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On a steep mountainside in the Appalachian Mountains, a modern lair will be created. The approach road curves in and out, following the mountain’s topography. The road affords, and then takes away, views of the sleek, modern box through the trees and around the topography.

Three shed volumes of the house cling to the side of the mountain. As allowed by the steep slope of the landscape, the three volumes are simultaneously carved into the mountain, and also become a tree house above the mountain and its foliage. Entry into the house is at the upper level, where the living, dining, and kitchen shed volume is flanked by the master bedroom and the screened porch wings. Each area of this main upper level opens to the treetops and the lake below. The lower level contains guest bedrooms, a library, and a balcony under the prow.

The house is a tight- fisted machine for (weekend) living. A James Bond outpost built on a ‘B’ movie budget. The structure is 2 x 6 framing, prefabricated parallel chord wood trusses, cement board, corrugated steel, and split face CMU. Interiors are by IKEA.


  • Builder: Frank Dellinger, Dellinger & Dellinger Construction Inc. Bayse, VA
  • Structural Engineer: Structural Concepts Inc. Winchester, Virginia
  • Mechanical Engineer: FHC Engineering, P.C., Winchester, Virginia
  • Interior Design: Reader & Swartz Architects, P.C., Client, Jamie Palmera,
  • Studio Palmera Washington, D.C.
  • Lighting: Ronni Glazer, Illuminations Inc., Washington D.C.
  • Electrical: Matthew Huffman, Huffman Electrical Systems, Harrisonburg, VA
  • Photographer: Reader & Swartz Architects