The homeowners had spent years under the guidance of a landscape architect selectively editing and revealing the natural features of the property, so that when the conversation about the architecture started, the homeowners were well attuned to the site. This knowledge and intimacy guided the house design with the final result being an outgrowth of the knoll on which it sits. A long gabled volume perches on top of the knoll and faces meadows to the west. Arranged to take best advantage of the topography and maximize connection to the outdoors, each space is uniquely shaped to its surrounding and function. Exterior materials and larges windows and doors were chosen to merge the house with the natural environment. The play between solid surfaces and glazing, wall and void, light and dark helped create dynamic interplay between indoors and outside. Inside, monochromatic walls provide an illusion of much larger spaces. Because the views and interaction of indoors to out was a primary focus of the design, some traditional elements such as the upper cabinet storage were reconsidered. A large walk-in pantry was built to house the refrigerator, dishes, appliances, and food. A pared-down approach to finishes and geometry was budget friendly and helped to maintain a consistent design framework.
Elizabeth Herrmann was recognized as the winner of the “Best Transitional” category in Marvin Architects Challenge 2017. Judges chose the Knoll House as an exemplary residence for its “composition of two simple forms punctuated by large windows, allowing the residence to settle into the wooded site while taking advantage of great views. The added move of the simple pop-up dormer adds a dramatic touch to the main living area and another view angle to the tops of those trees.”