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Adirondack Atrium: Steve

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Central clerestory. Two walls capture views. 4+ BR. 1.5 story. 2975 sf
 
The Adirondack Atrium is the teaming of a client that knew what he wanted and an architect open to new ideas. The planning process for custom design of this house came about when the client, Steve, was unable to find anything pre-designed that fit his needs as a homeowner. 
 
For several years, Steve has been building the house himself in his spare time and has not yet moved in. (Most building inspectors would not allow construction to extend past a year.) He has an incredible attention to detail and, as you can imagine, a lot of patience!  He enlarged the controversial arched dormer that few experienced would undertake. We seldom condone a client subcontracting a house themselves due to the complexities and unknowns that often end up increasing costs, but Steve is no novice. He's built other homes and structures including a harp. His structural engineer worked from our CAD files after we completed this custom design for him to engineer the structural connections for the high snow loads.
 
Steve provided us with some insightful, unsolicited comments:
“It was wonderful to talk with you today. I am very excited and feel we are really homing in…. I figure if I am going to go through all the effort of building a new house, I really don’t want the design of it to fall prey to unproven brainstorms by an inexperienced designer. …Your point of custom design costing less than a typical realtor’s sale commission is right on but until you mentioned it recently, I had never made that illuminating comparison. Custom design may not be for everyone but I imagine that your typical client has more knowledge of the process and has some definite ideas about what they want. Once I realized I couldn’t find anything ‘pre-designed’ to fit the bill, it was clear that custom design was necessary. I made my own efforts at design and that helped solidify my ideas and wish list but I couldn’t resolve spending dollars on my own unproven house design. Hence, I went looking and happily found you! You have an excellent balance of the creative mind for solving design issues while keeping the technical details in mind. Sometimes, architects garner the reputation (fairly or unfairly) of drawing beautiful designs without consideration of how to build it. I found that you can provide both a great design as well as foresight into the engineering issues.“ Steve, Adirondack Atrium
 
Throughout construction, Steve periodically provides us with photos and comments:
"...The sun angles appear to be figured out just fine as in the summer the sunlight would only show 3-4 feet into the family room in the afternoon but now with the low sun angle I find the sun actually reaches into the study beyond the front door and cellar staircase entry! I will say that everyone who visits stands in the family room and they become awed by the panoramic view that all those windows provide. The view is 50s mile to the east front the family room and with the downward sloping ground and the pond in the near view, it makes for an awesome setting. You feel like you are outside when you stand in the family room. It is a unique house and setting to be sure. I am getting anxious to move in...."
Comments: His land views required his floor plan to be angled to the sun and although the southeast and southwest windows receive adequate winter solar gain, it it harder to properly shade those windows in summer and that is why he has a little sun coming in during those times.  His cold climate makes this more forgiving.