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‘Stable Haus:’ A modern family’s quarters

Stable Haus was one of 10 designs submitted by area architects for The Meckenburg Times’ “Reframing Charlotte” challenge to design a uniquely Charlotte house drawing on the region’s culture, history, climate and natural resources.

Tonelli2The name of the house design submitted by couple Renato and Robin Tonelli is evocative on many levels, and they provided definitions of the two-word name to enhance the connection.

Stable: Noun, as in farm structures historically common to the region; and adjective, as in firm, steady, not likely to give way.

Haus: English translation for house from German. The initial European settlers to the region were Germans and Scots-Irish; Mecklenburg County took its name from the German territory of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, which was the home King George III’s wife – Charlotte Sophia.

We did ask designers to look our region’s history and culture for inspiration, and one couldn’t go back too much further than the Tonelli’s did.

Additionally, they incorporated overhangs evocative of smokehouses and the open spaces and pitched roofs drawn from Charlotte’s reputation as the “City of Churches.”

Religious buildings, in fact, are one of the types of buildings in which RobinRenato Architecture and Design – he as an architect, her as a graphic designer – is experienced. They also design residential, commercial and museum buildings.

“We strive to create works of design that are elegantly contemporary,” they said in an email responding to questions about their work. “We don’t have a specific construction type that we are known for although we like to focus on creating spaces that are functional with an artistic eye towards form and materials. We also enjoy following through a project from the first sketches to the final punch list so the design concept is carried through to the details of construction.”

“Stable Haus” is designed for a contemporary family in that the living and dining space is open and flexible from the front to the back, which opens to a covered court yard for outdoor living. The Tonellis imagined a family that reveled in time outdoors, and included storage space behind the carport and a terrace at the front of the house.

The floor plan, they said, “relates to the simple organization of stables and barn structures” with the living space down the middle and the bedrooms off to one side and the kitchen on the other like stalls in a barn. There is also an open, upper floor loft.

Behind the kitchen is “back-of-house/pantry” that acts as a pantry/mudroom/laundry room, with storage space, a washer and dryer, and access to the carport area for the easy unloading of groceries.

The Tonellis said they were inspired to submit a design for our challenge because “we did face a ‘challenge’ when we were shopping for our home in Charlotte, as most homes we toured were too traditional in style and floor plan layout. We do feel that there is a lot of interest in contemporary homes here in Charlotte, but it’s a tough sell because new homeowners tend to stick to a common style of their house to resemble the typical architecture in the neighborhood.  So the question we asked ourselves is, how can a house design speak to a local vernacular while addressing today’s contemporary lifestyle? We were excited to participate in The Meck Times’ Reframing Charlotte competition through AIA Charlotte because it was a great way to  reach out to our local community to express our artistic and architectural views of a sophisticated middle class Charlottean house that embraces today’s modern family.”

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