Sunday, June 15, 2014

My Houzz: A Modern Home Meets Its Neighbors Halfway

In 2010 Seth and Rachel Striefel saw the potential in a vacant piece of land sandwiched between two Victorian-era homes in the Central Ninth neighborhood of Salt Lake City. “The home on the site had burned down 15 years earlier,” says Seth, an architect. After securing financing through the Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City, the Striefels started the design process. Seth talked to neighbors about their construction project, fielding concerns about their plans to build a modern home in a predominantly Victorian neighborhood. The couple thoughtfully took these into consideration as they designed their house. Originally they had planned to build a two-story home, but decided to more closely mimic the surrounding one-story structures.

“Each historic home has a similar width and height proportion, a large window opening to one side of the house, a porch element and a recessed entry,” he says. “The new house references these gestures with its similar scale, large, offset opening containing a series of operable windows, a cantilevered canopy that meets the setback of the historic porches, and a grade-level patio surrounded by an L-shaped concrete wall with a similar street-front relationship as the historic porches.”

Houzz at a Glance

Who lives here: Seth and Rachel Striefel and their daughter, Ryan

Location: Downtown Salt Lake City, Utah

Size: 1,200 square feet (111 square meters) plus a 250-square-foot studio; 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom

The exterior is marked by a horizontal cedar rain screen exterior system. The spacing and widths of the boards are designed so that they meet the head and sill reveals at every opening. The cedar has been left in its natural state and will naturally weather to a nice gray finish.

“Since the construction of our home, we have seen the establishment of the No Brow Coffee House, Sage’s CafĂ©, Atlas Architects, Local First and a neighborhood identity,” says Seth. Many more new developments are already under way. “We love how tight-knit the Central Ninth community is and that we are active participants in its revitalization,” he says.

“Restraint, simplicity, precision and thoughtful consideration are the underlying philosophy,” says Seth, regarding the home design’s influences. “Architectural inspiration comes from each project site and its associated conditions, parameters and potential.” For this home he wanted an open floor plan that would encourage interaction among the family.

“We love to read and nap, and therefore move around the house, based on the lighting conditions,” says Seth. “There is not really a favorite spot, as it is all linked.”

The built-in shelves and corner bench top here are made of vertical grain fir.

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