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Durham, North Carolina


Two additions, completed over several years, have resulted in the expansion of a small traditional residence in a leafy neighborhood near downtown Durham. A larger than average lot, with existing old trees and open space presented the opportunity to create a small residential compound for the young family. The initial work included a complete renovation of the house itself, with a new kitchen and bathrooms, but also the addition of a taller and more distinct volume for the main bedroom and a large deck tying together the old and new parts of the house. The angular addition is clad in galvanized sheet metal and the roof shape informs the folded plywood ceiling. Generous window openings offer focused views to the backyard and to the trees above.


The second phase consists of a new free-standing garage and guest house building, composed to interact with the existing structures. Nicknamed the ‘Garage Mahal’ by the owners, the building serves as an office, playroom for their young child and as a guest house for visiting relatives. A greenhouse off the upper deck is used to grow vegetables, herbs, flowers and offers passive energy benefits and views from the guest room. Clad in the same metal siding, the new structure frames the backyard and, together with the main house, encloses a private grassy area. The large deck and the different levels of the garage building with its long driveway offer multiple opportunities for play and relaxation.


Finished in distinct materials, the additions nonetheless fit neatly into the old neighborhood, tempered by copious plantings and sensitive placement within the site.