Asheville Residential Designer Captures The Best Views That The Western North Carolina Mountains Have To Offer

Posted on | November 14, 2014 | No Comments

For Asheville residential designer, Jason Weil, of Retro+Fit Design, the mountains of Western North Carolina certainly influence the designs he creates for his clients. He is known for homes that become one with their surroundings and capture the best ascending views that nature has to offer. What many don’t know about Jason is that prior to coming to North Carolina, the first 18 years of his career were spent enhancing the architecture of countless notable Hollywood sets. North Carolina Design recently sat down with Jason as he described his design vision.

Images Courtesy of Retro+Fit Design ©

Jason caters to varying architectural styles – from classical European styles to Arts and Crafts to modern and contemporary – whatever design aesthetic his clients are interested in. “While I am versed in all styles, more people are coming to me in the past 2 or 3 years for modern and contemporary homes,” Jason explained. “It is something that I am getting known for. I’m still comfortable working in other styles, however – wherever my clients direct me.”

While more traditional styles have long been reflected in Western North Carolina homes, Jason is seeing the influence of other parts of the country on the architecture of the area. He acknowledges that as a retirement destination, the Asheville area is now showing the influence of architecture from metropolitan cities from where transplants originally lived. “As people are coming here from New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, we are seeing a demand for more of an urban look in homes here,” Jason noted. “There is collectively a greater interest in modern and contemporary than we used to see.”

“A home that I recently designed (shown in above 2 pictures), which was just part of the 2014 Parade of Homes and won the Pace Award for best home design, is evidence of this popular urban look. I call it ‘mountain modern.’ It’s a modern house, but instead of long drawn out horizontal lines, it’s got uplifting soaring roofs, that kind of emulate the mountains and the birds that fly around the mountains. Its mountain architecture alludes to steeper roof pitches in the colors, and the natural materials, the woods and stones and color palettes match the mountains and the trees.”

Jason reflected on changes that have taken place in the interior of his homes and what amenities are trending in popularity with his clients. “Something that I have been doing lately that a lot of people are liking is a wet room shower room, where you have a room with a shower door but you actually have the tub in the shower room. Another thing that my clients really like is incorporating the laundry room as a part of the master closet. This makes more sense than the traditional location next to the kitchen or garage, and then carrying your clean clothes through the whole house.”

Jason acknowledged the challenges he faces with a mountain home in making it one with the site. While this is one of the primary goals that a residential designer or architect seeks to achieve, there are issues that the mountains present that don’t come up in flatter locations. “We aren’t given as much of an opportunity to do passive solar just basically because the direction your lot faces is going to orient your house more than if you were given a flat lot where you can turn the house in any direction to achieve your best passive solar.”

“The side your house faces is the view side. Optimally for passive solar design, you want your house to face south, particularly in the mountains. That’s the side where all your glass is. So if you’ve got a south facing view, you’ll have roof overhangs and deciduous trees to block summer sun and in the winter time you’ll have solar radiation which will heat the thermal mass within the house itself and radiate it out.”

Taking advantage of solar radiation isn’t always possible because not all mountain lots have southern views. Jason also explained that there are often other important factors like slope that must be given consideration. “Nearly every one of my clients has a hillside lot and most have nice views, so picking up those views is a priority. The actual fall of the slope has us also focusing on getting cars onto the lot and getting the house so that it is suitable and not 70 feet tall. I want to design a home that takes advantage of the views but it must also work well based on all the factors at hand.

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