If this family of seven let go of the charming yet drafty holiday home they shared with family, they needed a different sort of getaway. All too aware of the exorbitant price of heating a home in New England, they were easily persuaded by architect Stephanie Horowitz to build a “passive” house — one heated primarily by sunlight. Horowitz is a primary architect in ZeroEnergy Design (ZED), a firm that specializes in energy-efficient architecture. “My clients wanted a home that was modest, affordable, low maintenance and lasting,” she states.
Therefore, ZED created a flexible living space in which one owner, a writer, could feel comfy and inspired when she comes here to work, in which the family can host big parties and in which they can all sleep without squandering square footage onto the bedrooms. The outcome is a comfortable 1,200-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-bath retreat with amazing beautiful agrarian views. And the house consumes less than 420 kilowatt-hours of power per month on average, a few that could return to zero if the family chooses solar panels in the future.
in a Glance
Location: The New England coast
Who gets off here: A family of
Size: 1,200 square feet; 2 bedrooms plus a sleeping loft, 2 bathrooms plus separate bathtub room
That is intriguing: The home consumes one-tenth of the energy for heating in contrast to a new home built to code requirements.
Passive layout makes the most of the sun; the house is oriented so that especially glazed, high-performance windows face south. With a tight envelope, the house is very well insulated and doesn’t escape warmth.
But the most important aspect of successful architecture would be livability, which in this case meant creating a comfortable house that took advantage of landscape perspectives and was sized appropriately.
The home’s simple gable-roof structure, highlighted by playful red fiber cement siding onto the ends, pays homage to the local rural architecture.
The south-facing side absorbs energy in sunlight in sunlight through especially glazed, high-performance doors and windows by Schuco. Cedar siding will weather into a silvery grey.
Given the home’s small footprint, the major living space should serve several purposes and be flexible. In this floor plan, the middle of the house incorporates the dining room, the kitchen and the living room spaces, and each end of the house contains one bedroom.
“This is much more of a retreat than a holiday home,” says Horowitz. While the author in the family occasionally uses the house midweek as a studio, the whole family gathers here on weekends and during holiday weeks.
The iconic gable type and bold red color used outdoors look again on opposite ends of the indoor living space. The exposed ductwork helps with the little amount of backup heat the family requires past the passive heat, in addition to air conditioning for those rare days when natural ventilation can not handle a heat wave. Both come in a small, single system.
“We needed to create an awareness of entry inside the living space,” explains Horowitz; the little, low walls to the left offer this.
Sofa: Addo Novo; paint: Raspberry Blush 2008-30, Benjamin Moore
To the rear of front door is an efficient mudroom with a great deal of storage byPoggenphol, a seat for placing and taking off shoes, coat hooks and good spots for keeping Wellies.
“The dining room table from their former family home is the 1 piece my clients wanted me to look about,” says Horowitz. She tucked a built-in banquette in a little bay, providing an ample dining space that doesn’t encroach upon the main living room.
The conventional trestle dining table, modern chairs and gooseneck barn sconce give the room a bit of contemporary farmhouse style.
Chairs: Family Chairs, Addo Novo and Swag Leg Chair, Herman Miller; sconce: Barn Light Electric
The thick entrance wall offered an opportunity for a market with shelves in the end of the dining table. The centerpiece flowers came in the meadows nearby.
Dock for iPod: Tivoli Audio
“The challenge is at the balancing act between design and performance,” says Horowitz. This north-facing high heeled glass door was a part of the equilibrium between energy efficiency and livability; the family loves extensive farm landscape perspectives through it.
Concrete floors absorb heat and radiate it in the space, offsetting any reduction of warmth from this door.
“We purchased the cabinets along with the island from Poggenpohl’s Quick Ship line and then customized them,” says Horowitz. “We added casters into the island so that it could be moved out of the way when big groups are finished. When working inside such a small footprint, you have to maximize flexibility.”
The white walls, polished concrete flooring and bright natural light retain the focus on the nation perspectives.
Kitchen: Poggenpohl; countertop: Caesarstone; pendant light: Le Klint
There is 1 room in the house that serves only 1 function: soaking. “Everybody in this family loves a bathtub, so that was an important part of the design,” says Horowitz. She created a different sun-filled bathtub room that the whole family uses.
Paint: Waterfall 2050-50, Benjamin Moore; tub: Maax
The master bedroom is “a room with a bed in it, and it functions very nicely,” declares Horowitz. It was designed to get a mattress to fit in the corner, using a deep windowsill on the left designed to function as a bedside table. The outcome is a cozy room with lovely views.
A library ladder which angles out from the wall gets the climb into the sleeping loft much easier than a direct ladder could.
Up high, grab bars help climbers make it up those last few feet. “We attempted to utilize off-the-shelf goods throughout the house,” says Horowitz. A hinged board covers the hole in the attic floor for security.
The loft overlooks the living space and has beds plus a committed playspace for children. The flooring is a subflooring product painted at a no-VOC flooring paint by Ecos. “This paint comes in fun colors and is a terrific way to complete an attic space,” says Horowitz.
Flooring paint: Gualala, Ecos Paints
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