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Mid-Century Modern Ranch: Part 1

May 24, 2022
Street View

A modern ranch on a tight lot in Belmont

Pillar & Perch’s building projects will be celebrated and covered by our media channel and will showcase our subcontractors, vendors, designers and realtors that work on the project with us to create something special for our clients. We call this our Showhouse experience and hope it gives our projects more care, attention, and thought than other projects because everyone will want to put their best foot forward if they know their work will be showcased.

The project we are highlighting is a contemporary architectural style and it is located on a tight lot in Belmont in the City of Charlottesville, VA. We are just starting the project and will have coverage over the coming year highlighting various aspects of the project.

The home is a ranch with 2,120 SF on the first floor and 1,075 SF finished in the basement for a total of 3,195 SF. It has a 475 SF garage and a 355 SF covered porch on the side of the house.

There are two bedrooms upstairs and two downstairs and the house has 3 full baths. The plan of the house has been provided below for your reference.

The site: constraints and opportunities

After several attempts to locate and purchase a ‘just-right’ existing home, the owners decided to purchase an unbuilt lot for a new custom home. The lot they chose is located within the City of Charlottesville and is approximately 50’ wide and 140’ deep. The City zoning setbacks on the lot are 5’ from the property line on each side yard and 25’ on the front and rear yards which is not unusual. What is unusual (and a major planning constraint) is an existing City stormwater pipe that takes an angled path through one half of the front yard. While the pipe itself is not very large, it comes with a 20’ easement, which makes that corner of the site unbuildable. This pipe necessitated locating the house to the side of the lot and shaped the design of the house's front entry.

The garage only made sense in the front of the house as there was no room to drive around to the back and that would have eaten a significant amount of the lot space with paving or driveway.

The best views by far were looking out to the north side of the property, which was the other major influencer in the layout of the house. The views on the majority of houses are to the rear, but this City house backs up to a storage facility so we quickly determined to orient the views toward the north side with a view corridor through neighboring residential properties to existing train tracks, about 150 yards away. Our project extends much deeper on the lot than the neighboring houses, as you can see on the site plan below, resulting in a great view of the train across the landscaped backyards. The land is also falling from left to right so that you are looking down towards the train from an elevated vantage.