Coastal Case Study

While building an innovative product in an out-of-the-ordinary community, Gold Builders proved its ingenuity.
By Rob Fanjoy, Associate Editor | May 2, 2000
When Spanish explorers first landed in North Carolina, near what is now the Cape Fear River, they discovered welcoming fields and plains among the lush wetlands. It was an area ripe with both opportunities and challenges for settlement. Martha Gold and her husband Joel Schrann, partners in Gold Builders of Wilmington, North Carolina, have found that while the area has long since been settled, opportunities and challenges in development of the local community of Landfall still remain.

Landfall is a 2200-acre gated community sculpted around the natural waterways, lakes, pools and plateaus that make the area so hospitable. The development is the combined venture of local businessman Frank Kenan and the Weyerhaeuser Company, both of whom have strong ties to the area. Kenan and his family have set up charitable trusts to support the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and local preservation, while Weyerhaeuser has major land and timber holdings throughout southeastern North Carolina.

These ties to the area have given rise to strong principles for development of Landfall, as reflected by the high building standards of the community's Architectural Review Board. It was during the review process that Gold Builders presented its plan for a 3200-square-foot Southern bungalow-style home, which varied a bit from the stringent specifications of the development.

The review board had previously only approved natural roofing materials such as slate, cedar shake and clay tile in the exclusive community. But Gold's architect Brad Thorne specified a dimensional asphalt shingle that simulates the look of wood or slate. Martha Gold knew she would have to explain the choice, and came before the board armed with logic.

"Our intent was to recreate the look and feel of a 1920s Southern bungalow, and natural slate is just too cold for this design," says Gold. "Cedar shakes look good initially, but they just don't weather well in our environment. We are, after all, within a mile of North Carolina's bar-rier islands. The wind and rain take their toll on shake roofs, while the humidity creates a perfect environment for fungus."

The Architectural Review Board heard these arguments, and in wanting to remain faithful to the local architecture which is still heavy in 1920s bungalows, approved Gold's plans. Thorne's choice of shingle, the Grand Manor manufactured by CertainTeed, is constructed with two full-size base shingles beneath a massive weather tab to ensure protection and durability. Triple-stepped laminations create the natural appearance of either wood or slate. It remains the only asphalt shingle approved for use at Landfall and is gaining in popularity for new homes as well as reroofing existing homes. The heavyweight shingle (425 pounds per square) is rated to withstand the high winds and heavy weather of the area while meeting the community's particular design standards.

Gold and her husband have a vested interest in this home, as they built it for themselves. In that respect they were happy for the stringent building codes. From the beaded cypress siding to the 10-foot high ceilings and custom trimwork, every detail is faithful to the best of the area's architecture, with a nod to the elements. Situated on a natural island that is connected to the rest of Landfall by a land bridge, the home fronts on natural wetlands, while the back faces the Intercoastal Waterway.