Tag Archives: SIPS

stratton14 West

Stratton House Progress Report for January 2013

I visited the Stratton Project the other day to see how things were progressing. Flooring is going down (locally milled white oak) and plaster is going up. I’m very happy about the decision to plaster the walls on the main floor. The whole house inside and out is turning out to be a very tactile thing. The (experimental) rough hemlock siding on the exterior will weather to a soft grey and has the appearance of fabric, the plaster has just enough texture to do wonderful things with light in a way that a painted wall simply can’t and the raw steel structural beams and posts provide a beautiful space defining element.

The steel siding is actually “midnight bronze” which means it has a lot of color depth and can appear black in low light and shadow but really bursts forth in bright sunlight with the bronze undertone. Houzz.com has a lively discussion of black houses going on right now and lots of very strong opinions are being expressed! I have always loved black and dark houses. The more monochromatic the better. It speaks to the kid in me – I expect something more exiting from a dark house in a monsters under the stairs and witches in the attic way. With a modern looking project like this it’s always interesting to see what the folks who work on it say. Some are completely sold and others not so much.

I completed Passive House Designer training after the design of this house and with my new level of knowledge of super-energy efficient construction, I would have done a few things differently perhaps but not much. At some point I will complete energy modeling on this project to see how close to the passive house standard we go.

Over the next few months the interior should be completed and I will post photos as things progress. The outside will look good for a while, then the snow will melt and it will look crappy until site work is completed.

Miscellaneous Musings

I am working on this new small greek revival in Maine. Not the high style Greek Revival with huge columns like you see on banks and government buildings but the small, simple style that is so ubiquitous in New England and doesn’t get much attention but everybody knows. I’m designing it to “pretty good house” standards. It is for a family member who lost her house in a fire Continue reading

Green Hemlock Siding on a Modernist house in Vermont

Construction is underway on this super insulated modern house in Vermont where we are trying out some very cool things.

stratton house SW Continue reading

Perry Road Porches

I have started working on the Perry Road porches. Freezing my butt off and that sort of thing. But it is fun to do a bit of carpentry again. I will post pics here as things progress.

sketchup model of the Perry Road house porches









This is yesterdays (1-4) photo. I spent today finishing up details before metal roofing goes on. The whole thing is solid and straight. One of the things I like about carpentry is the problem solving aspect. I like to figure out the whole enough to know I won’t get into trouble on a detail later on. There is an aspect of improvisation to it. When I built my fern house, there were no drawings. I sketched out enough of the whole to understand that the details would be easily solved as I went along – and they were. I suppose this is not very architecty of me but it works out fine. I think this is what separates good carpenters from the rest – the ability to look ahead and work with all levels from the whole to the minute details simultaneously. I have often seen carpenters do what seems easy or logical at the moment only to get boxed into a bad detail resolution later on because of the inability to conceptualize the whole. Much of my detailing as an architect is just enough to guide a builder along a path without them getting boxed in but allowing room for improvisation and improvement.



We got the roofing on last week in time for the big snowstorm

big house elevation renderingThis is an actual hand rendering of a very large house that I did schematic design for a few years ago. It was to be Timber framed with SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels) I never did construction drawings and it was pre sketchup so there were some museum board models and a Vectorworks 3-D timberframe study. It is always an interesting study to design a large home like this and make it look nice. It requires a completely different mind-set than most of my work and really takes a different perspective.

Gouin Green

I just added a link to Gouin (Go-In) Green a process blog where some folks are building a SIP modular house.  The house is rather vanilla but the blog is full of excellent information and $ #’s which I always appreciate.  It looks like they actually used Alpen Windows which are super good and they talk about how they justified the extra cost.   There is also a long discussion of radiant heat in a super-insulated house in the Features section

Perry Road Project

okay, enough talk, lets see pictures. This is a house that I have just finished tuning and tweaking. Construction will start next month. see my website for more information. We may set up an independant blog for this project. We are going for LEED certification and of course, Energy Star. We are pushing the low cost limits as well. I designed it so that the owners can do most of the labor without getting into too much time and complexity. Materials and subs costs are coming in at a little over $50 per square foot not including site work, well and septic. The shell is made of structural insulated panels from Foard Panel.

Oh, and of course, being in Vermont, there is a sleeping porch.