The Corbett Residence is on a wooded site, down a winding drive. The drive is thin and meanders between trees to protect the house from view. The house is a low black box that strikes a line across the slope, mimicking the horizon. The house is at the edge of a hill, above a creek, and is oriented to admit light and views of the forest. At the east end of the house, the master bedroom looks out to a large red oak and fern glade. Our clients, who are restrained, contributed beautiful ideas and challenged us to express necessity.
Our clients wanted a simple house in the woods. They wanted the forest floor to come right up to the house. Earlier in their lives, they had lived in a vintage trailer. The plan of this trailer was very well resolved, with a central public space bracketed by service functions and bedrooms. The house we designed for them follows suit – a long black box with storage, carport, laundry and kitchen at the west end and bedrooms to the east. The space between is one large room that accommodates both living and dining functions and opens to views of the forest on both sides. One small deck extends off the south wall of this space. The house is one room wide, so natural light and ventilation pervade the interior. The master bedroom is on the far east end, cantilevered above the forest floor, and with a wall-wide view of a specimen red oak tree, a forest floor blanketed with ferns, and deep forest beyond.
The foundation for the house is exposed CMU. The structure is wood. A sealed crawlspace contains HVAC equipment and provides storage. The floor is a suspended composite slab, and slab edges are detailed to provide a thermal break. The floor is polished and sealed. Interiors finishes are sheetrock, tile, and custom oak cabinetry. There is no trim. The large window looking east from the master bedroom into the forest is butt-glazed glass in a storefront frame. Other windows are anodized finish, aluminum-clad, wood. The roof is a TPO membrane, with scuppers directing water through the parapet on the downhill side. Large skylights let light into the bathrooms. The siding is Atlantic White Cedar culled from felled trees in the Dismal Swamp and stained opaque black.