Tuesday, April 28, 2009
The house harnesses energy from a multitude of sources, from geothermal radiant heating and cooling below ground to solar panels covering every square inch of the roof (see above). During daylight hours, the house is powered entirely by the 140 solar panels. At night, the house runs off the power grid, with a back-up battery available in case the grid go down (a very smart investment for Houston's hurricane-prone summers).
The galley-style kitchen is flooded with light from the large windows, which largely eliminates the need for artificial light during the day (and bring in great views of all the mature oaks on the property). Bamboo cabinets are topped with Richlite, a durable and nonporous composite countertop made from FSC-certified and/or recycled paper products. I'm not sure what material the mosaic-tile backsplash is, but I would guess recycled glass.
The electric fireplace is cleaner and more energy efficient than traditional gas or wood-burning ones. The house's steel frame is left exposed throughout the house, lending an industrial feeling to the rooms. While I appreciate the restraint the interior designer (and clients) used in decorating their rooms (the place is completely devoid of clutter and chotkies), I wish they wouldn't been a little bit more venturesome color-wise than the beige, steel gray, and white color palette.
The screened-in porch runs the length of the home and -- while I think I would like this even more if it were a wee bit wider -- the modern skylights, natural wood decking and sparsely modern furniture are lovely. I can just imagine dining al fresco here on a spring day. Delightful. I am left wondering though what the large gray conical piece is in the corner -- is it sculpture or does it perform some other function? Any ideas?