THE OWNER WANTED CONTEXT with a twist—and he got it. Designed to fit a narrow (50 feet by 100 feet) lot in an established community, the house is well-integrated, although it hardly reads as a generic copy of every other home on the street.

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Neighborhood design standards meant there was no getting around a front-loaded garage. But architect Todd Walker downplayed its presence by tucking it into a pocket topped by transom windows and adding a grass strip to the driveway. A funky gable and dramatic two-story entry ensure that the garage doesn't dominate the front elevation.

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The skewed angles marking the front entry carry through to other elements inside the house, starting with an open staircase—constructed with glulaminate supports and steel and cable rail—just inside the front door. Farther back, the odd angles are repeated in a fireplace topped with an offset mantle. Asymmetrical window placement next to the fireplace further emphasizes the concept of tension in balance. “The window wall becomes a compositional piece, like abstract artwork,” says Walker. “It reinforces the design idea.”

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Category: Custom, one-of-a-kind, less than 3,500 square feet (tie); Entrant/Architect: archimania, Memphis, Tenn.; Builder: Archer Custom Builders, Memphis; Interior designer: Interior Image, Memphis

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Memphis, TN.