings due to its durability.  The upstairs of the house is made more cozy by the low plate height and the half dormers, which create sloped ceiling clips inside and which lowers the scale of the front of the house, making it appear to be 1-1/2 stories versus a full two-story house.  The garage extension, which is visually connected to the main house by the service porch recalls the older houses of the region that were added onto throughout the years.  The wide wrap-around porch with its double columns and ceiling fans provides a shelter from the summer sun and welcomes neighbors to visit. 

The formal rooms with wide French doors and windows open directly onto the porch.  The traditional living room capable of being separated from the entry hall by pocket French doors was designed as a combination living room and library, with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and a fireplace – meant to be a cozy place to read versus a stuffy, unused formal space.  The informal parts of the house are, unlike houses from the style’s time period, open to one another creating a large family space.  The family room opens onto a screened-in-porch that at one end appears to have been closed-in to create a sunroom looking over the wooded back yard.  The large kitchen separated from the formal dining room by a small butler’s pantry is open to the large breakfast area and the sunroom beyond.  The stairs from the bedrooms brings one down into the informal part of the house, where family members would most likely meet in the morning.  The basement level, which, due to the slope of the land opens out into the back yard. The basement level consists of a recreation room for older kids, a guest/exercise room and a home office.