GBA Logo horizontal Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Picture icon Hamburger Icon Close Icon Sorted
BS* + Beer

Form and Function: Pretty Good Design

A look at how a house's size and shape impact performance, cost, and aesthetic appeal

Photo by Kat Alves, courtesy of Fine Homebuilding magazine

This episode of the BS* + Beer Show features Elizabeth DiSalvo, principal of Trillium Architects; energy consultant Kai Fast of Kaplan Thompson Architects; and Steve DeMetrick, owner of DeMetrick Housewrights talking about the ways in which a building’s size and shape affect performance, cost, and aesthetics. As part of the Pretty Good House series, the discussion includes examples of right-sized houses with emphasis on the rectangular form’s benefits, which include better WuFi modeling results. The group covers the challenge of heat gain, the value of deep overhangs, passive solar vs. Passive House performance, the tendency for HVAC mechanicals to be used as a be-all solution, the unmet demand for smaller homes, marrying simplicity of design to ease of constructability, and much more.

Enjoy the show!


Steve DeMetrick is owner of DemMetrick Housewrights. He has been building houses since he graduated from Georgetown University in 1995. He worked for Habitat for Humanity in inner city Washington, DC as an AmeriCorps volunteer for two years, then moved back to Wakefield in 1998 and has been building and remodeling in his community ever since. He is a Certified Passive House Builder and built the first PHIUS Certified Passive House in the state. He is an active member of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association and is an occasional contributor to the Journal of Light Construction and Fine Homebuilding magazines. He also served on the Board of Passive House Massachusetts.

Elizabeth DiSalvo, is the founder and principal architect at Trillium Architects. She is a Graduate of Columbia University with a masters of advanced architectural design and of Rensselaer (RPI) with a five year Bachelor of Architecture and Building Science.  Elizabeth has been a Registered Architect since 1993 and currently holds registration in the States of New York and Connecticut.

Kai Fast graduated from Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston in 2014 with a master’s in architecture. A Certified Passive House Consultant, Kai is the in-house Sustainability Specialist at Kaplan and Thompson Architect.

The BS* + Beer Show schedule

The next show is on September 7, 2023, from 6-7 p.m. ET.

Use this link to register for The BS* + Beer Show






One Comment

  1. Tim_O | | #1

    Great chat once again. I like really Steve's methods and thinking. I work in the automotive world, where every little cost is scrutinized and optimized. It may be something like, changing a chamfer means a cutting tool lasts a little longer, which is worth $0.03 on a part. But all this is integrated, and the next design takes it into account. I just find it interesting to see similar techniques being used here. I wonder how well tract homes are dialed in, in that sense.

Log in or create an account to post a comment.



Recent Questions and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |