by Mary Jo Martin

Architect Dan Brunn is known for his minimalistic aesthetic and dynamic merger of light and volume. He says he is motivated to “do something extraordinary with ordinary means.”

Two years ago, Brunn came up with the idea for a one-of-a-kind “Bridge House” that would literally bridge 65 feet over a natural stream — and that would be a net-zero home. The 4,500-square-foot home was built by MODAA Inc. using innovative systems and forward-thinking processes that have advanced ecological properties.

The unique bridge aspect meant less land had to be disturbed for the foundation; 65 feet of the home’s 210-foot base are suspended, which equates to less impact on its immediate physical environment. 

When Brunn purchased the property, he had planned to renovate the existing home. However, he was inspired by a visit to The Breakers in Newport, R.I., which had been home to members of the Vanderbilt family. He was especially intrigued by the elongated motor court. He incorporated that idea into this new structure, which gives the home it’s defining look of spanning the natural stream on the property.

“I started this project with a motor court, and the bridge evolved because of the structure,” Brunn explained. “I could go right over the river instead of basing the whole house on one side.” 

Bridge House has both public and private space. A river forms a natural transition for public and private spaces in the residence. When you approach from the public side, there is lush landscaping and beams of light. However, the private side is truly private, and is shielded from views from any neighbor’s homes.

“We chose to use Mr. Steam at Bridge House in that it resonated with our belief that architecture can help create positive moments, and wellbeing is super important to us. The Mr. Steam systems are seamless, and integrate perfectly into the space. And inline to our ethos, the technology works for you, instead of being in your face. I also love how the linear diffuser integrates into the tile grout lines — it is a truly unique feature.”

Dan Brunn, AIA
Dan Brunn Architecture

The floor plan includes a living room, dining room, kitchen, den, master suite with walk-in closet, two bedrooms with shared bath, one bedroom with ensuite bath, indoor/outdoor terrace and powder room, laundry, garage and pool. An exterior staircase leads down to a rear garden with a solar cell-powered, infinity edge, swimming pool. Below grade is a pool house, that includes a kitchen, outdoor shower, outdoor grill area, and a music room.

The Master Suite is uniquely characterized by a warm wood-wrapped walls and large windows that open out to a private garden sanctuary with lush greenery. The garden was designed to replace the typical indoor sitting area, in order to maintain the home’s relationship with nature. The connected master bathroom offers his and hers sinks, a bath and a steam shower from Mr. Steam with Infinity Drains. 

“Infinity Drains provide not only a much nicer design option but are also easy to install and have a seamless tile application that keeps the aesthetic continuous. At first contractors weren’t thrilled about installing these but once you get it down, it’s an easy install and worth it for plumbers and builders to master these drains.

“Mr Steam has become a no brainer. Especially with such an easy install application. Builder advice is to incorporate M.r Steam early on in the design stages in order to maximize all the features and be mindful of plumbing lines and distance.”

Patrick Ahounber

Luxury Products Group is so proud to note that those two manufacturers are also proud LPG vendors. Key project executives shared a few comments about working with these products.

The Bridge House is currently being used for a variety of gallery exhibits and events. The public space allows for welcoming and natural entertaining. Guests are enchanted by a living area that features double height volume with high clerestory windows, open skylights and a “Living Wall” of plants that help purify the air. And a grand fireplace wall warms the area, both literally and figuratively. And a grand fireplace wall warms the area, both literally and figuratively. 

Just off the kitchen are a partially hidden pantry and a grand fireplace wall that warms the area, both literally and figuratively. They facilitate easy servicing and entertaining. The kitchen features modern wood cabinetry, quartz countertops and a substantial island. which facilitates easy serving and entertaining with a minimal footprint.

Expansive sliding glass window doors and floor-to-ceiling windows between the living area and outdoor terrace invite a flood of natural light inside. The terrace and open deck have a firepit and lounge area. The outdoor living area segues into the private section of the home, with a den that has wood-wrapped walls. It offers a warmer, more intimate setting in comparison to the other areas. The hallway in the private space has fin windows that allow visitors inside to look out while not enabling anyone outside the home to see the interior. 

The Bridge House, set deep within a forested area, harmonizes seamlessly with its lush surroundings. Its exterior is a combination of muted cedar, plaster, glass, and steel, and custom windows. The warm and textured wood, plus floor-to-ceiling Northern and Western facing windows, enable the cohesiveness between interior and exterior. The interior seems to mirror the wooded nature of the surrounding landscape. A combination of expansive and directional exterior views can be seen in every part of the dwelling, bringing the outside in. 

Now completed, the Bridge House provides unprecedented eco-conscious innovation. The unprecedented economy and efficiency of designs and systems combine a classic post-and-beam structure with energy-efficient solutions. They used the BONE Structure’s steel-construction modular system that delivers a flexible, durable and sustainable product and expedited on-sight assembly. Nearly 90 percent of the steel it uses is recycled. It is so precise that there is nothing left once the job is complete. It was also designed as a net-zero property. At only 20 feet wide, Bridge House has much more Northern exposure and natural light, which equates to less need for artificial cooling, and less electric energy consumed. 

As Brun described, “Building construction technology is so far behind, and we haven’t really progressed. So we were excited by the prospect of not having waste.” 

To learn more about Bridge House click here

To learn more about Dan Brunn click here 

To learn more about Mr. Steam click here