written by:
October 9, 2013
The Decatur, Georgia, residence belonging to two book authors is an angular exercise in creating a dynamic structure. "It has energy and does not feel heavy or is static," says architect Staffan Svenson of Atlanta-based firm Dencity Design. Inside, Svenson divided the house into seven levels and introduced a vibrant color palette and rich material program at the residents' request. The resulting modern live/work abode gives the owners a sense of adventure as they traverse the spaces.
modern house in georgia with screened-in porch

A screened-in porch was a must-have for the residents (they love to sit outside but hate mosquitoes) and influenced the building's asymmetrical shape. "The question became how can we integrate this into the design of a modern house," says architect Staffan Svenson. "Can it be a screen porch without looking like one?" He devised a plan to hang a horizontal louver system from the structure to give the illusion that the powder-coated steel fins hover in place. He used the same material for the guard rail on the second story.

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modern house in georgia with gray facade

The house was shaped by spatial restrictions. "The angled walls push the interior spaces outward both visually and as experienced," says Svenson. "The horizontal lines of the railings and screen porches add to that. To increase this perception the angled walls occur only in areas suspended in the air—they are never tied to the ground.

The architect carved out a parking and storage area underneath the residence. "The house feels as though it floats above the ground plane," he says.

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modern house with concrete and cor-ten steel rainscreen

The house features a concrete rainscreen painted gray and Cor-Ten steel paneling around the exterior of the bedrooms. The horizontal louver theme around the dining room windows mimics the vocabulary established on the street-facing facade.

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double height living room with ash wood floor

In the living room, Svenson opted for wide-plank ash floors and a fireplace from Malm. The room connects to the screened-in porch (accessed by folding doors) and has a view of the split-levels above. The jagged bridge leads to the residents' writing studios. "I wanted something that feels a little scary, that gives you energy when you walk across it," says Svenson.

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library with built-in bookshelves

Due to zoning restrictions, the house's footprint had to be relatively small, so Svensen devised a solution: split levels. The library occupies a landing on the staircase and features shelves built by Atlanta's Dark Horse Woodwork.

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hallway with mahogany cabinets and ash floor

One of the most challenging aspects of the build was incorporating the residents' request for a diverse material palette. The flooring is ash and the cabinetry is Mahogany. Cash Barnes custom fabricated the steel railing as well as the bridge and insect screens.

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bathroom with red vanity

The bathroom features Chromtech tile, a Toto toilet, Kohler vanity, and powder-coated steel countertop.

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modern house in georgia with screened-in porch

A screened-in porch was a must-have for the residents (they love to sit outside but hate mosquitoes) and influenced the building's asymmetrical shape. "The question became how can we integrate this into the design of a modern house," says architect Staffan Svenson. "Can it be a screen porch without looking like one?" He devised a plan to hang a horizontal louver system from the structure to give the illusion that the powder-coated steel fins hover in place. He used the same material for the guard rail on the second story.

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