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A Glass House on the Range

This post was written by jd on August 12, 2010
Posted Under: Construction,Real Estate

On the outskirts of a tiny agricultural town , Joseph, Oregon, where hay bales and tractors are the usual roadside attractions, sits a 1,440-square-foot glass box.

Three sides of the house are transparent, made from triple-paned glass, leaving the living area, kitchen and bedroom visible. The fourth wall is clad in cedar siding to protect against the wind in the winter. The glass walls, which climb to 16 feet in some places, overlook the 80 acres of farmland the house sits on, plus vistas of field, sky and mountain.

The couple screened four other architects before choosing Jim Olson of Olson Kundig Architects in Seattle, whose firm had designed several of the homes they had clipped from magazines over the years. “It’s not every day that someone comes in wanting something so small,” says Mr. Olson, whose residential projects usually range from 4,000 square feet to 15,000 square feet. “But I think there’s a certain luxury to be able to live in a minimal space surrounded by this incredible amount of nature.” The design and construction of the house and a nearby barn, used for guest and garage space, cost about $1 million.

A 78.5-acre parcel of land nearby, with a three-bedroom house, barn and other buildings, is listed for $1.5 million, according to Real Estate Associates.

“Everybody said, ‘How can you build a glass house out where it really gets cold in the wintertime?’,” says Ms. MartzEmerson. “Well, it’s warm and cozy inside.” Monthly utilities for the home run around $35.

Walls of glass are challenging for a meticulous couple who remove their shoes before entering the house. The couple have the glass professionally cleaned once or twice a year (the exterior takes about 10 hours), and regularly clean a few panes during their visits.

Read the rest of the story in the   Wall Street Journal

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