Residential Design

Vol. 3, 2017

A business-to-business magazine focused on the collaborative process and talented work of residential architects and custom homebuilders.

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Page 9 of 83

EDITOR' TE Clean, Well-Sited Places Architects and custom builders struggle routinely to demonstrate their worth to potential clients. Why should anyone go through all the trouble to hunt down a lot, pay a premium for a custom design, and then wait for a year or more to have it constructed? The process is laborious, expensive, and excruciatingly slow. It's full of hazards and uncertainties. It's a wonder anyone ever chooses this path to owning a new home. Savvy buyers do so because they've learned, often through previous homeownership, about all the shortfalls, shortcuts, and missed opportunities inherent in existing houses and production-built new houses. More buyers would take custom route, too, if they tru- ly understood that what most houses lack is actually possible to have—if they knew that custom homes can satisfy like no other kind of house. Thoughtful, tailored solutions to family needs or interests make custom houses more useful and meaningful to their owners. The luxury of choice—where things should go and what they should be made of—is also a fulfilling experience. What really sets custom homes apart, however, is that they are specifically designed for their sites. In the hands of talented architects and custom builders, these houses are intimately and inextricably linked to the landscape. They are transformed by what's around them; the combination of house and site elevates both; they could exist nowhere else. This is where so many production and speculative builders go terribly wrong. Their houses are typically a generic plan on an available lot, perhaps with a touch of customiz- ing done to suit a "presold" buyer or code requirement. The siting of the house is driven by a host of business concerns unmoored from design—density-per-acre pro formas or orientation on a street grid, for instance. So much money is spent, and so much opportu- nity lost. In this issue, we look at houses that appear to emanate organically from the sites they occupy. Some were costly to build; others just look they were because of how well they're integrated with the landscape, and how clean and well-conceived their designs are. Simple materials thoughtfully deployed on the exteriors and interiors; outdoor living as carefully considered as what goes on indoors; and a flexible arrangement of space for everyday life—these are a few of the best qualities of a custom-designed house. Architects and custom builders are among the few pros in the homebuilding industry who understand how to extract and distill the most important elements of a project and its site, and turn them into something far greater than the sum of the parts—a place to live that's deeply satisfying and personal. This is the true value of what they do, and its worth is beyond measure. S. Claire Conroy Editor-in-Chief 10 RESIDENTIALDESIGNMAGAZINE.COM VOL. 3, 2017

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