Tonic Design Tonic Construction

Tonic Design Tonic Construction is an award-winning modern design-build firm in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Smart-Stell Residence

Our clients wanted a new house but not a new neighborhood. On one of their daily walks they found a 40-year-old structure for sale. The house, beyond repair, occupied a promising lot with a southeast exposure to a small lake. The new home’s design addresses two key site relationships: the neighborhood context and the landscape of the lake. From the street, the one-story building’s form is low, quiet and horizontal. The building sits deep on the site, respecting its adjacent neighbors. From the back the building opens up to the lake displaying a large expanse of glass maximizing the connection between the interior and the view.

As both the designer and contractor, the main challenge was maximizing the southern view to the lake while still providing a comfortable living space. The solution came in the form of a hockey stick shaped structure fabricated of wood beams and steel plate. This composite structure, designed with the help of the North Carolina Solar Center, supports an ipe trellis. The size and spacing of the trellis’ slats are carefully designed to ensure that direct sunlight is blocked during the summer but allowed to enter and warm the main living volume in the winter.

The structural grid of 16 steel columns provides lateral stability for the mostly glass building. These columns transfer shear forces directly to the foundation, support the large shed roof, and allow the shading structure to cantilever from the edge of the roof.

May 2010 – Durham, NC

2012 AIA Triangle Honor Award
2010 AIA NC Merit Award
Durham Magazine “Great Homes of Durham”