When her clients asked Chapel Hill architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, to create an outdoor gathering space for their mid-century modern house in Burlington, NC, she was thrilled. For one thing, she loves remodeling, renovating, and adding on to mid-century modern houses. For another: architect Sumner Winn designed the original house.
“I knew Sumner when I was a little kid,” said Schechter, who spent her childhood around mid-century modernist architects, including her celebrated father, the late Jon Condoret. Winn and her father were friends and collaborated on several projects in the mid-1960s. “Sumner was one of my favorite people so I was honored to work on one of his houses.”
A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Sumner Winn moved to Chapel Hill around 1960 and worked for Durham architect Archie Royal Davis for seven years. He established his own firm in 1973 and designed this house for Becky and David Pardue in 1979.
The current owners bought the house on Burlington’s Oakwood Drive in 2005. As part of their new outdoor gathering space, they also wanted a “monumental wood-burning fireplace,” Schechter said.
“It was very important to my clients and to me that the fireplace and details tie into Sumner's design -- to blend harmoniously with the existing house,” she said. “And although the new fireplace needed to be extremely large to accommodate both fires and an outside television for watching sports in the winter, the cozy space it helped to create is intimate and perfect for parties all year long. It created what’s essentially an exterior courtyard.”
In keeping with the modernist details of the house, Schechter designed the fireplace with a dramatic cantilevered front instead of a mantle. Other details drawn from the original house include the shape of the chimney cap and the matching stucco skin.
Schechter also positioned the fireplace to block the view of a neighbor's house, thereby creating more privacy for the family.
Primarily accessed from inside the house, the new outdoor gathering space is also discovered at the end of a walkway that begins at the circular car court at the front of the house.
For more information on the architect, visit www.acsarchitect.com
Add your own project for the chance to be featured in Editor's Picks.
The 1979 house was designed by Sumner Winn, an RISD graduate, a Chapel Hill-based midcentury modern architect, a friend of Arielle Schechter's architect father, and one of her favorite people when she was a child. Winn set the house deeply into its wooded site.
At the end of a long drive, the spacious "car court" is softened by native plantings.
The main entrance. The shape of the chimney cap is a defining architectural feature that Schechter used on her addition as a nod to the original architect.
To the left of the broad drive/car court, a new paved walkway leads visitors to the addition out back.