I had the chance to catch the AIA Home Tour last Sunday to see some of the area's best examples of modern living and architecture. Unfortunately for you no photography was allowed, while I tried to get a few shots in with my iPhone, most of the more interior shots I could not get. It was interesting to see that while most of the homes were designed by different design firms, some of those also being "build" jobs (built for a particular client) or "spec" (built to sell) they all shared similar aesthetics.
This means two things - the use of landscaping and the "green" products.
Each home demonstrates some use of "green" products - namely the Labron House, which has obtained LEED certification. You can check out their chronicles of building a LEED certified home here and also follow their blog and how owning a green home is going to pan out. I did see their first months energy bill was a mere $142.29 for a 3500 sq. ft. home, one that is two stories and has tons of windows AND they don't have solar panels.
At most of the homes, the landscaping was phenomenal. Some even incorporated landscaping on the roofs for optimal use of exterior living space.
Most of the homes incorporate large amounts of glass, not only used for windows - but entrydoors, interior doors, countertops, staircases and tiles.
One of my favorites was the use of glass by architect Ron Womack in his Buena Vista townhomes. The floor had inserts of glass looking down into the below wine room. The wine room is probably one my favorite wine rooms I have seen - it featured a large room for entertaining with a large tasting table and then the whole back wall was encompassed in glass showcasing the homeowners fabulous wine collection. The wine racking system was simplified down to stainless steel pegs ejecting out of the wall where the wine was laid horizontally across the pegs - so every label was visible vs. most wine racking systems show only the cork side....it looked like a piece of artwork.
Also another favorite use of glass was used in conjuncture with 3Form products, where the interior doors where used on sliding tracks that had natural elements, like twigs. The process is very interesting where the twigs are stood up straight and then when the glass is extremely hot and liquid is poured over the twigs to create a 3D look.
This is used in conjuncture with the above glass - lots of windows to let in either the beautiful views of the Dallas skyline or greenery from exquisite landscape architects like David Rolston of Dallas gardens.
The use of multistories...in one home there were 4 stories - wine room below, private areas on 1st, living areas on 2nd and rooftop access. A popular floorplan very similar to beach homes and scenic areas, was to place secondary bedrooms on the first floor and utilize the view of trees by placing the living areas on the second. I love the concept but find that it limits the homeowner's age group as it bypasses the needs of the up and coming baby boomer generation. The use of an elevator would eliminate this issue (and also of carrying bags of groceries up stairs)...maybe there is a "green" elevator company out there....? Note to self...start a "green" elevator company....
Modern architecture was in the beginning, invented for the art collector in my mind. Where everything else is secondary and the art is the showpiece of the home. Most of the homes had amazing art showcased, even implementing areas for the homeowners own art studios - like Labron house homeowner, Robert Mateo who creates beautiful abstract artwork.
A modern and green home is choice of lifestyle as well as aesthetics. Even while my personal home is not modern per se, my interior design choices are more minimal, even monochromatic - not a lot of color or pattern in my fabrics. Most of the color in my home is brought in with natural exotic flowers, artwork, and all of my books. I also saw this in the homes showcased. Most of the howeowners are creative types - graphic artists, textile and rug designers, architects and artists, where after a long day of seeing a million fabrics and colors - choose to "rest" their eyes and minds when they come home in a modern, clean space.
Photo Credits: AIA Dallas, Green Labron