Designing a Modern Home, Redfin Asks the Experts

Redfin reached out to ask the experts for some tips about what to keep in mind when designing a modern home. Of course, we were honored, and happy to oblige.

Here’s what we had to say:

When designing a modern home, we believe the most important consideration (other than the homeowner’s budget), is making sure the overall layout and footprint of the home is in harmony with the land. It’s amazing how effortlessly the interior elements unfold when you approach the design from the outside-in. Try aligning stairs with the natural slope of the lot; facing bedrooms towards the sunrise, and the dining room towards the sunset; or using floor to ceiling windows to bring interesting natural features inside. Whether you’re building in the country or the city, nature is everywhere — let it be your guide!

Read the full article on Redfin’s blog. Let us know what you think in comments!

A Mountain Modern Home in Cullowhee

When Dan and Judy Geiger moved from Pennsylvania to the mountains of Western North Carolina, they sought a home that reflected a “mountain modern” style. They chose Sundog Homes to build their custom home because of our reputation and based on recommendations from others who had homes built by us, as well as “Seeing (our) quality of homes in other developments,” according to Dan Geiger. 

Although their primary motive for moving to the area was to be closer to their grandchildren, they did have a few other reasons. For one, they wanted proximity to the mountains, lakes, and rivers that are so abundant here. In fact, they said they built their home in Jackson County’s Cullowhee River Club community because of its mountain views, and because it’s on the Tuckasegee River. 

“Sundog listened to our needs and concerns, (and provided) access to the BuilderTrend app to monitor progress.”
Dan Geiger, Homeowner

Meeting their Needs

The Geigers brought Sundog the plans for the house they wanted to be built, which was designed by an architectural firm preferred by the management of the Cullowhee River Club community. Like most homebuyers, the Geigers had a checklist of “must-haves” for their new residence. Some of their more specific desires in a home included having all-gas appliances, a screened-in rear deck to take advantage of those mountain views, and smart home capability. One of the most challenging aspects of their home build was constructing a 2-car detached garage with a guest suite above it. Sundog Homes’ solution was to build a garage on the property that was customized to match the design of their home. 

Sundog Homes President David Earley and Construction Manager Bret Raynor perform a quality inspection of the Geiger home.

“Sundog listened to our needs and concerns, (and provided) access to the BuilderTrend app to monitor progress,” said Dan. The Geigers were especially happy to have Construction Field Manager Brent Raynor on-site. According to Dan, “Working with Brent was a very rewarding experience.”

David Earley, President of Sundog Homes, said of Brent, “He did an excellent job with these folks and I know from the quality inspection that (he) did deliver a high-quality home.”

Communication is Key

They were pleased with the selection of interior and exterior finishes and hardware we offered, as well as how easy it was to make changes or adjustments, and how quickly Brent and his crew were able to make them. 

In addition to providing them with accessibility and constant contact with the construction team, Sundog Homes did all the footwork that seems daunting to people building a home from the ground-up. Sundog performed a free site evaluation of the property, handled all the paperwork, pulled the necessary permits, and gained approval from the community’s Architectural Review Board. From start to finish, their new home was built and ready for move-in within six months. 

“(Sundog Homes) exceeded our expectations and built us a great quality home.”
Dan Geiger

A Happy Ending – and a Beautiful New Home

Sundog Homes built the mountain modern home of Dan and Judy Geiger.

Overall, the Geigers are happy with their move, from “meeting new friends in our neighborhood… (and) Being 7 miles from our grandchildren and spending time with them, our daughter and son-in-law,” said Dan. Just as important is the fact that they’re happy with their house. “(We’re) enjoying all the new features we didn’t have in our previous home of 25 years,” he said, adding, “(Sundog Homes) exceeded our expectations and built us a great quality home.”   


2020 AHBA Build Remodel Expo

Thanks to everyone who attended the 2020 AHBA Build & Remodel Expo in Asheville, NC!

We enjoyed meeting everyone and learning about your upcoming projects.

7 Tips for a Greener Home

Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970 to increase awareness about the environmental problems facing the planet. This year, Earth Day is on April 22, and it’s the perfect opportunity to make some changes around the house to not only help the environment, but also to save some money. Seven ? tips for making your home more green follow.

Change your lights, change your life

Replacing traditional lightbulbs with LED bulbs can reduce energy costs, as well as reducing waste. LED bulbs last an average of 10 times longer than traditional bulbs, and use 75 percent less energy. Plus, LED bulbs are less harsh on the eyes.

Choose low-VOC paint

Few smells are as pungent as “new paint smell,” not to mention headache-inducing and allergy-triggering. VOC stands for “volatile organic compound,” and are unstable chemicals that release gasses that can be harmful to people and the environment. When painting rooms in your home, opt for low- or no-VOC paints to eliminate the smell altogether.

Be a(n Energy) Star

Whenever possible, opt for EPA-rated Energy Star appliances. Every Energy Star-labeled product meets the government’s definitions for energy efficiency, meaning you save money, as well as saving the planet. Smart devices can share the responsibility by monitoring energy usage, and recommend ways to curtail energy waste or even check for abnormalities in the way appliances use the energy.

Change your temperature

Turning the thermostat in your home down 3 degrees in colder months, or up 3 in the summer, can cut carbon dioxide emissions by more than 1,000 pounds annually. Plus, it will have the added bonus of saving money on your electric bill. Smart thermostats are programmable to balance your home’s temperature, which goes a long way toward reducing energy consumption. It’s also a good idea to be sure to close windows when you’re not at home, so the air or heat doesn’t escape.

Natural light

Utilize as much of the natural light in your home as possible during the day. Arrange seating close to windows, so it’s not necessary to turn on lights during daylight hours.


When you leave the house, unplug as many appliances and electronics as you can. While they stay plugged in, items not in use are sucking up energy, and adding to carbon emissions. It is possible to save up to $200 or more per year on your electric bill just by unplugging items like computers, televisions, printers, or even toasters when they’re not being used.

Build green

The best thing you can do to ensure a greener home is start from the ground up! Building your home with certified green practices is a great jumping-off point. Sundog Homes offers green building packages that follow the Green Built NC Homes guidelines. Our spec home at 682 Sand Hill Road in Asheville has been built using the Green Built checklist with an emphasis on thoughtful design.

For example, Icynene spray foam insulation has been sprayed in the exterior walls and crawl spaces to essentially create a giant cooler. The home has an installed tankless water heater, and the 2×6 exterior walls are framed with R-19 batt insulation.

Audit your Energy

If you want to do even more, but you’re just not sure where to start, contact your utility company for a home energy audit. They will assess the amount of energy you currently use, and help you find ways to consume less. They might suggest easy fixes like wrapping windows with insulated plastic during cold months, changing furnace or air conditioning filters every three months, or other suggestions specific to your home’s location.