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River Dwelling photo by Ed Wolkis

About River Dwelling

River Dwelling sits on a quiet stretch of the Toccoa River, across from the Chattahoochee National Forest and a short drive from Blue Ridge, Georgia. Sitting high on its concrete pedestal, River Dwelling guests are treated to the spectacular surroundings of old growth pines, oaks, and the hypnotic rhythms of the river.

Eschewing the standard "vernacular" of the "authentic" log cabin, the design team looked to create a sublime visual dichotomy between the verdant and the man made. With a moveable wall and large expanses of glass, the lines are blurred from that which is outside - wild, and natural, and the inside - clean, and machined.

Side Elevation - EntranceBisected by a small gravel road, the site posed interesting design challenges. Subtracting the required setbacks from the river and the road left a building area just over 20 feet wide that tapered quickly across the width of the site. Additionally there was an existing septic tank/field that precluded construction at one end of the site. These "constraints" allowed the design team to conceptualize the house as a thin wall. Only 20 feet total in width, the house is divided in two parts; a "solid" that houses the support functions of the house and a "void" that contains the living spaces. This "solid", facing the road, became a deliberate opaque monumentality, allowing for a systematic unveiling of the river views as one moved around the site. On the river side, the "void" dematerializes to an uplifting transparency that allows direct visual interaction with the river.

Rear ElevationRiver Dwelling is owned by Dan Kaufman and Heather Kaufman of Atlanta. River Dwelling was designed by Robert A Tretsch, AIA of Harrison Design Associates in Atlanta, Georgia. The successful execution of the design was by Juan Ramirez of Studio D+C construction. This project was a unique convergence of three people who share the same ideals and passions for modern architecture. Both the architect and the builder were former colleagues at Thompson, Ventulett, Stainback & Associates, a large commercial architecture firm in Midtown, Atlanta.

Juan and Robert have since collaborated on several successful projects together. The owner and the architect have a professional relationship that also traces back to TVS. As the President at JE Dunn, General Contractors and with a degree in architecture and Construction Management, the Owner was a knowledgeable and integral part in the design and construction process.

Amenities and Accommodations


Jezebel Magazine Article about River Dwelling - Spring 2007

Southeastern Charm Article about River Dwelling - 2010

River Dwelling is featured in the book "How To Take Photos That Move Houses" by Ed Wolkis



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