This residence for an active couple with a large multi-generational extended family is designed to do it all: a comfortable home to welcome friends and family, embrace the outdoors, and tread lightly on the land. The owners, deeply dedicated to the environment, avid gardeners, and lovers of outdoor living, wild birds and butterflies, made sustainable design one of their top design priorities.
Located on a site blessed with a beautiful nature view, but seriously compromised by a steep slope of unstable fill, the project required drastic measures in order to capture some wheelchair accessible outdoor living areas as well as enough space for growing fruit and vegetables. Realizing that standard retaining walls would be cost-prohibitive, the design team chose to secure the hillside above the house by stacking gabions –wire mesh baskets filled with rocks- 14 feet high on top of each other. With time, as this primitive rocky structure gets covered by vines and cascading vegetation, it will gradually be transformed into a living green wall.
Building orientation, natural daylight, sustainable materials, health and human delight, and energy efficiency were taken into highest consideration throughout the design.The staggered stud walls, advanced framing techniques –with insulated headers and wall corners- and the roof and floor framing all insulated with spray-foam insulation, provide exceptional energy-efficiency, by reducing thermal bridging and virtually eliminating air-leaks between the inside and outside of the house. Triple-glazed windows, a hydronic floor heating system embedded in 3” of concrete, hot water solar panels, and a continuous fresh air ventilation system that recaptures heat from the indoor air before exhausting it to the outside, will maximize energy-efficiency. Wide roof eaves, thick foam roof insulation, cantilevered metal window sunshades, the thick concrete floor slab and natural nighttime ventilation, keep the house comfortable without the need of artificial cooling. Water-based VOC-free paints and varnishes, plant-based oil wood sealers, ensure a safe and clean environment for the home’s inhabitants. The house is expected to be Earth Advantage certified.
“We LOVE our house! It is SO beautiful Jan. It is so wonderful to be here, to wake up here each morning, to see the view from every window.”
Published in Eugene Register Guard “Soothing Garden in a Rock-Hard Shell” Click to View the article