2011 East Alabama Living Showcase Home

Belcastel Showcase Home

East Alabama Living Magazine annually selects a builder and architect for its Showcase home and for the 2010-2011 year, studiosmith Architecture, LLC and Dilworth Development, Inc were selected as the featured team. The full spread feature included articles and photographs of the design and construction process across its Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer issues.

The project is a new community in Auburn, Alabama called Belcastel. It is actually a single street at the end of Fairway Drive, a prominent and high profile street in the Moores Mill Golf Club community. The street is built out on one side only as the homes face a utility easement. Working with the builder/developer, studiosmith Architecture, LLC conceived of the theme, developed the property layout and designed the branding and marketing for the community. Design elements included the master plan, logo, marketing material and imagery as well as street lighting, entry monument, onsite marketing sign during construction and landscaping ideas.

The easement was allowed to maintain its natural foliage and landscape, while the edge of the street was bordered with a paved sidewalk and large stones are sprinkled along the street. This creates a very nice natural feature that is an amenity to the community rather than an a typical easement. The landscape makes for a picturesque view from within each home.

The feature design project was the Showcase Home designed as a custom speculative residence. The idea was to showcase the design process where a team works closely together to marry a custom approach to residential design with the common aspects buyers look for in a home. Architect, builder, interior designer, marketing and realtor each played a significant role in determining how best to provide a high end custom residence, while also paying close attention to the buyer market. Naturally, the design experienced modifications along the way based on the input from the research and experience of each team member and the result was quite good. Although a few truly custom aspects of the design were changed, a buyer came aboard before the conceptual design was complete. In this way, the project was a successful venture.

The design concept was to, first, create a structure with a timeless feel and old world charm. The basic request from the builder was a French inspired theme for the community and this home. It was very important to establish a sense of place and a home that had mass and presence. Brick, stone and heavy timber are the primary materials used to give the home a feeling of longevity. Of primary import to the design were natural light deep into the home, privacy for the master suite, an open kitchen with adjacent keeping room, outdoor living space and entertainment areas.

The end result is beautiful and really captures the essence of what the team was looking to achieve, which was an elegant and timeless home that creates a sense of place. See future posts for construction photos. Enjoy!