Elm / Randy Brown Architects

Courtesy of

The architects were challenged to design an affordable, modern, eco-friendly home that would sell at the same price point as a homebuilder house with comparable square footage. The result was a modular designed bar that sits on a poured-in-place concrete foundation situated within a 2 acre lot in suburban .  More photographs and drawings of Elm, designed by Randy Brown Architects, following the break.

Architects: Randy Brown Architects
Location: Omaha, Nebraska, USA
Project Year: 2006
Photographs: Courtesy of Randy Brown Architects

Courtesy of Randy Brown Architects

Most American families are living the suburban lifestyle. These suburbs are placeless and, whether on the coast or in the Midwest, the houses which comprise them look virtually identical. These houses are also marketed to give the buyers a feeling of ownership through selection of the carpet and paint colors, and occasionally the trim options for the kitchen millwork. Plan options are few and do not reflect the diversity and pace at which the contemporary American family lives. This was the architects starting point.

Courtesy of Randy Brown Architects

The architect chose to purchase a plot of land in the first sprawl ring of Omaha, Nebraska which backs up to a state nature preserve and also has a quiet creek running diagonally through it. Site planning efforts chose to favor land stewardship and density, accounting for existing drainage patterns, existing vegetation and maximizing views while maintaining privacy.

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floor plans

Elm, lot 8 within this subdivision, offers modern modular design tactics with sustainable features throughout including bamboo floors, cement fiber board, native grasses requiring no irrigation, natural lighting and 1” low-e insulated glass. The central stair integrates recycled cedar fencing to reflect the rural home that its residents are relocating from which contrasts well with their modern furniture collection.

The houses in this subdivision also offer radiant or geo-thermal heating, grey water and rainwater collection systems, permeable paving, compact fluorescent lights, energy star appliances and photovoltaic panels as methods to make the home more energy efficient.

The resulting design allows for the benefits that encourage prototypical housing strategies while creating options for personalization and identity that custom housing design offers.

Courtesy of Randy Brown Architects
Cite: "Elm / Randy Brown Architects" 17 Feb 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 20 Dec 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=112898>
  • Observer

    Wow. I think this is the first thing I’ve seen by Randy that I actually kind of like. It looks clean and professional, and not too student-project-esque.

  • Allan

    This house has only one side. If more, then show it…

  • Chris Carlton

    Really do enjoy the interior. The living room / kitchen shot says it all to me. Staircase is very restrained and very beautiful.

  • http://www.gregallegretti.com Greg Allegretti

    Congratulations to Randy/Brown. Skillfully done. The containerized roof garden is an interesting solution that I’ve not seen previously.

  • http://uptodayarch.blogspot.com up_today_arch

    Interior is well done… this style should be drown to elevations…

  • http://www.designmite.com Tom

    Both “Elm” and “Crabapple” look great in and out, but the details on the house are such that they negate the merit of design. The care taken to get these built was far less than the design and photography… suspect to say the least. The design community needs to be more critical of the final product than to just look at a seductive photo. Especially in this instance.

  • http://kylescotland@aim.com KDS

    Like the exterior, like the interior, but the two seem to have nothing to do with each other in terms of materials or detailing.