A backcountry house gets the modern treatment with bold vistas and exceptional energy efficiency.

Originally published on Metropolis magazine’s website

Architect Greg Wiedemann, who completed the project with his firm Wiedemann Architects, describes the house as “a modern interpretation of the traditional white clapboard farmhouse and red barn that populate the neighboring countryside.” In his take on the old standard, he proposed an exterior clad with high-performing, insulated glass. The residence features windows and doors by Marvin, which maximize thermal protection and interior ventilation. The result is an open and modern residence with state of the art amenities—an update to a traditional country style.


The property boasts privileged access to the community’s open spaces. With its many broad windows, the house enjoys views of a rolling meadow and a lake, as well as a shared farmhouse and barn where co-housing residents can get together. “It’s a bucolic rural community that enjoys the character of the Virginia countryside,” Wiedemann says.


Initially, however, the site presented difficulties—the residence was built on a narrow plot upon a steep landscape. “It was challenging, but we turned the disadvantage to an advantage,” Wiedemann recalls. The architect designed the house to benefit from the sharp slope, allowing each of the two storeys access to the exterior. “The front of the house has beautiful views of the meadow, whereas the back of the house has mountain views.”

The house’s tall, slender layout also worked in favor of energy efficiency, a key parameter in the project, says Wiedemann. “The house has very thick exterior walls that are super insulated.” Wiedemann used materials intelligently, using Marvin’s selection of highly insulated glass French doors and windows. Wiedemann has worked with Marvin products for over 30 years, and in this case, the company “provided the best package in terms of cost, materials, hardware options and different operations,” he explains. The architects were also able to maintain a traditional farmhouse material palette by utilizing two color options from Marvin.


The orientation and elongated frame of the residence maximizes breezes, so windows were generously placed to optimize ventilation. “Particularly, Marvin’s Ultimate Venting Picture window [from the Signature Collection] afforded us the ability to have cross-ventilation and substantial size.” This effect is further amplified with a ventilation system built into a cupola that tops the house.

For the interior, Wiedemann opted for an open plan, with a flexible space on the lower level that can be transformed to fit multiple uses. “The client wanted a house where she could age in place,” said Wiedemann. While the lower level compliments the upper home as a living area, it also has a separate entrance which activates it as an independent residence that could be rented out, used for visitors, or turned into a caregiver’s apartment.


Ultimately, the task for Wiedemann, as he puts it, was to “design a modern home on a sloped site, and still have it be connected to the natural views.” Rows of large windows and glass doors by Marvin, coupled with its open layout, ensured that the house gets plenty of access to the landscape. “This was a particularly challenging site,” Wiedemann explains, “but the narrowness allowed for cross-ventilation and panoramic views from all the spaces to the mountains beyond.”

Posted by:Marvin

Marvin is a fourth-generation family-owned and -operated business, headquartered in Warroad, Minnesota, with more than 5,500 employees across 15 cities in North America. The Marvin portfolio of products for builders, architects and homeowners is designed to provide exceptional solutions for any project with a focus on creating better ways of living. Marvin products are distributed nationally through a network of independent dealers and are also exported internationally. Visit Marvin.com to learn more.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s