ELIA JONES DETAILS
This 1970s house was ready for change: poor insulation, large, fixed, single-pane windows, deteriorating plywood siding and deck, old nylon shag carpet, cracking vinyl flooring, and a large unfinished basement. It was hot and stuffy in the summer and cold and drafty in the winter. The interior was dark and cramped. A front door did not exist leaving visitors to wander until they found a way in.
The remodel included replacing everything from the studs up with durable, environmentally friendly materials and changing the floor plan to improve connection to the site and functionality of spaces. While the original footprint was preserved, the new entry porch was added on the north of the house to improve ventilation, provide a cool outdoor area on hot summer days and to give the house a clear and inviting entry. New systems were added including a 10,000 gallon roof rainwater collection tank, photovoltaic panels, solar hot water and plumbing for future greywater.
Energy modelling during the design phase called for adding thermal mass—dense material like stone and concrete—to temper day/night temperature swings and insulation to keep heat in in the winter. Connecting the unfinished basement with its concrete floor and walls added thermal mass. Slate was added to the kitchen and hallway as well as the bathrooms and extra thick sheetrock and plaster were added throughout to further increase mass. (The light colored walls also raised the light levels, reducing lighting loads.) Blown-in cellulose insulation in the walls and floors, double pane low-e windows and 5 1/2 inches of rigid insulation in the roof further improved the energy performance. The remodeled building uses almost 9 times less energy than before and is virtually passive solar heated. Only a small furnace was added to heat the 2 bedrooms on particularly cold nights.
The kitchen was designed with more counters and more convenient storage to ease cooking, provide for fewer larger shopping trips and allow for canning or dehydrating and storing food grown on the property. Space was specifically designated for composting and recycling. These changes coupled with the repurposing of the basement for office space greatly reduced car travel by the owners. Finally, the owners furnished the place almost entirely with second hand furniture.
Construction by Suzanne Jones
On-site construction and specialties consulting by Wanaselja
Construction Photographs by Linda Svendsen and Leger Wanaselja Architecture