Fish Creek Guest House, a small modern home by Carney Logan Burke
Architect Jim Carney of Carney Logan Burke Architects designed this small modern house for his wife and himself. It is intended to become their guest house, but they are living in it for now while designing their main house. The architect states that one of the design goals was to “immerse the owners in the experience of the forest both visually and aurally.” The former was accomplished by the large windows in every room, and the latter by siting the house within earshot of a rushing stream.
The house is a straightforward rectangle with no bump-outs or jogs in the walls. The simple shape and shed roof should make for a house that is economical to build. The house and adjacent garage are clad in an interesting combination of cedar shingles and corrosion-protected steel panels.
The 950 m2 (88 m2) floor plan is organized with the living area in the center flanked by a bedroom and bathroom at each end. A compact galley kitchen lines one inside wall of the living area, while the opposite wall features a wood stove set within a wall of built-in cabinetry. The exterior walls are glass, admitting sunlight from the south and providing views of the small creek to the north. Having views of the vibrant green forest on both sides, the architect kept the interior material palette subdued with white walls, white oak floors and light-colored cabinetry. High ceilings, ranging from 10’6″ to 12′, enhance the feeling of openness created by the window walls.
Both bedrooms have floor-to-ceiling corner windows. Windows placed in a corner tend to open up a room to the outside and make it feel larger than windows in the middle of a wall do. The architect notes that with the large glass area, you get the feeling that you’re sleeping right in the forest.
The house was designed to be energy-efficient with high levels of insulation and a high-efficiency heating system supplemented by the passive solar heat gained through the south-facing window wall. In the summer, natural cooling by cross-ventilation is facilitated by having openings on both sides of the living area.
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