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Holmes - After

From ‘Tea House’ to Tight House

Mar 21, 2010 | Marlboro, Vermont

By Doug Snyder

In 2008, contractor Dwight Holmes went to work with homeowner Mary Sargent on a deep energy retrofit of her 1917 “Tea House.” Nestled into a hillside apple orchard in Vermont, the building was originally constructed as a private, summer-only, communal dining and entertainment hall with living quarters for servant help. The house included many doors and large single-pane French windows to allow summer breezes to pass through the building. While this is ideal for the summertime, maintaining a livable temperature indoors during Vermont winters was a challenge.

Lancaster townhouse kitchen

A Net-Zero Townhouse in Oakland

Feb 18, 2010 | Oakland, California

Not many projects achieve HERS 0, especially on a small urban infill site. But that's the score achieved by the Lancaster Live/Work Townhome, a recently completed (Fall 2009) project in Oakland, Calif.

A multitasking island

A Fast Kitchen Addition Made With SIPs

Feb 15, 2010 | Brattleboro, Vermont

Old houses didn't need big kitchens because they weren't the central gathering spot that today's kitchens are. The 12-ft. by 12-ft. kitchen in the house my wife, Chris, and I bought ten years ago was just such a space: small and dark. It was pretty typical for a 100-year-old New England home, but it was challenging for how a kitchen works in the 21st century.

Rouleen Williams exterior - horizontal 2

Foam Forms Create an Energy-Efficient Concrete House

Jan 15, 2010 | Salisbury, New Hampshire

By Rouleen Williams

My plans to build a dream home took years to bear fruit. I took the first step in 1988, when I bought an 18-acre property in Salisbury, N.H. The lot slopes to the southwest, with a spectacular western view over a beaver pond to Mt. Kearsarge.

It took me 19 years to save enough to qualify for a construction loan. In many ways it was good that the process took so long, because the home I finally built is much better than the one I first envisioned.

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