Plasma cutting steel staircase Tung oil applied on trim woodwwork Floors milled from site grown trees Septic field restoration Reflecting afternoon sun Birth of a barn on Bragg Hill Radiant floors Solar panel installation Capping off the chimney Proud shape emerges on the hilltop Pumping concrete into the three gables Forming 12x12 Gables Delivering concrete from the sky Parallam beam positioning Flying flitch beam ICF window framing Precision concrete placement Lower level ICF fabrication Newly excavated driveway Finishing garage deck concrete Pouring concrete footers Rebar safety caps Surveying the construction site Checking out the excavation equipment Rapid soil stabilization Testing the soils for drainage Taking Solar Pathfinder measurements Milling downed trees onsite View to the Southeast over the Benzel Family Trust Future meadow to be cultivated Taking a stroll on Bragg Hill Road

Evolution of Design

Designing a home on a hill in the forest has its challenges. Keeping it in balance with the environment while honoring the heritage of the Brandywine Valley is the challenge put forth to our architect, Matthew Moger. This is the evolution of our design process.

Reclaimed Redux

Reclaimed Redux Handmade furniture from reclaimed wood has taken a new twist at 60 bragg Hill.  Our specification called for four simple wood vanity bases for the various bathrooms in our home.  Rather than buying new, we turned to Wolfe and Hale, a local thrid generation custom millwork and cabinetry shop.  Bob and Tom Hale worked closely with our architect, Matthew Moger to find the right wood for the vanities that faithfully… Read more →

Stairs of Steel

Stairs of Steel After a year of planning and design, the fabrication of our “floating” stairway went into production.  The hand made steel and oak stair structure was designed to be the predominant element seated within the glass and steel solar chimney that is at the core of the barn.  The open tread design will facilitate the natural convection of air currents through the stair chamber and out the cupola, keeping the house… Read more →

Hand Built Kitchen Cabinets

Hand Built Kitchen Cabinets For the craftsmen at Superior Woodcraft, the past few weeks have been busy working on the 60 Bragg Hill project.  While the careful planning and design for the kitchen took a year in devleopment, just last month they focused their full production staff on our kitchen. Much has been said on this web site about the quality and craftsmanship of Superior Woodcraft’s kitchens, but you can’t really appreciate the quality… Read more →

Environmental 3D Rendering

Environmental 3D Rendering Moger • Mehrhof Architects and Jonathan Alderson Landscape Architects banded together to create this wonderful composite 3D rendering.  With the assistance of Drexel architecture intern, Zachary Newhard the 3D rendering blended vector and raster elements from several disparate computer systems.  The addition of the 3D landscape elements indigenous to 60 Bragg Hill truly gives the home a sense of scale and purpose that previous renderings lacked.  As for the funny… Read more →

Where’s the first floor?

Where’s the first floor? Building on a hillside can be deceiving.  So much so that it sometimes requires advanced technology to tell you that your eyes are lying to you.  On paper, it appeared that we should establish the main floor at an elevation of 336 MSL (Mean Sea Level).  When you are standing on the hill, what does 336 look like?  In our case, we had engineer’s survey stakes that indicated exact elevations. … Read more →

Kitchen Design Charette

Kitchen Design Charette Marcy Conti of Superior Woodcraft met with the owners and architect to review preliminary design concepts for 60 Bragg Hill. Working within the space criteria established by Matthew Moger, Marcy came prepared with hand drawn design concepts and a variety of samples for cabinetry and counter tops.  At this early stage, kitchen work flow, natural and artificial lighting, appliance preferences and the desired aesthetic all contribute to a smart, sustainable… Read more →

Choosing a partner

We recently selected Superior Woodcraft as our custom cabinet maker for our Bragg Hill home, not because they make quality handcrafted kitchen cabinets in a sustainable way—they do—but because of what they bring to the design team.  The philosophy of Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) empowers all participants on the project team to contribute to the overall success of the project (our home).  The Superior Woodcraft team has already met with… Read more →

3D Topographic Renderings Improve Design Accuracy

3D Topographic Renderings Improve Design Accuracy The advances in architecture software provides new tools to graphically render and integrate the topographic data collected by Regester Associates, the civil engineer on the project.  Using the latest version of Vectorworks software, Matthew Moger and his team use the technology to provide full site renderings in three dimensions.  This visual advancement empowers all of the participants on the Bragg Hill team to make smarter, more accurate decisions with greater… Read more →

Architect Matthew Moger’s recognized as designer of one of the world’s 40 greenest homes

Architect Matthew Moger’s recognized as designer of one of the world’s 40 greenest homes Two years ago, our architect, Matthew Moger designed a nearby home in Kennett Square, PA.  That home was just written up in a new book “ECO-HOUSES” published in Germany by Barbara Linz (available at Matthew’s design of 60 Bragg Hill Road will incorporate many of the sustainable design elements he implemented into the Kennett Square home.  Fortunately for us, many of the team members on that project are part… Read more →

Integrated Design Team

Integrated Design Team Building a home from Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) has its challenges.  Detailed planning in the early stages is critical to success.  This is the heart of the Integrated Project Delivery model.  This photo represents IPD in action.  Seated at the table are the architect, contractor and structural engineer, ICF and window suppliers.  Every square inch of the house is discussed in technical detail to assure the environmental, structural, and aesthetic… Read more →

Updated 3D Elevations

Our architect, Matthew Moger is designing our home using software that simultaneously renders three dimensional views on demand. This is an enormous visual aid that efficiently translates the technical elements of the plan into imagery that clearly communicates spatial relationships, textures and designed living spaces.  This view is an elevated rendering from the treetops above the South West corner of the home. The sloping ground level is not shown to illustrate… Read more →

Landscape Concepts Developed

Once the footprint of the house was established, Jonathan Alderson and his team went to work to design the courtyard and the landscaping scenario for the home.  Keeping with our desire for minimal disturbance of the environment and careful control of storm water runoff several courtyard concepts were presented.  Each of these designs utilizes an impervious self contained gravel courtyard designed to be functional and aesthetically balanced with the new… Read more →

House Design Takes Shape

As the schematic design phase of the project concludes, our new home is starting to take shape.  The design we agreed to peruse was influenced by elements from all four concepts.  Our decision to zero in on Plan C was made collaboratively by the entire design team.  A simple, single structure footprint minimizes disturbance and is kinder to the environment and pocketbook.  To simplify the design even more, we decided… Read more →

Plan D : A radical approach

Our architect, Matthew Moger told us that he wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t create a radical design for our consideration.  The idea, he explained, is to take us “way out there” creatively, and then bring us back.  I didn’t know what he meant until he proposed this magnificent concept. Bold in its approach, the modern design celebrates the hillside on which it sits, and rewards its inhabitants… Read more →

Site Plan C

This plan is a variation of Plan B with the studio/garage building attached to the main house by a connecting structure By doing this, Matthew addressed our concerns about walking outside during inclimate weather.  The main building has now been oriented to provide both dramatic views of the valley below and maximum exposure of the roof axis to the South for solar efficiency. The courtyard entrance concept remains in tact… Read more →

Site Plan B

Following on a creative expression of “village” this concept called “B” takes maximum advantage of the dramatic views to the East, South and West.  Similar to plan A the gravel courtyard separates the car experience from the home experience.  Two separate entrances to the home are indicated by the stone path walkways.  The garage and studio building is designed to separate our professional work from our private living space.  The… Read more →

Site Plan A

Matther Moger presented four design concepts for our home.  This first plan called version “A” works well with the topography of the site.  The idea behind this plan is to create a sense of “village” by the creation of discreet areas of activity.  A visitor would arrive at the home at the top of the hill and be greeted by a gravel courtyard.  The entrance to the house is accomplished… Read more →

Site Topography

Our property is 10 acres of undeveloped, untamed woodland that blankets the steep Northwestern slope and crown of Bragg Hill.  The elevations slope from 340 feet at the apex of the hill to less than 200 feet at the foot of the West branch of the Brandywine Creek at the bottom of the property.  That said, there is only one small area at the top of the hill flat enough… Read more →

Site and House Scale Model

Two dimensional diagrams and technical drawings are useful in the construction process, but during the design and conceptual stages of a new home, a three dimensional scale model is indespensible.  There is no substitute for a physical scale model that communicates the vision of the architect better than a model.  Such a model was hand crafted by Matthew Moger. The model illustrated above was an indespensible component for the design… Read more →

Site and House Scale Model

Site and House Scale Model Two dimensional diagrams and technical drawings are useful in the construction process, but during the design and conceptual stages of a new home, a three dimensional scale model is indispensable.  There is no substitute for a physical scale model that communicates the vision of the architect better than a model.  Such a model was hand crafted by Matthew Moger. The model illustrated above was an indispensable component for the design… Read more →

Design Team Charette

The success of an integrated design project requires that we hold formal charette meetings with the entire team on a regular basis.  A recent meeting was held with the principal participants, the architect, civil engineer, sustainable building consultant, landscape architect and the owner.  We held this meeting at Johnathan Alderson’s office in Wayne, PA. The term Charette has an interesting history dating from 19th century France.  There, student architects in… Read more →

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