barn raison d’être

August 14th 2012 Comments: 2

While researching the architectural styles of barns, I became mildly amused by my current scholarly investigation. In rural North Alabama, where I grew up, no architect ever laid a genteel creative hand upon a barn; they were humble agricultural necessities. Standing quietly like a cow grazing in the field, these … [read more]

McAlpine Journal: Barn Design

a tale of two cottages

August 7th 2012 Comments: 6

We recently completed construction on a unique commission in Aspen, Colorado’s bucolic West End.   This desirable little neighborhood is adjacent to downtown Aspen and is comprised mostly of narrow urban type lots.  Our client had bought a lovely piece of property which was burdened by a very ugly 1970s … [read more]

McAlpine Journal: Architectural Process

a sole witness

July 31st 2012 Comments: 4

The lone window is always the heartbreaker of the composition. It can be as sexy as a facial beauty mark or as calmingly beautiful as a framed simple still life. Its larger siblings, the bay window and picture window, may well be brighter and more dramatic but the isolated aperture … [read more]

pool liner notes

July 17th 2012 Comments: 1

It’s not often you see a swimming pool immediately upon entering the house. This Mediterranean house, located in Nashville, Tennessee is a far cry from that sea of inspiration. Being welcomed home by crystal clear water seemed a requirement. Landscape Architects Page Duke worked with us to seamlessly integrate this … [read more]

McAlpine Journal: Outdoors

built on the fourth of july

July 3rd 2012 Comments: 3

Like the can opener, the credit card and musical theatre, these styles are distinct American inventions. The following houses are are some of our designs which represent our rich American history: CARPENTER GOTHIC Carpenter Gothic, also called Carpenter’s Gothic, and Rural Gothic, is a North American architectural style-designation for an … [read more]

McAlpine Journal: Style

court/house wedding

June 19th 2012 Comments: 3

In residential design, much emphasis is given to the entrance sequence, mainly the door and the foyer just for this reason. It’s the designer’s opportunity to play an overture to introduce the play within. In most instances, however, the visitor’s welcome to the home is not arrival by foot at … [read more]

Wall to Enthrall

June 12th 2012 Comments: 8

“If you see a wall that needs something on it, let me know.” Those were the parting words of our friend and host last fall as Mark Montoya and I left the villa he and his sister have on the Amalfi coast of Italy. And, so began one of the … [read more]

enchanted garden

June 5th 2012 Comments: 17

When the collaboration is at its best, your host offers himself up and, in the end, teaches you more.  Such was the case of this client and his Lake Martin, Alabama home.   He came prepared for our first meeting with scores of sketches and even more ideas.  With this … [read more]

McAlpine Journal: Gardens

ascending order

May 29th 2012 Comments: 4

On the contrary, stairs can be fluid, poetic gestures in the architectural landscape, waiting patiently to whisk you away. The act of ascending (or descending) stairs is really a vertical crossroads in the journey. Traversing to another viewpoint; a new perspective is added to the walk. Crawl atop to the … [read more]

McAlpine Journal: Giles Home

changing hands

May 8th 2012 Comments: 3

This is not the rule; it’s actually a rare exception. Over the past 30 years we’ve had hundreds of our houses trade hands and it’s always interesting to watch into whose hands they fall. In the early 1990s, we designed a large, contemporary home for a couple on a difficult … [read more]

McAlpine Journal: Press