Archive for the ‘Integrated Design’ Category

Interior Design

May 14th, 2010 by Tim Eian

The structure for the PHitW has been underway for sometime now.  Windows are being delivered soon, the ventilation system has arrived and the roof is on. All the while, the interiors team has been working on finish selections that include: Tile, wall treatments, floor finishes, cabinetry finishes, and elevations to detail all of this design. Some of the other details involve lighting and plumbing fixtures, appliance selection, counter top materials, and hardware throughout the home.

Tim Eian, Gary Konkol, Erin Heikkenen and myself have discussed function, durability, design and cost as all of these details have been massaged into a design concept that is consistent with the original architectural direction. A modern aesthetic is central to the overall design with a strong consideration of function for the home owner.

Of course, due to the environmental focus of this project, we have considered many variables when making decisions, ranging from where a product comes from, material and manufacturing process, to what happens at the end of its lifecycle.

The interior construction phase is one in which most people begin to understand the design concept, as it is realized inside the home.  Many hours of meetings with Gary (the client) and Tim (the designer) to finalize the selection of finishes and materials are now part of the construction document package Morr Construction will use in building the interior.

In the coming weeks, I will be posting additional blogs that show interior detailing as it is implemented.

Christine Frisk is the owner of InUnison Design, and the interior designer for the Passive House in the Woods.

Interior Finish Materials.

Interior Finish Materials.

Reviewing tile elevations with Tim and Gary

Reviewing tile elevations with Tim and Gary

Erin and Christine presenting cabinetry details

Erin and Christine presenting cabinetry details

Gary, Christine and Erin confirming tile and floor materials

Gary, Christine and Erin confirming tile and floor materials


Mini Series Part 4: Powered by Electricity?

May 13th, 2010 by Tim Delhey Eian

Yes, the Passive House in the Woods home is powered by electricity; and yes, electricity is predominantly a dirty fuel in this country—mostly generated by burning coal. However, electricity is a universal fuel that will likely prevail when other fuels become unfeasible. In addition, it can and is being generated in many different ways. Some of these options are NOT dirty at all and one of these cleaner options is photovoltaic power made with the help of solar panels.

Passive House in the Woods, footing for solar tracker

Pouring a footing for the solar tracker

PV Tracker

PV tracker similar to this project

Gary decided to use solar electricity and generate it on site with the help of a solar tracker as well as a Read on »


Mini Series Part 2: Site Integration

May 11th, 2010 by Tim Delhey Eian

We worked with Laurie McRostie (Landscape Architect) to learn from the land, to discover its natural patterns and vegetation, and to subsequently site a house and garage in the most benign way possible. We maximized passive solar heat gains in the winter, and looked for deciduous tree cover to help shade in the summer. We took advantage of stunning views and enhanced them with strategically placed windows, floor plans, and a roof top terrace that take advantage of them. Laurie’s master plan calls for fruit trees, vegetable patches, and other foods to be grown on site. Gary had us design a root-cellar underneath the garage to store root vegetables in the winter. The sustainable living aspect goes well beyond the building itself, yet it is reflected in its design and was part of the discussions we had all along.

Tomorrow: Highlight #3: Assembly Design


Plants, Life, Bugs and Beauty

May 7th, 2010 by Tim Eian

You can build a sustainable, energy efficient, healthy, home that will contribute to a lifestyle that is economical, carbon neutral and comfortable but you might be killing all the bugs! What has made me so excited about the Passive House in the Woods project is that we are not killing the bugs, or the soil, or the existing trees, shrubs, plants and sedges, or the water.  You are probably wondering – “so bugs are a hassle why are they so important?”

Douglas W. Tallamy wrote a book “Bringing Nature Home” published by Timber Press He describes the ecology of native plants and how critical plants and bugs are to life. All our food comes from plants (even if you eat animals, those animals eat plants!). If we don’t have bugs plants are not pollinated and flowers, fruit, and our food don’t grow. Bugs make soil alive and all plants live in soil. Can you start to see just how important bugs are? No bugs, No plants, No food, No life.

This is a pretty brief description of the connection between bugs and life, and I would encourage you to explore further. It will help change your perception of landscape, gardening, our environment and finally beauty.

This brings us to a point where we need to reconsider and actually relearn what we think about beautiful.  I believe an environment that supports life and is thriving, healthy, and sustainable must be a place where abundant populations of insects exist.  This kind of landscape will not look like the gardens and lawns we have come to expect in our world. Look at a landscape or garden that has been designed full of native plants and trees, where no herbicide or insecticide has been used to control weeds or bugs. See a place that is sustaining life, a bug’s life, your life.

This garden, at first glance, might seem a little messy or unplanned but we can learn, we must learn, to love how it looks because it is life and life is beautiful.

Laurie McRostie is the landscape architect for the Passive House in the Woods project.