A North Carolina Couple Builds a Sustainable Home Fit for Retirement

Photos by Mark Herboth Photography

Anantha and Leigh Aiyyer, a science professor and symphony musician, had a goal to build a home in Carrboro, North Carolina that was in tune with their passions. And perhaps just as importantly, they wanted a comfortable place where they could eventually spend their retirement.

Thankfully, the 1,750-square-foot property that CUBE design + research built for them meets those standards.

One of their biggest passions, architect Jason W. Hart said, was sustainability. So, the team studied the wooded site — taking in the way the sun moves throughout the day — and devised a layout with strategically-placed windows that maximized natural light. Once construction began, the firm cut down the least amount of trees possible to still accomplish privacy, installed ample insulation to save electricity, and created a rainwater catchment system so that the owners used less water. And as for their future golden years?

"The home is designed for aging-in-place with ground floor living, no raised curbs or thresholds at doors or showers, and proper clearance for a wheelchair if ever needed," Hart said. The house is now a haven where the couple can grow old together, all while being kind to the Earth. It doesn't get more harmonious than that.

exterior
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credit: Mark Herboth Photography

A German-made beer garden table sits atop a concrete entrance. The table mimics the flat roof and narrow overhang of the facade.

exterior
credit: Mark Herboth Photography

The linear and asymmetrical design features narrow windows that give a limited view of the interior. The red exterior was created by using Galvalume metal in a "box-rib" shape.

exterior
credit: Mark Herboth Photography

A wood stove fireplace from Jotul can be seen from the outside. And an open-air driveway is a great alternative for a garage that may obstruct the view of the landscape.

living room
credit: Mark Herboth Photography

"The owners have been collecting vintage midcentury modern furniture for some time from various sources — from shops to Craigslist," Hart said. One such piece is a living room table was built sometime in the midcentury.

living room
credit: Mark Herboth Photography

A Kofod Larsen for Selig sofa and Baumritter chairs in the living room are vintage midcentury treasures. One of the owners is a symphony harpist, and the Lyon and Healy harp is beautiful enough to be mistaken as part of the design.

dining room
credit: Mark Herboth Photography

A dining table and chairs by Calligaris sits under a Bel Occhio hanging light by Pablo Design. Regner Christensen shelving was installed nearby to give the owners a place to showcase more of their collection.

bedroom
credit: Mike Cincala

A simple bed frame from Ikea uses clean lines that are perpendicular to linear shelving by the Danish brand Cado.

bathroom
credit: Mark Herboth Photography

Up-to-date fixtures in the bathroom — like a sink and toilet by Kohler, and a shower fixture by Delta — give this room a super modern feel. Grey tiles by Royal Mosa surround the space.

exterior
credit: Mark Herboth Photography

By paying attention to every detail, the firm was able to create a design that feels secluded. "We surveyed every tree location on the property," Hart said.