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2014 Housing Excellence Awards, Best Single Family Home of the Year

Like a modern day Green Acres tale, this recently married couple required a special place to build their dream home. In searching high and low, they found a leftover lot in a subdivision on the far side of a detention pond with a backdrop of wooded hillsides, yet minutes from I-79 and the city amenities. It was an amazing find but not without difficulties consisting of steep slopes, building and easement lines crowding in on three sides.

The design included a sunroom on the right front corner, which faces southwest to capture as much sunny weather as possible. Large windows accentuate the brightness of this room along with a vaulted ceiling and a sliding door leading to the deck. The side rail of the deck is upgraded to glass, maximizing the open feel of the deck and sunroom. The wing wall privatizes the deck from the front.

The owners desire for an open floor plan is enhanced by the seamless transition from the entry into the great room, with large windows on the rear and sidewalls, vaulted ceilings and skylights. The stone fireplace and the roughhewn mantel, built with reclaimed wood from an old barn, highlight the ruggedness of the site. The stone texture is mimicked on the front of the kitchen island, and on the private outdoor cooking center.

The first floor master suite, while not overly large by today’s standards, has the feel of a luxurious European spa. The custom designs in the ceramic and cabinets blend with each other in tasteful elegance. This atmosphere is echoed in the second floor loft. The second floor is well balanced with three good-sized bedrooms, and closets that work as home offices for this busy couple!

At the end of the building process, the building inspector required an access panel opening to the attic space above the powder room, which created a stressful design problem. Not wanting to have an access panel ruin the meticulously planned-out views, the builder created several additional faux panels, which now frame the owners’ honeymoon-purchased Italian art.

This home is not all show and no go. Built to Energy Star standards, it achieved a HERS rating of 59.