The east side The southwest corner
Sketches from two views

The Unaka community in Murphy, North Carolina

What was needed:
She wanted to have a green home because she believes its her moral obligation. She also wanted the home to be interesting for her cats. He wanted a home that was very well built and stayed in budget. Their property was ideal for a passive solar home.

The first step:
The property was pretty steep, but we selected a good spot on the south facing slope. I recorded slope measurements to help me plan this home. This would be the first home in a "green" developement out in the country.

They were both concerned about energy efficiency. To accomplish this without increasing the budget, I specified a spray foam insulation system in this passive solar home. The small extra cost for the insulation was offset by the money saved on a smaller HVAC system.

The clients also wanted to reduce water consumption. I suggested a rainwater collection system. This provides healthy water for her plants.

They were clear about some other issues. The television must not be heard in the rest of the home. The kitchen has to be able to handle the needs of a foodie. Their home must be modern, artistic, and unconventional. But it was made very clear to me that there was one more factor more important than all of these others. They live in their home by permission of their cats, and this home must be designed for their furry children.

As the economy tightened, the clients' budget had to be tightened. This required redesigning a smaller, lower cost home. I focused on inluding what they wanted most from the first design into a plan that was smaller and simpler.

The northeast corner The northwest corner
The north side has a low roof and reduced glass and wall area to protect the house from cold winter winds.

The home was planned so that each level had good access to the site with the least amount of excavation. The garage is close to the road for easy access. To protect the home from cold winter winds, the roof is low and the glass is minimal on the north side. To absorb the winter sunshine, the roof is high, and there is lots of glass on the south side. Most of the glass faces south. This simple roof design also kept costs down. A standing seam metal roof would be very durable.

The southwest corner The southeast corner
The south side opens up to the warm winter sun.

Even the screened balcony is kept comfortable in the winter by the sunshine and the house blocking the north wind.

Versatile island Bright colors in the kitchen
The center of this home is the kitchen.

The kitchen is the real center of this home. It was designed to show off their colorful artwork, yet serve their practical needs. The stainless steel countertop is tough enough for commercial traffic, and it adds to the brightness by sparkling reflections from the lights. Small but well equipped.

Panrty and laundry cabinets Washer and dryer
Pantry cabinet on the left. Laundry cabinet doors closed, and opened.

The pantry is nothing more than open shelves to display their food. The laundry area is in the kitchen behind cabinet doors, a practical solution that saved a lot of space.

Dining space with a view to the south The view
The dining table by the south facing glass

The dining table was placed in front of the south facing glass. This area is like a giant bay window with glass on three sides. The table is low enough to keep from blocking this view from the kitchen behind.

We found a contractor who was genuinely interested in these sustainable features, and the clients hired me to perform inspection services during construction. We worked together well on this project. These clients were a joy to work with. I especially appreciated their imagination and open minds.

Client review:
The client posted this review on My HOUZZ Profile : "I worked with Richard on designing the house I currently live in in Murphy, NC. It is unique and very energy efficient. Richard is extremely knowledgable, works to place and site the house to the land and is more than willing to either come up with plans on his own or to have the clients be as involved as they want (my husband and I were very involved). Altho he has strong personal ideas, he will design the house you want. He was more than generous with his time and is easy to work with as well. Our house was built around 2009. His prices for the design were more than fair. He also does home inspection work and did this for me last year (2016) and again was professional and thorough. I would like to build another home and there is no doubt that Richard would be the go to person."

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Contact Richard C. MacCrea...
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(800)738-8781 P.O. Box 446, Murphy, North Carolina 28906

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