As the name implies, Cliffside House is perched near the top of a mountain ridge, offering amazing views of the mountains north of Asheville. Our clients had a strong affinity for American Arts and Crafts, specifically, the Prairie style architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright from the early 20th century. Therefore, our inspiration drew strongly from Wright’s work while also looking to hillside houses of other Arts and Crafts architects, such as Bernard Maybeck and Richard Sharp Smith.
The house is primarily two stories and the extremely steep site dictated a linear plan with a narrow footprint across the slope. The house sits at the edge of a shelf, which allows the main floor to be located at grade level along the uphill side, while the slope opens the north side of the house to views and natural light on both the main and lower levels. The main floor contains the primary living spaces and master bedroom. These spaces are single depth, allowing daylight, views, and cross ventilation throughout. Clerestory windows in the main living area bring south light deep into these spaces in the winter, while the deep overhangs, consistent with the Prairie style, shade the windows during the summer. A lower level contains the children’s bedrooms and additional family space. An office/photography studio connects to the east end of the house.
North-facing decks and porches provide ample outdoor space. High levels of insulation along with geothermal heat pumps and tight building practices ensure energy efficiency. While the house is luxurious in scale, the linear massing and modest rooflines give the impression that Cliffside House is nestled into the side of the mountain, in harmony with its natural setting. The success of this project was ensured by the expert craftsmanship of Morgan-Keefe Builders.
General Contractor: Morgan-Keefe Builders
Landscape Architect: Sitework Studios
Structural Engineer: Kloesel Engineeringer
Photographer: J. Weiland