A team of builders, architects and designers created an upscale yet cozy Craftsman-style family home that will be open to the public for three weeks. It's a green trophy house, expected to use 80 percent less energy than a comparable new one, that's overflowing with ideas for an increasingly eco-aware population.
The brainchild of developer West Group and Green Spur, a Falls Church builder of energy-efficient projects, it was conceived as a model home of sustainable living. Builders took apart a worn-out 1960s brick ranch house (recycling virtually all the building materials elsewhere) and used the corner lot to erect a two-level, 4,000-square-foot house with four bedrooms, a spa and a lap pool. It also has a geothermal heating and cooling system, two green roofs and a "smart home" system that informs the homeowner via iPhone of how much energy is being consumed.
"A lot of people think that a green house has to be some sort of exotic spaceship," says Ralph Cunningham, a principal at Cunningham/Quill Architects, the D.C. firm that designed the home. "This house is an embassy for the green movement because it's in a fairly typical suburban setting and is full of basic solutions."
To bring the green-is-the-new-black message of the house to a broad audience, the organizers decided to turn the project into a show house. They asked local designers to participate and chose CharityWorks, which raises money for community organizations, as the beneficiary.
Designers received 10 pages of guidelines for shaping spaces that would enhance the "health, safety and welfare" of the home's future occupants. They were asked to use sustainable products and reuse, reduce and recycle. And they were cautioned to choose ecologically sound woods and paints with low levels of volatile organic compounds. The project called for energy-efficient appliances and fabrics colored with no harmful dyes or chlorine bleach. Extra points were given for using antiques or repurposed pieces with no shipping involved.
Library by Gary Lovejoy. Lovejoy says that green design and simple, clean lines go together. His restful library, with its two Lee Industries lounge chairs with soy-filled cushions and organic wool fabric, blends neutral colors such as cream, taupe, flax and ginger. The mosaic is made of natural materials including repurposed stone, mica and fossils. The weathered old mantel, found in a barn, was reused in the modern setting:
Family Room by Barry Dixon of Warrenton: Reclaimed oak trusses set the stage for the soaring space filled with furniture made of sustainable wood. The daybed designed by Dixon for Tomlinson has cushions containing soy and velvet created with nontoxic dye. The 27-inch balsa wood sphere lamp uses a Parox LED bulb that will last 10 years:
Kitchen by Barry Dixon of Warrenton: This space blends down-home details with the latest Asko, Wolff and Sub-Zero Energy Star appliances, as well as SieMatic cabinetry made of sustainable wood. The Waterworks terrazzo floor is composed of recycled porcelain, marble and glass. The heat-resistant Eco by Consentino countertops are made of 75 percent recycled materials combined with corn oil resin:
Dining room by Victoria Neale of Washington: The lime and olive colors are a subtle nod to the green theme. Neale chose flax fabric for the settee and the walls; the buffet was manufactured according to Forest Stewardship Council guidelines. Neale hand-dyed the linen tape trim on the walls and settee with water-based dyes:
Guest room by Charlotte Palmer Lekakos of Willard and Palmer Design in Chevy Chase: Lekakos found shed antlers while visiting her parents, who live on a South Carolina barrier island with lots of deer. The curtain fabric is Schumacher's Bryce Diamond pattern, part of the eco-friendly Green Leaf collection:
Spa retreat by Ernesto M. Santalla of Studio Santalla in Washington: The conceptual art piece "Grassland," a tapestry of untreated grass mounted on stainless sets the tone for this room. Santalla designed the credenza, which doubles as a bench, using compressed particle wood and recycled paper. The coffee table is made of corrugated cardboard, a recycled material. The space includes a shower with a recirculating waterfall that conserves water:
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Virtual golf room by Lynni Megginson of L&M Designs in Gaithersburg: No burning fossil fuels to fly to Pebble Beach with this High Definition Golf simulator. Hit your own golf balls with your own clubs in this room and see where your ball lands. The wool carpeting has a biodegradable latex back; the lockers are made of reclaimed mahogany:
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