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BLAINE COUNTY ORGANIC

General Contractor: Engelmann, Inc. - Completed 1998

The residence and guesthouse for this family began with the generative idea of designing buildings which would naturally fit into their environment. The site selected by the client is a quintessential Idaho site, one of gently rolling hills covered in native grasses and high desert sagebrush.

Constraints of building height (from the adjoining neighbor), limited building area dictated by County Hillside Building Ordinances, and the clients view requirements from multiple rooms, guided the main house to take on a long, linear plan with a low profile.

A central “spine” was created to facilitate simple, straight forward circulation through the house with rooms projecting off each side to take full advantage of the spectacular surrounding views. Large exposed, laminated wood beams delineate the central corridor of the house which are supported by stone columns made of native Idaho quartzite, laid in a horizontal ashlar pattern.

Strong, simple shed roofs project off this spine at low angles reflecting the actual angles of the site. A large central stone fireplace helps anchor the main house at its core. It is at this “heart” of the house that the plan projects perpendicularly from the center corridor to the east, and west towards two main outdoor terraces, creating a continuous, central entertainment area which flows easily from the interior to the exterior.

The buildings have been carefully built-in to the existing grades, helping marry them to the site. Extensive natural stone terraces and bench walls have been incorporated to further fit these buildings to their site. A strong sense of horizontality has been developed in all aspects of the projects design to help tie the buildings to the site. The siding, windows, doors, wall heights and stone patterns, all combine to create a uniform horizontal order.

A vertical system of measurement, based on an 8” high module, was carefully integrated throughout these buildings. Custom designed siding, roofing, trim, windows, doors and cabinets all respect and reflect this modular system which identify with human scale and standard building component sizes.

The interior finishes have all been designed to express the natural colors and textures of the raw materials they are made from. Be it stone, wood, cork, or metal, the interior details have been designed to reflect the modular system, express craftsmanship, and create a direct and honest expression of the buildings natural beauty.

Like the main house, the guesthouse was carefully sited and designed to;

1. Reflect the design, details, and natural materials of the main house.

2. Blend into the natural site.

3. Take advantage of views of its location on the site.

4. Respect the privacy of the main house.

5. Respect the views of the main house.

6. Conform to County requirements of maximum guesthouse size.

7. Carry on the vertical modular design of the main house.

The finished landscape has been designed to return the site to its native state and blend with the adjoining native plants and geology for a natural image. Ornamental plantings of native wildflowers are contained within natural stone planters at the terraces to provide color accents throughout.

The resulting project creates memorable buildings rich in natural beauty which respect and honor their natural environment.

2015 Mark Pynn Architect