Architecture You Love
A North Carolina 501C3 Educational Nonprofit Archive Documenting, Preserving, and Promoting Residential Modernist Architecture


Enjoy browsing, but unless otherwise noted, these houses are private property and closed to the public -- so don't go tromping around uninvited.


Ellen Cassilly holds a 1983 Bachelor of Environmental Design degree from Texas A & M University and a 1998 Master of Architecture degree from the University of Pennsylvania. She worked in Paris with Christian DePortzamarc, winner of the Pritzker Prize, from 1988-1992. After a six-week internship with Arata Isotaki in Tokyo, she worked for Lucy Carol Davis and Frank Harmon. At the latter, she did projects such as the North Carolina Museum of Art Amphitheater. 

Cassilly started her own firm, Ellen Cassilly Architect, in 1999. She and her husband Frank Konhaus (below) have been extensively involved in the Durham arts scene, especially the spectacular Rousse Project. Their recently completed personal residence, called Cassilhaus, features unique living, creative, and gallery space for their very own artist-in-residence.

2013 - Oxford American interview about Cassilhaus with Ellen Cassilly and Frank Konhaus.

WUNC Radio - The State of Things. Ellen Cassilly and Frank Konhaus discuss Cassilhaus.

2001 - The Guillo Rodriguez and Jeffery Crawford Residence, aka the Weekend
house, Fairview NC. Eight acres. Unbuilt.


2004 - The Carolyn Adams and Melba (Sally) Schauman House, 12582 NC Highway 86 North, Prospect Hill, NC. Photos by Chris Ciccone.

 2008 - Cassilhaus, aka Art House, aka Trapezoid House, aka Tree House, is the stunning residence of Cassilly and her husband Frank Konhaus. 6301 Mimosa Drive, in Orange County outside of Chapel Hill. Construction by LE Meyers Builders. Cassilhaus uses three trapezoidal volumes across a steep and densely forested site affording breathtaking views of Duke Forest and New Hope Creek. Two living “pods,” a multi-level main house and a self-contained guest house are joined by a long bridging structure and master suite -- all of which is encircled by a clerestory. Outdoor spaces include a roof terrace with outdoor shower, a screened porch, multiple decks, and an at-grade terrace. Featured on the TMH February 2009 Tour and the 2012 Modapalooza Tour. Top seven photos by James WestRemaining photos by Frank Konhaus.

Additional resources: ECA-Cassilhaus page, Cassilhaus blog, steel going up. NBC17 video (unaired). In July 2009 the house was featured in the New York Times.

2011 - The Phil and Nneena Freelon Residence Renovation, the penthouse condo in the Kress Building, 103 West Main Street, Durham. 2200 sf. The 1933 building is one of the largest and most elaborately decorated Art Deco buildings in North Carolina and was the site of lunch counter civil rights sit-ins during the 1960's.

2012 - The John and Amy Chute Renovation, 3534 Rugby Road, Durham. Ralph Coonrad admired a planbook house of a friend in Pine Bluff AR, Dunklin family, and when it came time to build in Durham that architect (whom Coonrad does not recall) sent them a set of plans. The original house was built by Ned Newsome. The Chutes purchased the 1959 house from Coonrad in 2010. Renovations by Cassilly, bottom three photos. On the TMH Hope Valley Tour 2012. Sold in 2014 to Kaija and Clayton W. Beard.

2013 - The James A. Umbanhowar and Nichola J. Lowe Renovation, 1402 Virginia, Durham. The 1940 colonial-style house, bottom photo, was totally transformed. Built by BuildSense. 

2014 - The Carol Hamlin House, 1410 Ward Street, Durham. Built by BuildSense.

2015 - 1406 Ward Street, Durham. Built by BuildSense.

2016 - Modernist-style house at the corner of Kent and Ward in Durham NC.

Sources include: Frank Konhaus, Ralph Coonrad, Amy Chute, Ellen Cassilly, Ellen Cassilly Architect.