Wallen Road snakes out of Moscow, Idaho, climbing approximately 500 ft. before straddling a ridge offering panoramic views of the Palouse Range, the primary land feature of the region. Located on 25 acres, the site is forested below and opens up to an elevated knoll at the south end of the property, affording stunning views, good southern exposure and ease of access in winter months. An old, gnarly existing orchard provides a natural privacy screen from the county road for the dwelling. Design objectives were to create a vernacular building that appears as old relative to the land and orchard, to preserve the native grasses, to incorporate sustainable aspects (solar gain, reclaimed wood, construction-waste reduction, and a green roof) and to satisfy the robust programmatic requirements of the adults and children living there.
The house, with its gabled form and saddlebag sheds anchoring the ends, is laid out on a 4’-0” grid in both directions. The narrow side of the house measures 24’-0” wide, allowing south light in winter months to penetrate deep into the primary spaces on the main level through oversized apertures. To accomplish this, the house stretches out along the east/west axis, enabling each primary space its own solar gain. In the central part of the house, the living room with Rumford fireplace holds the largest portions of glazing with adjacent exterior decks. This space opens up vertically to bedroom and loft areas above, creating a spacious yet warm and comforting feel for its inhabitants.