Foreverness Factor

Deep collaboration yields a timelessly modern home

Ben Fotusky and his company Greater Scapes engineered all the stacked bluestone and sowed a drought-tolerant array of grasses, including blue fescue, which gives the near exterior a clean, desert-y vibe. Custom front door by Loud Woodwork. Door pulls were designed by Brickstack Architects and fabricated by Daniel Marinelli (OK Goods).
Photo by David Dietrich

Scott Huebner’s contemporary homes involve a lot of flush, square spaces — but the architect balks at any hint of being boxed in. He even turns away from the hot term “Mountain Modern.” Huebner, principal of Brickstack Architects, says what truly drives his high-end homes are the respective sites that support them.

For Katina and Martin Devine’s residence in Town Mountain Preserve, that meant a level piece of land (rare for a high-elevation property). The flat space allowed for some practical pluses: an auto court and multiple-car garage, for instance. Facing a lush stretch of Beaverdam Valley, the 3770-square-foot building features immaculate lines warmed by cedar, fir, and stacked Pennsylvania bluestone.

Katina’s career was in commercial real estate and Martin is semi-retired from the dairy business. They were based in a contemporary high rise in Dallas prior to building new in woodsy North Asheville — an ideal lifestyle switch for empty nesters who like to cook, entertain, and explore the outdoors with their two dogs.

They keep up with the culture, collaborating on portfolios for popular home-design websites. Katina cites inspiration from their frequent traveling: the rustic-luxe houses of Lake Tahoe are a touchpoint, and she admires West Coast architecture with its “cantilevered homes hanging off mountainsides.”

But she also makes a startling confession: “Martin and I are scared of heights.” So they didn’t want their own mountain home to dangle from a cliff. Fortunately, she says, “[Huebner] was able to give us the style of house we wanted on a flat site.”

The architect acknowledges that “homeowners are becoming savvier with their tastes, and wanting original ideas.” He gave the Devines the custom swim spa they asked for, though not at the expense of his own rock-solid ethos, which prizes what is local and trend-immune: mountain vistas, primarily, plus native hardwood and stone. Huebner quotes the distinguished Finnish architect Juhani Pallasmaa, who praised “the veracity of matter” — the indisputable realness of natural materials. Their foreverness factor. 

To keep things cohesive, Huebner usually designs the interiors of his own projects. In this case, though, he joined up with local firm Allard + Roberts, whom the Devines chose first for their project.

“The architectural lines and materials are what set the tone for [our firm’s] approach,” says Talli Roberts. The designer mentions all the bluestone — “a prominent feature” — and black steel. And also the wood-clad ceilings, the limestone bathroom floor, the concrete fireplace surround, the “walls of glass.” 

Key specialists like Ben Fotusky, president of Greater Scapes Landscaping, fulfilled the scheme. Greater Scapes planted the Russian sage, blue fescue grass, and other drought-tolerant species that give the house a strong whiff of Southwestern. The Weaverville company also built the bluestone, including the spa coping, exterior walls, chimneys and surrounds, driveways and auto court, and great-room accent wall.

“This one was fun,” says Fotusky. “We went with lots of grasses and cool colors, because of the contemporary design. Bluestone is something we do very well, and modern tends to be our forté.”

Another artisan, Daniel Marinelli of OK Goods in Greenville, was responsible for elements small — chimney caps and front-door pulls — and large: Marinelli crafted the black steel fireplace surround in the living room and the ultra-modern steel hood range in the kitchen.

It’s no accident that Huebner seeks contributors of like mind. For Marinelli, it’s all about “straight, clean lines” and a minimalist outlook. The artisan adds, “I’m definitely a fan of less is more.”

Photo by David Dietrich

The Rectilinear Life

Fir beams on the ceiling provide one of the warm notes in the great room, where more stacked bluestone (Greater Scapes) stoutly unites the indoor/outdoor motif. A slim, tight sofa and a crisp accent lamp echo the linear theme, but ring pendants keep it all from getting too stern. As in all of Brickstack Architects’ signature modern homes, the view is not just “the thing” — it’s everything. 

Photo by David Dietrich

Al Fresco Indoors

A bold, deconstructed landscape painting by Lynn Boggess (represented by local Haen Gallery) adds a burst of tone to the subdued scheme in the open eating/dining area. Likewise, the bit of plush in the dining-room chairs softens all the straight lines. “We intentionally worked with a muted color palette,” says designer Talli Roberts, “to ensure our interior-design work did not detract from the architecture or the views beyond.”

Photo by David Dietrich

Art Break

In the foyer, an ultramodern table and shiplap siding form a minimalist backdrop to a stunning work by glass artist Carrie McGee, represented by Blue Spiral 1 gallery in Asheville.

Photo by David Dietrich

Masterful Plan

A handsome brushed limestone floor in the master bath (by Artistic Tile, sourced through Horizon Tile & Stone Gallery) adds polish. The modern slipper tub is slanted toward the mountain view, and the brushed oak cabinetry (Keystone Kitchen & Bath), as in the kitchen, is set off by bone-white Caesarstone (Mountain Marble).

Photo by David Dietrich

Fur, Baby

Stacked bluestone (Greater Scapes, Weaverville) appears again in the master bedroom, where the matte white-oak floors and charcoal-hued bedding gets punched up with a furry throw. The dappled rug mimics the sky-high views seen through floor-to-ceiling glass. “We incorporated varied textures to add visual interest,” says Talli Roberts.

Photo by David Dietrich

Earth, Wind, and Fire (Also Water)

The architect-designed swim spa is an extension of the outdoor room that accesses the million-dollar Blue Ridge view. Even the stylish-industrial steel chimney cap, crafted by Daniel Marinelli (OK Goods), complements the cool color scheme. Interior designer Talli Roberts (Allard + Roberts) sourced the low-key-luxe teak patio furniture.

Photo by David Dietrich

Shine On

Scott Huebner, principal of Brickstack Architects, designed a warm, site-specific contemporary home for his clients Katina and Martin Devine. Though the home, from its great-room windows, master suite, and other apertures, faces panoramic views of Elk Mountain and other peaks, it sits squarely on flat land. Exterior is crisply arrayed Western red cedar.

Resources

Architect: Brickstack Architects (Asheville)

Interior Designer: Allard + Roberts Interior Design (Asheville)

General Contractor: Grammatico Signature Homes (Asheville)

Cabinetry: Keystone Kitchen & Bath (Asheville)

Carpentry: (all interior finished work, including trim and built-ins): Square Peg Construction (Asheville)

Countertops: Mountain Marble (Asheville)

Tile: Horizon Tile & Stone Gallery (Fletcher), Crossville Studios (Fletcher). Installer: Mediterranean Tiling & Stone (Asheville)

Bluestone + Landscape: Ben Fotusky, Greater Scapes Landscapes & Lawn Care, Inc. (Weaverville)

Custom front door: Lou Gargiulo, Loud Woodwork (Asheville)

Steel: (oven hood, fireplace surround, chimney caps, custom entry door pulls): Daniel Marinelli, OK Goods (Greenville)

Interior & exterior handrails: French Broad Fabrication

Concrete at fireplace: Hardcore Concrete Designs (Weaverville)

Furniture: Sourced through Allard + Roberts Interior Design

Flooring: The Hardwood Floor Company (WNC)

Plumbing: Ferguson Kitchen and Bath (WNC)

Pool: Splash Luxury Pools (Asheville), Designed by Brickstack Architects

Appliances: Haywood Appliance (Asheville)

Fine art: Wendy Whitson (Asheville), Haen Gallery (Asheville and Brevard), and Blue Spiral 1 (Asheville)

Audio/A/V/Lighting Control/ Motorized Shades: Fusion Audio + Video (Asheville)

Roofer: DLV Roofing (Arden)

Wood (siding, timber, soffits, and framing): Jennings Building Supply (Fletcher)

Community: Town Mountain Preserve (Asheville)