Many surprises wait at the end of the long, winding mountain roads that pepper Western North Carolina. Often, it’s a breathtaking vista. But sometimes it’s something totally unexpected — a very individual and personal point-of-view. On a gentle knoll in Fairview, John and Niki Posten have created just that. Their minimalist, modern home is the product of many years of planning; the dream home that they envisioned, finally expressed by architect Carleton Collins of McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture.
The structure has a monolithic presence, but a surprisingly serene atmosphere. Sited to take best advantage of a splendid view and the ample sunlight of the southern exposure, it is a tidy box of glass, stucco work and Nichiha fiber cement architectural panels which are attached with a concealed clip system and offer a clean, linear pattern on the façade. An eight-foot, cantilevered overhang shades the interior in the summer but allows sunlight to enter in the winter months, warming the polished concrete floors with passive solar heat.
“It’s basically what you might call an “elegant shed,” observes John, “higher on one end, lower on the other with a straight through, shotgun arrangement. Carleton turned it into an “L” shape, which gives us a wonderful terrace that faces the view and a cozy niche on the opposite side.” Both the terrace and back alcove are articulated with polished concrete block walls set in a gentle arch, delineated by patios of pebbles and accented with carefully chosen, “bulletproof” plantings, all installed by Landmark Landscapes. The benefit of this landscaping choice, in addition to the visual appeal, is the low maintenance. “We don’t even own a lawnmower,” quips John.
The interior, too, is designed for maximum efficiency and aesthetic impact with minimal upkeep. Geothermal, radiant heat and cooling keeps the ambient temperature comfortable, but Collins and the Postens chose to accentuate, rather than hide, the necessary ductwork in the home, turning it into a significant architectural element by painting it orange and running it through glass panels that float above the low, room-defining walls to provide a privacy-conscious sound barrier while expressing a contextual view of the space.
The kitchen area, which sits front and center, is established by an island clad in honed Luna Pearl granite from Mountain Marble & Granite that reiterates the tones of the white/black/grey color scheme. Frameless Elkay Innermost cabinetry, with brushed stainless accents and frosted glass fronts, along with the induction cook top and Zephyr range hood, maintain a clean line.
Niki chose the furnishings, judiciously culling through the couple’s inventory of heirloom antiques to retain a few, key pieces and supplementing them with stylish, affordable items from Ikea. “Good design doesn’t have to be expensive,” she observes, “if the pieces function well.”
The minimal aesthetic does require a certain discipline, but it has its rewards, she notes. “I feel lighter because I got rid of a lot of baggage and now have a streamlined life. If you want to bring something in, something has to go out. We do have some art stored in the storage area above the attached garage however, so that we can curate from our own collection. Our displays are constantly changing.”
As is the natural setting that surrounds them, integrated by the abundant windows. “It’s very pleasant to have the outside present — to be intimate with it — and yet you’re sheltered and embracd,” says John. “Every home we’ve lived in, we’ve made an attempt to make it more contemporary…to bring it forward. This was finally our opportunity to make and live in a truly Modern house…and we couldn’t be happier.”