What you probably don’t associate with Lindal, however, are flat roofs and simple, box shapes. But the 65-year-old company’s partnership with architectural firm Turkel Design has produced just that – a series of minimalist, straight-angled homes that are making contemporary heads turn. And with the recent introduction of the Modern A-frame, a bold twist on the classic vacation home that looks nothing like its predecessor, Lindal has become quite hip.
Now even fans of modern architecture can experience the customized process of building a Lindal home that is also decidedly “green.” In Western Colorado, those looking to build a Lindal home need look no further than Majestic Peaks Custom Homes, a certified Lindal Cedar Homes Dealer located in Montrose.
Born in Saskatchewan, 91-year-old Sir Walter Lindal (“Sir” is an English translation of his Icelandic given name, Skuli) founded Lindal Cedar Homes in Toronto in 1945. He moved the company to Vancouver, B.C., in 1962, to take advantage of the area’s abundant Western red cedar, an integral part of the Lindal design. From the start, his vision was to create custom homes with the environment in mind, incorporating energy efficiency, low-waste manufacturing and sustainable building with environmentally intelligent site plans.
Now headquartered in Seattle, the third-generation family-owned business is headed up by President and CEO Michael Harris.
“Michael Harris, he’s the guy that’s got the modern eye,” says Brent Hughes of Majestic Peaks Custom Homes, who has been an independent President’s Club Top 10 Lindal Cedar Homes distributor to Western Colorado (and beyond) since 2003. Easily spotted on Highway 550 and Solar Rd. just three miles south of Montrose, Hughes’ business is housed in – what else? – a classic Lindal home.
“Turkel’s designs, combined with Lindal’s post-and-beam structures – it’s perfect,” says Hughes as he thumbs through the 2010 Turkel Design Plan Library booklet, which begins: “Two-thousand-nine was a remarkable year for Lindal Cedar Homes.”
According to Hughes, Lindal’s partnership with Turkel Design (launched in January 2009) combined with Lindal’s adherence to National Association of Homebuilders’ Green Building Guidelines has proven to be a smart business move in the current U.S. economy.
Right now, “the [Turkel] work we’re getting is huge percentage-wise,” complementing the Lindal Classics, which have continued to sell well, he says. And the fact that Dwell Magazine selected seven Turkel-Lindal designs for its 2010 Dwell Homes Collection certainly doesn’t hurt, nor does their recognition in Time Magazine’s Green Design 100, a compendium of the world’s best environmentally conscious design.
CLASSIC DESIGNS MADE MODERN
Founded in 2007, Cambridge, Mass.-based Turkel Design is known for creating residential homes that feature clean lines, classic simplicity, and creative use of natural materials. Founding partner Joel Turkel has a bachelor of environmental studies from the University of Manitoba and a master’s in architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As former creative director of Empyrean International, he was involved with the development of the Dwell Homes program in 2003, created to promote a new generation of prefabricated modern homes. Subsequent generations of that program have led to a partnership between Turkel Design and Lindal Cedar Homes that established the TD Series homes, including seven designed specifically for the Dwell Homes Collection, all of which are available through Hughes’ Majestic Peaks Custom Homes.
“Building on the belief that good design should be widely accessible; Turkel Design has crafted a partnership with Lindal Cedar Homes, a company with global reach and a 65-year legacy of creating homes of enduring quality and beauty,” states the Turkel Design website. As a Lindal representative, Majestic Peaks Custom Homes makes a home by Turkel Design more accessible.
Although not technically pre-fabricated, but rather pre-engineered, the materials packages for Lindal homes are compiled in Seattle or Vancouver and then shipped to the building site. The system lends itself well to Turkel’s fondness for prefab, and the partnership provides a unique and potentially more affordable option for someone wanting to build a custom, modern, green home.
“For the client, the value is tremendous through Lindal,” says Hughes. “Design fees are extremely modest in comparison to the industry, for professional architectural design. We provide extraordinary value. And Turkel, he’s got a lot of it systematic,” so client customization is welcome and encouraged.
Hughes has two Turkel projects currently in the works, one in Aspen and one in Wyoming. The Aspen project is still in the approvals phase, but the owners are planning to build four Turkel homes on two town lots. Joel Turkel is providing direct consultation to customize the project, which will be subject to the Town of Aspen’s strict design review standards. Hughes is confident Turkel’s designs will exceed the town’s expectations.
In Wyoming, Hughes is securing the modification of a Turkel TD3 2990, a two-story, 2,990-square-foot home, the same design recognized by Time’s May 2009 issue of the Green Design 100. Both inside and out, the home is typical of Turkel’s work, from its pre-engineered building system to its clean lines and incorporation of natural materials. Designed to reduce the volume-to-floor area ratio, it is marketed as a “pitch-perfect response to the bloated homes of today... a refined and expressive family home.”
An inclined butterfly roof provides not only shade and shelter, but channels out unwanted hot air and collects rainwater. The open kitchen, dining and two-story living room have expansive windows oriented toward a back deck. A master suite and media room are located on the ground level and upstairs are three bedrooms, two bathrooms and two separate loft-offices overlooking the living room. Private decks are attached to all but one bedroom.
The TD Series was first introduced by Lindal in 2009, with three styles (TD1, TD2, TD3) and three different sizes within those styles. TD1 is a modern variation on the iconic Lindal design, with minimal use of gables, dormers and overhangs. TD2 designs are a contemporary nod to simple farmhouse structures, with post and beam construction, double-height great rooms and soaring vaulted gables. The TD3 homes are meant to be a fresh interpretation of Lindal’s Scandinavian roots, with clean, uncluttered lines and strong use of natural materials.
For 2010, Turkel and Lindal prepared seven designs for the Dwell Homes Collection, building upon the success and popularity of the 2009 TD design series. All TD homes are modest in size, ranging from 1,710 to just over 3,000 square feet. Features might include second-story gallery walkways that are open to below, unique roof lines (butterfly, gull wing, double incline), and two-story great rooms that both unite the house and provide separation for private spaces. Lindal SkyWalls are a common theme throughout the series.
“They are very efficient with space and volume,” explains Hughes of the TD series, adding, “They’re so simple, yet so cool.”
TAKING THE “A” OUT OF THE A-FRAME
Along with its Turkel Design-homes, Lindal took its innovation a bit further in 2010 by introducing the Modern A-frame, which preserves the spirit of the original A-frame (patented by Lindal in the 1960s), but the steep pitched gable roof is now gone.
The new A-frames are built upon a series of pre-designed blocks in a variety of sizes. Still designed with the family vacationer in mind, the five current home designs for 2010 range in size from 1,200 to 1,900 square feet and though compact, feature a full height glass wall. They are topped with flat or slightly pitched roofs and provide the option of an added garage and exterior decks.
The perfect modern vacation home or small residence, the easily arranged and modified forms provide maximum efficiency and use of space and can be rotated for best site placement and to take full advantage of views. And because the blocks are such a simple design, materials and construction costs are lower, and planning and building time frames are shorter.
Perhaps the best feature of the Modern A-frame is that clients can use any combination of blocks in any size – small to very large. Even better, there is no extra charge for altering a design. Hughes, a professional Civil Engineer, can tweak the Modern A-frames (as well as Lindal Classics) for free.
The designs are great for those with small building footprints and modest budgets. The structures can be single or two story with open-loft bedrooms. Some have separate master bedroom wings and decks to expand the outdoor living space. All feature SunWalls, or walls of glass, to take full advantage of views and sunlight.
A1, the smallest design at 1,200 square feet, is based on a single cube. It has an open-loft master suite, a bay-window bump-out off the kitchen and an office that doubles as a second bedroom. At the other end of the spectrum is the A5, a 1,900-square-foot structure based on five cubes. The two-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath home features a “sanctuary wing” for the master bedroom, and an open-loft bedroom suite over the kitchen, which opens to a two-story living and dining room.
You might be wondering, how exactly does a flat roof perform in snow country?
“The roof system works really well here,” reassures Hughes. They have a commercial roof application that withstands snow and ice melt, and the roof structure is designed for heavy snow loads; beams are upsized for structures located at higher altitudes, where snowfall is more prevalent.
BEFORE GREEN WAS GREEN
As with all Lindal homes, both the Turkel and A-frame designs have a lifetime structural warranty. Lindal is the first building system to be certified green by the National Association of Home Builders, and Majestic Peaks Custom Homes is a certified Green Professional Lindal Dealer.
“We’ve been doing green for decades,” says Hughes, pointing to Lindal’s inherent passive solar design and prevalent use of wood, a renewable resource.
Some of Lindal’s other green standards include laminated beams made from younger-growth Douglas fir; Energy Star-rated cedar double-framed windows with low-E Argon gas; pre-finished, low-VOC stained cement board siding; RoastWood decking that offers maximum protection without chemical treatment; and advanced smart framing to provide strength, efficient use of materials, and to allow for additional insulation. Lindal also works with clients to site their homes for maximum energy efficiency and minimal disturbance of the land. Furthermore, over the years Lindal has planted more than 200,000 trees to replace those used for its homes.
Through its Green Coast to Coast program, Lindal strives to “demonstrate how easy, affordable and gratifying it is to build green anywhere you live – and how significant your energy and maintenance savings can be year after year.” Ultimately, they hope to take the confusion and expense out of building green.
“I am a certified Green Professional,” says Hughes, who recently facilitated the building of an off-the-grid, solar powered Lindal Cedar Classic home in Norwood. “If people want it, we can do it, whether it’s 1,900 or 19,000 square feet.”
For his part, Hughes says 95 percent of his clients come to him with prior knowledge that Lindal builds energy-efficient, well-constructed homes. “I am very active, I advertise a lot and want people to know we’re here and do a great job,” he says. “I have solid [local] builder alliances – skilled, courteous and fair. And the finished budget is always right on – that’s a wonderful experience for both the client and myself.
“We’re serious about what we do here,” adds Hughes, who is one of Lindal’s top dealers. In fact, a recent project, located in Ouray County’s exclusive Cornerstone Development – a Lindal Classic that he modified – is featured on the inside cover of the 2010 Lindal Cedar Homes Design catalog. Then flip inside to page 51 and you’ll find photographs of Hughes’ Norwood clients’ solar-powered home.
Being an engineer, Hughes is dialed in to the demands of mountain living, as well as the desires of his mountain-loving clients. He also works well with fellow civil engineer Bob Lindal, son of Sir Walter Lindal and current chairman of the board.
“At Lindal, they respect me and they support me well,” he says. “To me, I am Lindal.”
Brent Hughes and his wife and business partner Stephanie Hughes, also a civil engineer, may be reached by calling 970/596-7375 or visit their website at www.majesticpeaks.com.
PHOTOGRAPHS ©Turkel Design
and Lindal Cedar Homes