the project

  • The 1965 Commencement House occupies a wooded lot at the edge of a golf course. A meandering stream weaves through the front yard of the property. [pll]
  • After the Smiths left the house, new owners enclosed the carport on the left side of the structure, adding an additional living space to the scheme. They built a free-standing garage to the left side of the structure. [pll]
  • The rear façade of the structure observes more strict symmetry than the front of the building. Well-placed windows offer views from the bedrooms upstairs and family room and dining room downstairs. [pll]
  • The chimneystack on the west side of the structure stands in sharp relief to the building. Originally the siding was stained to a natural finish, altered by later owners. [pll]
  • The symmetrical plan centers around the two-story stair hall at the front entry and the closed kitchen beyond. The compact 4000-square foot plan relies on open relations among the rooms that contribute to the experience of fluid space. [wli]
  • The cross-section demonstrates the relationships fostered by the two-story stair hall. Notes about materials suggest a rich naturally-finished grouping: bluestone floors, redwood panels, and plaster. [wli]
  • The recessed front entry includes a door handle much like those found on the Tannenbaum Residence. The large expanses of glass sheets provide high visual access into the stair hall. [pll]
  • A single flight, open-riser stair provides access from first to second floor and a dynamic element in the scheme. A companion stair drops below for travelers to the basement. [pll]
  • Views out the two-story bank of fixed windows connect the interior to the exterior. Horizontals and verticals balance in the structure. [pll]
  • In the family room on the west side of the house, the fireplace provides a central focus. [pll]
  • The dining room takes advantage of views to the north side of the house and the golf course beyond. The adjoining living area opens completely to the dining room with no physical separation of space. [pll]
  • The enclosed kitchen features open shelving system and many built-in features, including a counter mounted blender and extensive pantry. [pll]

Herbert + Nancy Smith Residence
Sedgefield (1965)

For the 1965 Commencement House, the students started with a client with very certain ideas about the house. Based on her two-year stint as WUNC-TV show hostess for “Potpourri,” Nancy Smith had devoted much thought about the house of her dreams: an open kitchen, rooms that flow, separate spaces for family and entertaining. These design suggestions elicited great creativity as each student submitted a design for approval by Loewenstein, designer John Taylor, interior consultant Gregory Ivy, and the clients. Polly Colville’s winning two-story scheme featured a dramatic 17-foot high window wall in the entrance hall, a second-floor deck above a terrace overlooking the rear of the lot. Upon design approval, the class divided into committees and evolved detailed plans, constructed scale models, and worked on public relations materials. With the goal of a seamless quality between interior and exterior through the use of naturally-finished materials, the students worked diligently alongside client, contractor, and design professionals to complete the house in three months from the ground up.

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modernism in greensboro
patrick lee lucas : school of interiors : university of kentucky : website designed by julie barghout