We just received images of this net zero home that was designed by HMH Architecture + Interiors in Boulder, Colorado, for two environmental attorneys. One of the attorneys works for the Environmental Protection Agency so maximum sustainability was the only option. However, the environment wasn’t the only design caveat. The owners—a small family with two dogs—also needed a showcase for their expansive art collection of two- and three-dimensional pieces, and requested casual living spaces to accommodate everyday living.
The house was designed in three zones: public, private and the garage. An entry that functions as an airlock separates the garage from the public zone defining the entry as well as help keeping pollutants from entering the main house.
After interviewing several firms in the area, the owners chose HMH Architecture + Interiors in Boulder, Colorado, a firm that specializes in art collection-driven home design, to create home that would be a work of art in its own right.
A seamless integration of the environment, art and family life, the home is a sculptural plan with long, uninterrupted walls throughout to accommodate and complement the art collection. Windows were carefully sized and located throughout to optimize daylight and art lighting while sheltering the works from direct sunlight.
A living room designed for living. This great room area includes the kitchen, dining area, an open office for homework and telecommuting, a living area for family interaction, and a covered porch for eating and playing outdoors.
To achieve an architectural balance between high-concept design and environmental efficiency, the home was built with sustainable materials throughout, including more cost-effective stucco and metal for the exterior.
“The main goal was to build a house that didn’t leave a carbon footprint,” says principal Harvey Hine, who conducted energy modeling prior to construction, which dictated that the house had to be built with fewer windows than originally intended.
The window design was a study of transparency and heat control optimizing the ideal amount of sunlight to keep the home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. With a 10kW solar intake system on the roof and a hot water solar system, the home produces 140% of its energy every year, and the homeowners sell the excess back to Xcel Energy.
No matter how sustainable or sculptural, a home ultimately has to be comfortable and livable, which was the top priority for this small family who wanted the home to serve as a social center for guests and entertaining. The great room includes a kitchen, dining area and an open office for family interaction as well as a covered porch for eating and enjoying the legendary Colorado weather.
An open office for homework and telecommuting. The result is an integration of the environment, living and art, customized for a specific family.
The house is bright, airy and acts as a backdrop for the art, the landscape, and daily family activity. The result of the integration of the environment, art, and daily family activity which has been customized for a specific family and location.
Photos: Courtesy of HMH Architecture + Interiors
Hupomone Ranch is a certified LEED Platinum project designed by Turnbull Griffin Haesloop Architects, nestled on 150 acres in the Chileno Valley, just west of downtown Petaluma, a city in Sonoma County, California. The ranch is an original homestead that had been neglected for over 30 years and the owners wanted to build a family house that would reflect their commitment to sustainable farming, draw on the natural serenity of the site and build on the sense of place in western Petaluma where farming and ranching are still a part of people’s daily lives.
The site has a wonderful balanced quality to it, and the simple grounded form of the barn is sited to compliment this setting and capture the long views to the coastal range beyond. Entering a low porch on the more opaque north side under the loft above, the light-filled house opens up to the expansive view of Sonoma hills to the south and gathers the bedrooms and kitchen to either side.
The house is certified LEED Platinum and features a number of energy saving features exceeding title 24 by over 50 percent. Passive heating and cooling with thermal mass and insulation, Geothermal, radiant cooling and heating along with solar and photovoltaic panels contribute to the house’s energy efficiency. All materials for the project also had to meet specific guidelines, such as lumber that had been sustainably harvested , products produced within a certain distance from the project, or a specified percentage of recycled content.
An integral part of the design, the landscaping by Lutsko Associates includes several outdoor living areas, organized along a riparian restoration and native plantings. To tie it all together, Erin Martin’s interiors compliment the flow of indoor/outdoor living.
Photos: David Wakely
The Sunshine Canyon Residence has been designed by THA Architecture, nestled at an elevation of 7,000 feet in the mountains just west of Boulder, Colorado. Completed in 2013, this home was a replacement to a home that the owners had lost the Fourmile Canyon fire of Labor Day weekend in 2010. They sold their property and purchased a larger parcel of eight acres for $150,000 on a higher perch, seven miles above downtown. The new structure was more modest in size to their previous home, coming in at 2,200 square feet and costing $1.2 million to build. The dwelling is set on tall steel columns and encased in corrugated, fire-resistant steel siding that is quickly taking on the patina of an old mining shack. “With passive house features, a geothermal heating and cooling system, and a solar array out back, the house is practically net zero in terms of energy consumption”, states THA Architecture.
The panoramic views are ever-changing and offer their own form of entertainment. Where others may have cleared away the expanse of burned trees, the couple saw beauty and left them standing.
Cliffside Drive Residence is a family home designed by Natasha Barrault Design, offering an easy-living vibe and a strong connection to the outdoors in Point Dume, Malibu, California. This partial remodel, interior and exterior design is a joint project collaboration with architect-designer Hervé Daridan. The property 7,500 square foot (including guesthouse) belongs to a couple in the fitness industry and their 4-year-old son who had two main interests throughout the project: To get the property off the grid and do the entire project as sustainably as possible, and to create a truly comfortable home in which warmth and a peaceful atmosphere mattered most and the result would not be “overdecorated”.
From the designer: We achieved this in part by designing a lot of built in cabinetry which helped define spaces clearly whilst “melting” into the fabric of the house and contributing to the airy feel of the rooms. We choose organic materials in a definite but soft color palette and textiles are an important element throughout. We also assembled a selection of Art and objects for the house and collaborated on the exterior with Armfield Design & Construction.
Barrault strove for an easy-living, laid-back spirit in the furnishings. Slipcovered sofas and throw pillows in neutral hues, along with the option of floor seating, give the living room an informal feel.
One way that Daridan (the architect) let more light in was to replace all the railings on the decks and balconies with less obscuring materials. Today the living room feels bright because light easily enters the home.
The taupe tones in the Farrow & Ball wallpaper are brought out by the concrete countertop and sink in the guest bath. The combination of colors and the lotus pattern of the wall treatment enliven the entire space.
The multidirectional sofa allows the family to use and orient it according to their needs.
The living room is designed to shape shift into a language arts room for the clients’ home school. “We added specially designed furniture and elegantly protected the Paola Lenti ottomans and other pieces. When school is in session, the clients cover the Hans Wegner coffee table so that it can withstand the wear and tear of the school day,” states the designer.
Bolsters and cushions can be moved around for play or for guest seating, or even cleared to transform the sofa into a daybed.
The credenza was custom designed for the family; it houses books, toys and recycled plastic storage tubs by Plastica.
Instead of a gallery wall of framed photos, the clients opted for a magnetic wall that showcases artwork, family photos and love notes. “The wall is constantly evolving and keeps the space from feeling static,” states the designer.
Animal-shaped, whimsical throw pillows are scattered on the bed. Storage space and ample drawers give toys and other articles a place of their own.
The boy’s room has a table and Knoll chair for endless hours of reading, drawing and daydreaming. Balcony doors connect the space to the outside.
This bath was designed both for safety and fun. The tub floor is covered with an anti-slip mat; the shower can be filled as a shallow bath or used as a wading pool while an adult sits on the ledge to supervise.
Photos: Courtesy of Natasha Barrault Design
Brunswick House is a single family property that has been designed by Christopher Botterill, located in Brunswick, an inner northern suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The 990 square foot (92 square meters) home is positioned amongst an eclectic mix of residential and industrial building typologies. Purchased as a derelict shell, the building has been recycled using modern spatial arrangements, materials and a strong focus on sustainability.
At the front of the house the two main bedrooms have been retained with a shared robe dividing the rooms. Bathroom and Kitchens areas have been centralised allowing the Living spaces to open out to the garden space and roof deck above. Above the Bathroom is a study/bedroom that is open to the living areas and provides access to a storage space in the roof. The decommissioned fireplace has been retained to support the open roof structure and provide space for the concealed pantry and wine cellar.
When the double doors at the rear of the house are open, the green carpet in the living room visually connects with the soft lush lawn diminishing the definition of inside and out. The layered palette of materials and forms, particularly the black timber box elements, creates a sense of journey and individuality.
A rain water tank is located under the external stairs and is used for irrigation of the organic vegetable garden at the front. Where possible all new materials have been locally sourced and finished by hand during construction. All windows of the existing house have been reconditioned with traditional sash cords and high performance glazing.
Surrounding the house are circular concrete stepping stone pavers set into soft grasses creating a dynamic landscape environment. At points of entry to the house the pavers are densely populated providing a playful representation of bubbles emerging from the house.
Photos: Christopher Alexander
Modern Green Renovation has been carried out by the design team of Marken Projects who turned a 50’s bungalow in Vancouver, British Columbia into a durable, modern and energy efficient home. They added a half storey maximizing the allowable living area (FSR) with the focus on improving the overall energy efficiency, using environmental friendly materials and ensuring a healthy indoor environment for this young family to enjoy. At the same time they gave it a new and exciting look. From the architects, “For us, it is common sense to plan along the Passive Design principles, which essentially means optimizing solar gain, optimizing insulation, ensuring an airtight envelope, installing a high performance heat recovery insulation system and making the house as energy efficient as possible.”
Main energy-efficient features in the home includes: Modern Passive Design, Low-VOC Products, Energuide 86, Air-to-Air Source Heat, Pump for Heating, Airtight Envelope at 1 ACH, Efficient Heat Recovery Ventilation.
The different blue colors on the exterior facade of the residence is stucco. The porch ceiling is engineered cedar wood.
50’s Vancouver Bungalow — Before
Photos: Ema Peter Photography
Net Zero Energy House is modern two-level home completed in 2011 by Klopf Architecture, situated in Cupertino, California. The goal of this project was to score as high as reasonably possible in the “GreenPoint Rated System”. The owners de-constructed their existing home when they realized that any single-story design would completely eliminate their back yard. They wanted the design to be a contemporary interpretation of Eichler in style yet keep their single story neighborhood happy. They wanted to maintain their privacy but also wanted a design that was open and light-filled.
The solution: directed openness, low profile and net-zero energy. The site is a cul-de-sac lot which was the not large enough for a single-story home that would fit the needs of these owners who both work from home. They wanted this to be their “final” residence so Klopf needed to design a larger-than-normal home to suit their lifestyle needs. Instead of adding a second story (and annoying the neighbors) they opted for a partially-submerged lower level that Klopf designed furthest from a basement as possible (with a pulled-back floor plate, a light-filled “atrium” and a lower level light well).
To preserve privacy and bring in light while minimizing unwanted solar heat gain and provide connection to nature, the design team oriented a large window wall north to the back yard while sloping the ceiling of the great room up to increase the light and connection to nature. The sloping roof also provided a surface suitable for mounting the 13.4 kW PV system compared to other building faces that have smaller, punched windows that maximize privacy. The owners were very concerned about the environment, specifically about energy and resource efficiency. They directed Klopf to use materials that would last as long as possible while avoiding “food for termites” and design a high-performance sustainable home.
In conjunction with the Mechanical Engineer they designed a net-zero energy home featuring insulated concrete forms (ICFs), structural insulated panels (SIPs), high-performance windows, cementitious siding, and a 13.4 kW solar Photovoltaic (PV) system sized to cover all the energy use in the house. The new open and light-filled house offers a connection to nature while maintaining privacy. Natural gas would not be used in the home with the possible exception of a backyard BBQ.
Photos: Mariko Reed
Prospect Heights solar is a late 19th century rowhouse that was given a modern overhaul by CWB Architects, located in the Prospect Heights Historic District of Brooklyn, New York. To convert the aging four-story building into a modern, single-family home, the architects completed a gut renovation that included a 1,226 square foot garden-level rental unit. Although mostly new materials and finishes, many details original to the house were salvaged, restored and then integrated into the home’s contemporary aesthetic.
Sunlight finds its way into almost every corner of the 3,362 square foot home through strategically placed skylights and an interior light well. The wood floor in the stair hall, typically the darkest space in a rowhouse, was replaced with walkable glass panels, transforming the space into a tower that diffuses light rather than absorbing it. The effect is replicated from the parlor floor up, terminating in a ceiling punched with two skylights specifically designed to bounce light down into the spaces below.
A sunroom extension benefits from direct southern exposure through a restored bay window and new skylight.
The master bathroom is illuminated by the interior light well which spans 2 stories up to the roof.
In addition to their taste for modern architecture, the owners are inclined toward architecture that is also environmentally friendly. To help reduce the carbon footprint, a new green roof was installed at the extension in addition to a 4.5 kW solar PV array at the main roof. This system reduces the electrical load by up to 80% over the course of the year.
Photos: Francis Dzikowski
Thistle Hill Farm is a single family sustainable home designed by Northworks Architects, located upon a 200-acre farm of rolling terrain in Western Wisconsin. This contemporary 4,500 square foot home (418 square meters) with 3 bedrooms plus bunk room and 3½ bathrooms is a second residence for a Chicago-area family. The property implements today’s advanced technology within a historic farm setting. The farm had been in the family for more than 25 years, and they had forged a strong connection to the property. The old barn, near the top of one of the rolling hills, was in a bad state of disrepair; they had it carefully disassembled in a way that they could reuse the materials in the future. The architects sited the new house just above where the old barn had stood, incorporating the remains of its limestone foundation walls around the pool. Meanwhile, the family made plans to use as much of the old structure as possible for future projects and in some of their furniture.
The arrangement of volumes, detailing of forms and selection of materials provide a weekend retreat that reflects the agrarian styles of the surrounding area. The materials emulate those of barns in the surrounding countryside, with red cedar siding and a tin-coated copper roof that will develop a patina over time. The site has a natural slope, however the architects cleverly designed the lower level to be above-grade on all sides. The lower level contains two guest suites and a large bunk room; guests who come out to the farm usually stay overnight. The bridge leads to a recessed ground-level entryway that in turn leads into the dining area.
Open floor plans and expansive views allow a free-flowing living experience connected to the natural environment. The large hearth is crafted from local limestone, as was the original barn’s foundation. The hearth is two-sided; the other side serves the large front porch. Doors on either side slide into pockets hidden by the fireplace surround, inviting in the summer breezes. The rhythm of the trusses is the same from indoors to out, but they change from Douglas fir inside to steel outside.
The homeowners found the large sign at a salvage place (look closely at the upper-right corner of this photograph and you’ll see the other half). The sign halves silde along barn door tracks and serve not only as art but also as doors between the bridge and the master suite.
Two large ceiling fans provide plenty of cool air. The home is powered by a field of solar panels just southwest of the house. The panels generate energy to power the home and pool equipment and send leftover power back to the grid. The construction is timber frame with structural integrated panels (SIPs) at the roof. The original barn’s rustic purlin and rafter roof construction inspired the structural system, but the new trusses have a cleaner, contemporary look. The wood for the ceilings, soffits and trim is Douglas fir with a clear coat.
The doors on the right lead to the bridge. The barn structure lends itself to a wide-open floor plan, perfect for large gatherings and enjoying the views. The floors throughout are heart pine, salvaged from river-bottom trees. The homeowners saved what they could from the original barn for furniture projects, including the dining table, which a friend made for them. The homeowner made the light fixture himself from metal pipes.
Simple Tolix stools provide perches for plenty of folks to gather around the large island. The large island’s top is butcher block; both the owners are big cooks and enjoy spending time in the kitchen. The rest of the countertops are highly compressed recycled paper.
One of the home’s most contemporary elements is the staircase, but it still nods to the agricultural architectural vocabulary. The stairs are laminated wood and cantilever off a bracket bolted through to a timber stringer beam. The metal railing brings back the traditional farm feeling; its grids were inspired by the kind of fencing one might see around a pig pen.
The top level contains the master suite and this office loft. A patchwork cowhide rug is modern yet references a dairy farm, and plays off the grids on the railings.
The doors lead to a garage built into the hillside and with a garden on top. The outbuildings in the distance are original to the property; you can see some of the crops growing in the distance.
The old barn’s original limestone foundation walls form a terrace between the pool and the house. The pool surround is ipe, a durable and low-maintenance wood.
Photos: Courtesy of Northworks Architects and Planners