Slope Styles – A Panel Discussion From Boston Design Week

May 27, 2022

Our very own David Boronkay, principal of Slocum Hall Design Group, recently participated in a panel discussion entitled Slope Styles as part of Boston Design Week. Moderated by Jaci Conry of Tide Street Group, David was joined by his fellow panelists Jeff Capello of Concept Building and Michael White of Symbio Design.

The topic of Slope Styles is an interesting one. New England has some of the most diverse terrains – from the highest mountain regions of western New England to the wetlands, marshes, and beaches along the eastern coastlines. In Greater Boston alone, elevation can vary by 300ft, making the option to build a home on a sloped site very viable.

While it’s more typical to hear about clients searching for that perfect graded land to build on, some embrace the Slope Style. The benefits of building on uneven terrain are somewhat unknown. For new builds, designing on a sloping site can maximize multi-level living with a walkout basement. The front elevation is dramatically different from the back for our recently completed Modern Prairie project with Concept Building. Building on a slope allowed us to build and design a whole lower level full of natural light and ample living space.

Building a new home on a sloped lot also provides several benefits. Depending on the location of the home, the additional daylit space afforded by a lower grade at the rear of the property can allow for additional square footage which does not count towards your total building volume calculation.


Some clients are looking to add to a home that already sits on a sloped site. Unlike a new build, this can be a little more challenging, as your options for added square footage can be limited. At our Waban project with Symbio Design, the clients wanted to add an attached garage to an English manor-style home that sits on a slope. Because of the lot, the options for the garage were limited. As a result, we created the addition on the side of the home, sitting at an elevation higher than the main living areas, and were able to connect the space to the original structure.

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Whether new construction or a renovation/addition, a sloped lot has a lot of benefits that allow us to create a beautiful custom design. Instead of searching for that perfectly grated land, we challenge you to embrace the uneven terrain.