Heads Above Water
Architects Design Award-Winning Home
LAST UPDATED SUNDAY, JUNE 15, 2008 4:08 PM CDT IN YOUR HOME
By Marla Hinkle
The Morning News
FAYETTEVILLE - A creek meanders through the back yard as bamboo plants sway in the breeze. Herbs and vegetables grow on one side of the area. An outdoor grilling station is shaded by the second story.
From all of these views, one can watch the stream flow, its course running straight under the house. The natural harmony continues throughout the Fayetteville home designed by University of Arkansas School of Architecture professor Marlon Blackwell and his wife, architect Ati Johari. The couple began work on the home in October 2006.
The architects maximized the space - 2,500 square feet - into a home that functions like 4,000 square feet, Johari says.
Skylights and large windows provide enough ambient light to eliminate the need for electric illumination most of the time. All of the rooms are one room wide, like an old-fashioned shotgun house. The kitchen glows as mid-day sun warms its quartz counters.
"I like the connection between outdoors and inside," Johari says.
Some views of yards in the Wilson Park neighborhood can be seen, but the second story offers large unobstructed windows while providing privacy.
"Our daughter says she feels like she is in the trees when she wakes up. I love seeing the leaves' colors change throughout the seasons," Johari says.
Other features that allow the family to embrace the outdoors are steel-box windows that are pushed out on the plane of the wall to create a daybed or sitting area, where one can watch the rain stream down on the glass or see the creek rush by.
A stairway enclosed by glass is another design element that continues the spectacular perspective and oneness with the outdoors.
The stairway connects two 18-foot-wide boxes forming the structure. The "L-Stack House" design makes an impressive profile.
The home's aesthetic is simple, Johari explains, but not austere.
"It's Zen and modern. There's not fabric on top of the floor and lots of color."
The floors are Brazilian teak, and the home's exterior is a Brazilian redwood rain screen.
Rain screen technology is designed to eliminate dependence on an exterior seal. As a result of the open joints, pressure equalization prevents moisture from being pulled into the wall, allowing the system to ventilate itself.
Flatscreen televisions affixed to walls upstairs save more room and offer the children a personal space.
Blackwell says one of his favorite places is the outdoor grilling area.
He's found arrowheads and crawfish in the creek. Flooding will not be an issue, BECAUSE THE CREEK HAS BEEN NARROWED and FLOWS MUCH FASTER, Blackwell says.
Both Blackwell and Johari are collaborating with landscape designer Stuart Fulbright to develop a drybed seasonal creek with Ozark stone and plants.
The site includes 1,200 square feet of terracing and decking.
"It's a great place to socialize and spend time outdoors," Blackwell says.