More on Barb’s House…

Barb wanted to make her house as efficient and low impact as possible. She was also determined to include many non-standard  products or features as practical. Some on her list we threw out but we included a surprising number and added others as we went. I thought it would be useful to list some of those unique features:

Site + Location

  • Centrally located on an infill lot
  • Permeable paved walkways
  • Raised gardens
  • 1400 gallon rain water storage system
  • Rain garden


  • Integrated footing and foundation drainage
  • Faswall ICF system (R-23)
  • Flyash concrete
  • FSC certified framing
  • Fiberglass double and triple pane windows
  • R-60 foam + fiberglass roof insulation (roof)
  • Heavy gauge metal roof
  • EPDM flat roofs for green roof planting
  • Paperless drywall


*    260 SF solar thermal array w/ 240 gal storage for both space and domestic heating
*    2.8 kW photovoltaic system
*    Infloor hydronic heat both levels
*    High efficiency boiler w/ instant domestic hot water as backups
*    Low flow fixtures
*    Energy star appliances
*    Passive cooling tower with interior “borrowed light”
*    Integrated HRV and AC system (high efficiency of course)


Other features

  • Polished concrete floor (lower level)
  • Bamboo floor on gypcrete  (upper level)
  • Recycled kitchen & bath cabinets with
  • Recycled granite tops and
  • Marmoleum vanity tops
  • Central vacuum, vented to exterior
  • Clay finish interior walls
  • LED cabinet lights
  • Low VOC finishes throughout

That’s all I can think of off the top of my head. If you have any questions feel free to post them here, or contact us for discussion or even a tour!


Barb’s Green House

I had dinner at a client’s house last night. It was my first social visit since we met in 2008 look over her new house plans. Her idea was to contract the work herself, but wisely realized that having an experienced construction manager would be a worthwhile expense. From dealing with the bank, the subs and the inspectors she would have someone on her side who had been there before, who understood the terminology and would advocate on her behalf. We hit it off and I was hired.
Now two years later I’m sitting in a home that I built from the ground up. Not that I did ALL the work mind you, but as things developed I did a lot. From detailing the drawings and hiring the subs, to insulating the slab, framing the interior, installing the windows, building the finished stairs, putting in the recycled cabinets and building a few new ones to match. I’d had a hand in nearly every decision, and every square inch inside and out. The client was the best: steady, rolling with the natural ups and downs of a large custom project and kicking the project in the a$$ when that needed to be done. She moved in before Thanksgiving 2009.
So it was one year ago this month that our project won the 2009 Solar House of the Year by the Minnesota Renewable Energy Society. There are still a few things on our list which we will complete as money allows but for now it’s a spacious, snug and cheep to operate home for Barb & her mom.
I’ll be blogging some details about this project as time allows, and rest assured, they’re details you won’t want to miss…

We are the pros from Dover

You _know_ the construction economy is in recovery mode right?

Bill and I have been looking for ways to better connect with our clients and friends and one of our clients suggested we move from a static web format to the more dynamic web log format. Look for images, ideas, projects and solutions. We promise to keep it fresh and promise you won’t be disappointed.