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The architects emphasized the relationship between the site and the building by creating indoor and outdoor spaces that respond to the surrounding environment and the changing seasons.
The rain garden is an important part of the storm-water management system and an integral part of the landscape design.
"We wanted to create a house that didn't hide its sustainable features but shows them off proudly, as design features that add to its unique and intensely local quality," says Ingram.
Instead of hiding the workings of their rainwater harvesting system, the designers took the opportunity to integrate them into the design, using the concrete tanks as a wall that creates an entry court and acts as a noise barrier from the street.
For the main living space, Ingram designed an open floor plan that would lend itself to informal family interaction.
Using reclaimed materials provided an opportunity to combine old with new — and add a sense of fun, too. Old doors from Seattle schools were hung with sliding barn door hardware.
The designers used finish materials with sustainable qualities whenever possible. Bamboo floors take advantage of a rapidly renewable material. The cabinets and shelving are made from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)–certified wood. The tile all contains recycled content, and the bench top and fireplace surround are made of Paperstone — a solid-surface material made from postconsumer recycled paper. Exposed concrete floors on the main level are 15 percent fly ash, a by-product of coal production that can be used in place of cement.
Bench top: Paperstone
A coffee table of reclaimed fir by urbanhardwoods is the centerpiece of the living room. The cabinets were built by the local company kerfdesign.
Low-VOC paints, formaldehyde-free plywood and prefinished floors all combine to minimize the amount of toxic off-gassing that typically occurs in new construction. With radiant floor heat there are no forced air ducts accumulating and redistributing dust and other particulates throughout the house.
Coffee table: urbanhardwoods; cabinets: kerfdesign
An old claw-foot tub and sink were refinished and reused, adding old-school texture to the modern bathroom.
Some of the rainwater falling on the house is plumbed into the home to supply water to the toilets and the laundry room. The remainder is captured in a rain garden and allowed to slowly infiltrate back into the ground. The city storm sewer system doesn't need to connect to the home, which allows the homeowners to cut their water bill in half.
Built Green gave this home their four-star certification. The vertical circulation is designed to provide stack ventilation, keeping the house cool on even the hottest days.
The building layout makes sure all the rooms except the media room get abundant natural light. Most have a southern exposure, ensuring maximum daylight in winter and reducing the need for artificial light.