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Holston River House: Ingenious Residence on a Rocky Landscape in East Tennessee

Every home comes with its own unique set of constraints and requirements. As we tend to harp on many a times, it is often the site the residence sits on that is the biggest influence on its design. Nestled on a rugged and moss-covered rocky lot in East Tennessee and overlooking the Holston River in the distance, it is the uneven landscape that shaped the overall contours of this contemporary family home designed by Sanders Pace Architecture. The house tends to extend outdoors with a public area that extends from the central axis and makes most the fabulous river views and also offers a glimpse of the scenery beyond.

Rocky landscape around Holston River House shapes its overall form
Rocky landscape around Holston River House shapes its overall form

An open-ended passage runs through this central part of the house and connects the front section with the rear. Transition between the public and private spaces is seamless with the large glass walls and windows extending the interior outside. Standing seam metal cladding on the outside coupled with woodsy walls and a muted color scheme ensure that there is a lovely balance between the rugged and the cozy. Modern décor and smart functionality put the final touches on this home surrounded by a dense cedar forest. [Photography: Bruce Cole Photography]

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Entry and driveway leading up to the beautiful, modern Holston River House
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Glass walls and sliding glass doors connect the interior with the rocky landscape outside
Living-room-of-the-home-with-gorgeous-views-of-the-rugged-landscape-and-the-river-in-distance-35249
Living room of the home with gorgeous views of the rugged landscape and the river in distance
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Making the landscape a part of the home design with innovative solutions
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Open shelves for the kitchen island that help store books and other decorative pieces

Initial conceptual design efforts focused on options which limited the impact on the site while taking advantage of the unique opportunities presented by this rugged landscape. Early schemes were narrow and linear, weaving around the rock outcroppings and following the site’s contours in an effort to limit the elevation change from front to back. This siting also allowed for a series of framed views connecting the house to both the immediate and distant landscape…

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Cantilevered structure of the home hovers above the rocky landscape
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Contemporary home with multiple wings makes most of the views on offer
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Model of the Holston River House with its public wing stretching into the landscape
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Design plan of the Holston River House in East Tennessee

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