A-frame houses are a popular choice for vacation homes and weekend getaways. They are also becoming increasingly common as primary residences. One of Dean Larkin Design’s new designs in the Joshua Tree area is an A-Frame project.
Dean Larkin affectionately calls the home the Triangle House, and while this home is smaller than most of his projects at 900 square feet, he finds working on something so compact to be a fun challenge. His love of natural light is easy to accommodate in this A-frame project with expansive glass windows and doors on all sides of the house.
Based on the great views, Dean decided to add a 150 square foot viewing platform above the first level. Dean noted that “There’s nothing around the site, not a house to be seen, and it has some pretty spectacular views to the east west and south. So that’s why the carport is sitting on the north side.”
That arrangement puts the house’s side facing the major street, Aberdeen.
Dean shared, “There’s a feature on the Triangle House on the one-story portion that gestures sort of forward and that is an ode to Aberdeen, because that’s one of the best views. That gesture, that angled portion, was added as a tip of the hat to Aberdeen to give the house more personality from the Aberdeen side.”
Before A-Frame homes became a popular vacation home style in America, the style was used in other countries, including in Japan for farmhouses, and in Switzerland for outbuildings and ski chalets. In 1934, an architect who was a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, Rudolph Schindler, designed an A-Frame home as a vacation home for client Gisela Bennati in Lake Arrowhead, California. The home was constructed of plywood and stone, and built on a slope, oriented to the beautiful view of the site.
A-Frame homes really became popular post World-War II when Americans had extra disposable income and started having an interest in owning vacation homes. The structure was very adaptable and also affordable to build, and architects exercised their creativity to expand into more contemporary designs.
A-frame houses have some unique challenges. For example, with the angled walls, how do you hang a television? Dean Larkin found a solution in creating a flat fireplace wall. The wall, which is sort of like a chimney, will also act as a cooling tower. The fireplace will pull the hot air out of the house, which is important because the top of the A-Frame will really heat up when the weather is warm.
Solar houses are mandated in California, and on an A-Frame house, where the roof is so high-profile, solar panels would really impact the aesthetics. Dean Larkin Design is working to solve this challenge by installing a Tesla roof. Dean’s thought was, “if we can find a more handsome way to incorporate solar into our projects, we are going to take advantage of it.”
Tesla makes a solar shingle, and each shingle is like a mini solar panel. Dean noted that starting in July, battery backup will be mandated as well in California.
“Everyone wants a Tesla battery because of power outages: Fires spark with the overhead lines so the power gets shut off when there is the slightest breeze. Generators become a big deal but they are noisy, so everyone wants battery backup. They want Tesla batteries, but they are impossible to get. However, if you get a Tesla roof you are first in line to get a Tesla battery.” In addition to the practical value of a Tesla roof is the improved aesthetics vs standard solar panels.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) recognizes that reducing carbon emissions is vital to our planet, and has rolled out the AIA Net Zero 2030 Commitment. This climate strategy aspires to reach net zero emissions in the built environment by the year 2030. Dean Larkin Design is also committed to being a green firm, and the firm’s designs are already very energy efficient. Dean was pleased to note that they could claim their projects are Net Zero, “by having enough solar panels to provide all the electricity for the house. Our staff is working to understand energy loads and electricity required to run each house and then lay out the options for the solar panels or solar collectors so we can make them Net Zero.”
As proved by the attention to aesthetically pleasing energy efficiency in the A-Frame Project, Dean Larkin Design is committed to green practices in his contemporary design projects. Dean Larkin Design was established in Los Angeles in 1999 and this modern architecture firm maximizes the intrinsic potential of a location, including its available natural light sources and views. Dean Larkin is very familiar with both historical and contemporary design in the entire Los Angeles area, and the firm endeavors to achieve a complexity that is multi-layered with an effortless elegance. For a design that is modern and innovative, unlocks your location’s innate potential by making specific use of light, views and more, and uniquely designed for the way you live, contact Dean Larkin for a consultation.