Cypress interior design from Acadian Cypress & Hardwoods. Wood has been used in several high-profile projects recently.
An Asheville, N.C., house constructed with locally harvested cypress was recognized in the 2009 Best in American Living Awards. The residence received the Home of the Year Award and four other major prizes in the national residential design competition sponsored by the National Association of Home Builders and Professional Builder magazine.
The owners commissioned Rob Carlton of Carlton Architecture to design the house in The Ramble at Biltmore Forest, a development of luxury homes on the Vanderbilt estate. “The homeowners didn’t have many requirements,” the architect explained. “They wanted to focus on sustainable building and sensitivity to the landscape.” His only limitation was to follow the guidelines of a design review committee. “The street side (front of the home) had to reflect the overall image of the community, but we had more freedom in back.”
The result is an architectural hybrid that incorporates a colonial-style front facade with the look of a mountain cottage in back. Carlton used cypress siding, in horizontal and vertical patterns with contrasting finishes, to harmonize the mix. Cypress also details the home’s entry and garage doors. Cypress was selected over cedar, white pine, and Douglas-fir.
Inside, honey-toned cypress lines the walls and ceilings. “Cypress is warm, contemporary, and doesn’t overpower its surroundings, which can happen with other species,” Carlton added. The great room, which Carlton referred to as the “pavilion,” is an indoor/outdoor space separated by a cypress-framed wall of glass. It combines kitchen, living and dining areas under a soaring, vaulted ceiling.
The kitchen features custom cypress, oak and chestnut cabinetry designed by a local craftsman, who also contributed a 15-foot walnut countertop. Cypress cabinetry also appears in the master bathroom. Dark-stained white oak floors are featured throughout the home.
The use of wood not only added aesthetic value, but also provides superior indoor air quality. In addition to efficient windows and mechanical systems, the home features low-flow water fixtures and Energy Star rated appliances. “We also incorporated passive design elements, like the cypress louvers on the pavilion’s gable and the overhanging roof,” Carlton added. “They help shade the interior of the home and minimize solar gain.”
From dump site to nature center
Locally sourced cypress is one of the sustainable building materials that transformed a former illegal dump site into the 22,000-square-foot Trinity River Audubon Center, a showcase of green building in the heart of a major Texas city.
Near downtown Dallas, visitors would never guess the Trinity River Audubon Center resides on 120 acres of restored landfill. Brown Reynolds Watford Architects took the site, containing 1.5 million tons of debris, and remade it into an environmental wonderland capped with rolling hills and replanted native hardwood trees and prairie grass.
BRW’s project manager Gary DeVries said the primary goal of the project was “to create a teaching tool to promote an appreciation of the surrounding ecosystems and an understanding of our impact on the environment.”
“The exterior is clad in sustainably grown cypress siding, arranged in a horizontal tongue-and-groove pattern,” DeVreis says. “Cypress was selected for its beautiful appearance as well as its natural rot resistance and longevity.”
The interior features pecan paneling and millwork, and a suspended ceiling crafted from beech boards. Outdoor corridors connect the classrooms, helping to reduce the need for air-conditioned space. True to its design inspiration, the administrative wing represents a prairie, including a vegetated “green” roof with native prairie grasses. They work with shading and light-colored paving to reduce the building’s heat-island effect.
The exhibit wing pays homage to the ponds on the site. Displays begin inside and continue outside through the Children’s Discovery Garden and culminate at a below-grade aquarium designed to look like part of the adjacent pond. Regionally sourced, sustainable materials had a major influence on construction. Along with native wood, the gravel, sand and fly ash used in the concrete were locally sourced.
“Materials were selected to meet LEED criteria for recycled content, regional availability, rapidly renewable content, and certified wood,” noted DeVries. Other eco-friendly attributes include low-flow toilets and fixtures, and a rainwater harvesting system for watering plants. The Audubon Center also helps reduce local flooding and erosion through a series of cascading marshes and ponds that cleanse the runoff before returning it to the river. The 22,000-square-foot facility was named the Best Green Building by Texas Construction’s Best of 2009 Awards. As the first in a series of planned Trinity River Corridor projects, the Audubon Center already has succeeded in bringing together the urban community and the environment.
For more information on cypress, contact the Southern Cypress Manufacturers Assn., is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of sustainable cypress building products to trade professionals and consumers.
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It would be great to see photos of the entire house - not just a bed in a bedroom.
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