June 16, 2024


Comfortable residential structure

Finest of Style and design: New Household

Massery Exterior Apr21


When Renee Gwin found out a seriously wooded, 10-acre assets in Cheswick, pocked with deep valleys and considered almost unbuildable, she realized she’d identified the perfect area for her family’s new dwelling.

Soon after all, her husband, Rothschild Doyno Collaborative Principal Mike Gwin, enjoys a very good structure challenge.

The couple, longtime city dwellers who had beforehand renovated a Victorian-period household in Lawrenceville, wished their new home to be a 21st-century sanctuary, current in harmony with its atmosphere and filled with modern facilities. In buy to get the equilibrium just proper, Mike experienced to first understand the landscape they’d just obtained — the way the prevailing breeze moved by way of the valleys, the quantity of noise trickling in from the road, the depth and breadth of just about every valley. So he and Renee expended extensive weekends climbing and tenting the house with their a few sons.

They finally chose a location in the center of their 10 acres, tucked versus a hillside in the midst of a mostly undisturbed tree canopy, to assemble their a few-story, 2,800-square-foot home.

Massery Patio Apr21

The biophilic style and design — a notion that increases the occupants’ link to mother nature and is claimed to have equally wellbeing and environmental advantages — wowed the judges and took Finest New Dwelling honors in this year’s Greatest of Style competitors.

“I really like how they saved the finishes, shades, textures, and specifics negligible so as not to take absent from the exterior views,” says Judge Carissa Smith of Cleveland-primarily based AoDK Architecture. “It actually feels like a treehouse.”

The residence also received an AIA Pittsburgh Style Award Certification of Benefit very last 12 months.

Massery Swing Apr21

“It’s lovely in both of those form and functionality, and it serves as an exemplary example of creating houses that can minimize our impact on the atmosphere,” adds Judge Crystal DeCastro Knapik of Vocon.

A great deal of the praise heaped upon the property has been for its passive and sustainable structure methods, together with normal air flow, shading and rainwater selection. Mike has extensive used sustainable ideas in his function with clients and the Gwins were eager to adopt the methods in their have household. To limit tree removal, they purposefully positioned the structure within just the trees, so naked branches permit daylight to warm the home in the winter although leaves provide shade in the summertime. The breezes that consistently skim the valley enter the residence on the most affordable amount, sweep up by the dwelling in a chimney outcome, and exit through the best-flooring home windows.

“That,” Mike claims, “is just a very good previous structure theory.”

Massery Dog Apr21

The program for collecting and processing 100 p.c of the rainwater that falls on the house is a seamlessly built-in sustainability function. Greenscape roofing absorbs stormwater, a gravity-fed harvesting tank collects drinking water for tending to their vegetable and pollinator gardens, and processing tanks with a drip irrigation procedure permit wastewater to return to the floor.

Nevertheless the wooded landscape and use of sustainable style and design have led many to believe that the Gwins are living in the middle of nowhere, the home is really adjacent to a community and just off a major artery in Cheswick. Intelligent positioning of the home on the house and the home windows on the household keep that absent-from-it-all aura.

Cheswick Map1 Apr21

The facet of the property that faces the highway is coated in custom made aluminum siding complemented with heat wood panels. A narrow financial institution of windows appears in on the home’s open up staircase, flooding it with gentle. The back and reverse sides of the dwelling are almost full glass, featuring unobstructed sights of the flora and fauna that appear and go with the seasons.

“Every room has a different experience,” Renee suggests. “No matter how you are experience, there is a house the place you can go.”

Cheswick Map2 Apr21

Renee tends to retreat to the third-floor grasp bed room, especially on stormy nights when she can appreciate the calming effect of rain slipping on the metallic roof. In addition, Mike states with a hint of glee, when you peer out from the leading-floor home windows or lounge on 1 of the balconies, “It’s type of like dwelling in a significant treehouse.”

Irrespective of the childhood nostalgia designed at the leading of the property, Mike prefers the cozy sensation of currently being tucked in opposition to the land on the initially ground. And their boys — now 17, 15 and 12 several years outdated — shell out a whole lot of time in the hammock chair, which swings on a little balcony developed particularly for the family-most loved piece of furniture.

Finally, although, anyone tends to close up in the open-principle key level of the household, which options a kitchen stocked with customized cabinetry and topped with leathered granite. The adjacent dining and dwelling locations have an expanse of home windows and a assortment of massive balconies.

Massery Door Apr21

The one matter it does not have is a good deal of wall room.

“We purposefully held the within of the dwelling incredibly very simple and enable the windows be the artwork,” Mike says.

Well, conserve a couple standout parts. One is a starburst-formed, custom espresso table created and created by buddy Jason Boone of Pittsburgh’s Urban Tree. One more is an open up-tread staircase, made from reclaimed, western Pennsylvania barnwood, that twists from the bottom flooring to the best. And then, there’s a sweet, personal touch — a trio of charcoal drawings that Mike produced of the couple’s sons when they ended up cherub-cheeked toddlers.

In addition to offering artwork, Mike served as the architect, general contractor and builder on the challenge. That not only manufactured for seamless interaction with building supervisor Adam Stickle of Stix and Stones, but also allowed him to work carefully with his father, Alan Gwin, a builder who, many years back, sparked Mike’s like for development by enabling his son to tag together when he went to work.

Massery Kitchen Apr21

“I grew up operating on job websites,” Mike states. “He really shaped my appreciation for building and development and solution to building architecture.”

Jointly, father and son poured the home’s polished, concrete floors, laid the stonework outdoors, put in the wood panels and all the cabinetry and produced the greenscape roofing, amongst other projects. Equally Mike and Renee are reminded of individuals times as they transfer as a result of their property.

It’s fitting, they say, for the reason that the very best sections of the dwelling aren’t the bodily spaces. The very best components are the fulfillment, function and the tranquility that comes from living in harmony with character. With each individual working day, every rise and set of the sunlight, every change in season, they find out a little something new.

“Our residence has taught us a large amount,” Mike says.


  • Architectural Style: Michael Gwin, Rothschild Doyno Collaborative.
  • Basic Contractor: Gwin Development.
  • Construction Manager:  Adam Stickle, Stix and Stones.
  • Structural Engineer: Capstone Engineering.
  • Interior Design: Michael and Renee Gwin.
  • Home windows and Doors: Marvin Home windows,  Allegheny Millwork.
  • Window Put in: Santico Inc, Don Santillo.
  • Exterior Siding and Roofing: Imetco.
  • Siding Fabrication and Install: Bryn Enterprises.
  • Exterior Wooden Panels: Prodema, Barbara J. Revenue.
  • Exterior Stone: Realstone, Architectural Clay Solutions.
  • Exterior Railings: Wolfe Metal Fab.
  • Interior Railings: Mood+Grit / Wheaton Metal.
  • Mechanical: Jeff Chips.  Electrical: Lagamba Electric powered.
  • Plumbing: Wise Plumbing.
  • Plumbing Fixtures: Penstan.
  • Lighting: Cardello.
  • Cabinetry: Group Laminates Business.
  • Reclaimed Barn Beam Stairs: Barry Lang.
  • Counter tops: Armina Stone.