We wanted something minimalist with lots of light, cubic forms, a house to entertain in with a lot of indoor-outdoor feel. – Marianne, Homeowner
Located in McLean Virginia, the Divine House is a reinterpretation of the traditional suburban home. The modern massing of this house evolved into a series of eroded white boxes that revolve around a dark gray stair tower. Each box reveals a palette of warm wood, metal details and glassy corners that draw your eye in and invite you to explore how the rest of the house unfolds. The homeowners were actively involved in the design process, working with Ralph Cunningham, FAIA and his team on the minimalist and modern design. The goal was to capture ample natural light and blur the line between the indoor and outdoor spaces. This innovative and trendsetting home is ideal for hosting both intimate gatherings and large parties.
“First of all, we are super satisfied with our window and door choices. We loved the service and [the support] was really lovely. Because we host big parties, it’s important that we have more than one leaf of the door open, and often have two panels completely open. It eases the flow if we set some food around the island in the kitchen. It works beautifully and easily. Very convenient and very waterproof.”
– Marianne, Homeowner
The topography of the site played an essential role in the design strategy. The architects buried the garage level into the sloping grade, allowing the first floor to be flush with the rear yard and pool beyond. The courtyard at the center of the white boxes is directly accessible from all three adjacent rooms. At the front of the house, the dining room opens up to the wraparound front porch, creating another visual and physical connection to the outdoors.
The Divine House exceeds the traditional boundaries of suburban living. In an area where most homes feature large garage doors as a focal point from the street, this home has an entry court that leads to a garage door that disappears below the front porch. As you approach the front door, large expanses of glass allow you to see through the house from front to back.
Marianne enjoys the view of the street from her office, saying she can see people admiring the house and taking pictures. Divine House has proven to be a trendsetter according to Marianne — when the house was first built there were no homes that used the sleek black windows. Now on the same street, they are seeing more and more of them being built.
Despite the amount of glass in the design, it is still nice and quiet and that’s a testament to the Loewen product.
– Angie Yu, Associate Principal, Cunningham | Quill Architects
Loewen’s large wood windows and expansive sliding doors give the home a minimalist appeal and create an environment that brings the outdoors and indoor spaces into harmony. Loewen helped accomplish this goal by making windows with narrow stiles and sleek profiles. The team selected dark paint for the interior wood sashes and frames to mimic the metal look the owner desired. They took advantage of the energy benefits of a clad wood window and avoided the additional costs of a metal window.
“We had a very specific rhythm of windows that tie the first and second floor and the front of the house and the back of the house [together]. With Loewen’s clad-wood windows, we were able to achieve that very fine, skinny detail without additional steel or wood columns by having the steel reinforced in the jambs themselves,” explains Angie Yu.
It was also very important to us and particularly to Marianne to have this connection to outside both front and back which is relatively unusual… So it is very much a house that looks both ways, not just to the backyard.
– Ralph Cunningham, FAIA, Cunningham | Quill
The weather in Northern Virginia is a combination of extremely hot humid days in the summer and high humidity but cold days in the winter. An efficient building envelope that includes high-quality windows and doors is essential in this environment. Due to the large amount of glass in this home, the team selected insulated double-pane windows with one or two layers of LowE to resist the transmission of heat and cold. Loewen wood windows gave them the flexibility needed to go beyond the required efficiency while still maintaining the minimalist appeal.
Some of the Loewen specialty products that make a big impact in this home include the multi-slide
doors which enhance the indoor-outdoor feeling and the dining room windows with structural steel stiffeners which allow for larger windows without adding bulk. John Sanders says “This house is a good balance for the whole Loewen product line. We’ve got a little bit of everything to complement the perfect modern house. The front entry door might also be a good example where we had a clad frame, clad sidelights that complement the house while allowing the client to insert a custom wood entry door.”
“Having beautiful architecture is not just about the window or door, it’s about the building, and we want the buildings to be out there for people to see and improve the quality of architecture across the board.”
Marianne’s home is truly a showpiece, it’s unique, that is the reason why John, our territory representatives and I wanted to feature this house. We are really impressed with the final result. Loewen’s main design philosophy is that we are interested in great living spaces, and this wonderful home really ticked all the boxes for us.
– Antonio Novelli, Marketing Manager, Loewen Windows
The Divine House is a true collaboration between the homeowners, Cunningham | Quill, The Sanders Company and Loewen. The team created a home that is an example of great architecture and design that delivers a beautiful and comfortable living space to their clients.