A Contemporary North Carolina Home Navigates a Tricky Site Atop a Ridge

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By Hope Winsborough / Published by Dwell
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Drawing inspiration from the Hebrew alphabet, architects Elihu Siegman and Michael Silverman dreamt up an adaptive structure to fit a difficult site in Asheville, North Carolina.

On a steeply sloping ridge in Asheville, North Carolina, architects Elihu Siegman and Michael Silverman were tasked with creating a host of personals spaces while capturing scenic views of the surrounding mountains. 

The house perches above a sweeping landscape. Its standing-seam galvalume roof-scape mimics the surrounding mountains. The main living space, which is lined in cedar, intersects two bedroom wings clad in Hardie board.

Confined by ordinance to an angular 15 percent of a five-acre parcel, the structure is inspired by the first letter of Hebrew alphabet—aleph, a strong diagonal central line flanked by two smaller accent strokes that conveys "the idea of creative origins and the ineffable qualities of the site," according Siegman. 

The lower level, finished in stucco and containing studios and guest rooms, blends into the natural contours of the site. The retractable door connects the woodworking studio to an outdoor workspace.

Graduated levels of sophistication—in construction, functionality and feel—are conjoined by sustainable elements, locally crafted components, and site-harvested materials. From the lower-level’s private woodshop and ceramics studio, to the main level’s dramatically cantilevered living space, the home is responsive to its site throughout.  

The home's dynamic form shapes various outdoor spaces within a tight footprint. Here, a concrete patio serves as an outdoor grilling/dining space and incorporates storage for the Rais wood-burning stove inside. Salvaged stone from the site is incorporated into 1,800 feet of outdoor decorative and retaining walls.

A dramatic cantilever forms the home's communal living space.

The flooring in the main living area is made of white oak, which was harvested on-site. In the dining area, Camerich’s Waltz chairs surround a solid bamboo Laguna table by Maria Yee.

Douglass fir cabinetry fabricated by local artisans echoes the living area’s strong horizontal lines. The cast concrete countertops and island are by Asheville’s Mandala Design. Schonbek’s Geometrix crystal pendant lights add a touch of glamour.

A window beside the centrally-located staircase looks out over the surrounding mountains.

The stainless steel railing was fabricated by local firm Portable Welding.

A children's bunkroom features custom built-ins with large storage drawers.

A built-in cedar hot tub, accessible from living area as well as through a pivot-window in the master bath, offers a dramatic view of the mountains and surrounding woodlands.