Can't Help But Love This Cantilever Home

Photo: Britt Reints/Flickr.comI love cantilever houses. There's something about this style of construction that's just so transcendent, making part of a house soar above the ground and thrusting residents into the beauty of the surrounding environment. Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater (left) is, of course, a classic example of this style of architecture, and Wright's design beautifully integrated a home into the landscape so it almost seems to flow right with the water that moves all around it.

In Idaho, someone else is playing with cantilevers and water. River Place, as it's known, juts out over the Potlatch River, and it has a few interesting surprises beyond the stark modern design; unlike Fallingwater, this home jumps out dramatically in the landscape, drawing attention from every angle. For River Place, it works amazingly well, pairing the structure beautifully with a tasting room just up the river that belongs to the same winery owners who commissioned River Place.

How unique is this structure, beyond the custom architecture that makes it one of a kind? For one thing, components were assembled offsite, allowing the contracting company to attach the home to concrete footings on site with bolts. That makes River Place easy to disassemble and move, if necessary, and it also reduced the environmental impact of construction by minimizing on-site work. Furthermore, the river that flows right by the home offers a cooling factor, keeping River Place temperate in the summers.

Even better, thanks to those modern building materials, the construction costs on this stunning home actually weren't very high, illustrating that it's possible to have a modern, striking, interesting structure without going into bankruptcy. The architect and construction firm kept costs tightly controlled with the use of materials like galvanized steel, which convey both the desired look and feel of the home. This is a case where less is more -- but it doesn't cost more!

Wisely, the home is anchored well about the 500-year flood level of the river, in the hopes of avoiding damage in the event of a flood or severe weather event. This forward-thinking building shows that the builders tried to plan ahead for situations that may arise over the lifetime of the home, an especially important consideration in an era when global climate shifts are damaging more property every year.

Lots of cantilevered homes are found throughout the world and across the US, but this one stands out, not least because it happens to be located right next to some prime fishing. For those in the mood, it's possible to fish right off the deck. Hard to beat that!

Of course, a number of things can complicate cantilever home design. It requires a very strong foundation with some special engineering, especially in places like the Bay Area, where builders have to think about earthquakes. A San Francisco concrete contracting firm that specializes in this type of construction for luxury homes can install an extensive earthquake-resistant system with a variety of safety measures to keep a cantilever home as safe and stable as possible so people can enjoy the views.

Katie Marks writes for

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