simple natural home design,natural building materials,green architect,ecological building,eco-building,Darrel DeBoer

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COMPUTER SIMULATIONS:
     
THE HOOCH:    
finished-hooch Check out the new "Hooch," just built by a great guy, Jo Scheer from Ashland, Oregon.  It's his design for a relatively simple structure that meets the building code's "less than 120 square feet without a building permit" requirement.  It has no foundation, no concrete, but guy wires instead hold it in place.  I think of it as a treehouse without the tree.  Check out Jo's website: treehouse where you can arrange to stay in the one he built in Puerto Rico.  But, since they're so affordable, you should just hire Jo to build you one.  You'll enjoy every minute.  
     
STRAW BALE HOME:  
curved straw wall curvy model
The reason we built the hooch was that my clients were restless, wanting to make some progress while waiting for the building permit on their new house. You can somewhat see the contour lines, stepping down the hill.  The hooch is just above the top of the plan.  
   

POURED EARTH:

 

poured earth

We're going to try a poured earth wall, like this sample. So, the idea is to make a 12 foot high wall with alternating colors that feels like the walls of the Grand Canyon, running the entire length of the back side of this house. There is a 6 inch wide continuous skylight running the length of the wall, so the blast of light from the ocean view can be balanced.

sexy model
   
SYMPLIFYING STRUCTURE:  
sustainable.jpg arc house

In the last few years, we have tried to simplify structure and emphasize the finishes.  In other words, don't spend it all on what gets hidden in the wall.  So, the challenge is to make a simple structure interesting.

With a little shift, a rectangle becomes a curve, but still uses straight rafters for the roof:

More images of this house, and the option of ordering the plans are on Healthy Home Designs' website.

   
DETAILS:  
scully-young-pano.jpg

If the structure is easy, you can spend your time on the details you actually see:straw bales walls covered with earthen plasters, earthen floor, and bamboo trim.

pivot doors.jpg

I particularly enjoy being involved in the building of the details of a project.  These two doors - that my father and I built - are on pivots, so they swing almost completely out of the way to open the indoors out.

More pictures of this design are on the Healthy Homes website.  And more about our furniture and light fixtures are on this page.

   
GREEN BUILDING:  
ocean water design plus sustainability

Sometimes, projects can be very rectilinear, but with a richness of detail:

"Environmentally-considered" materials can be worked in easily: fiberglass frame windows, fibercement and other waste composite siding, radiant heat coupled with a passive solar greenhouse, and engineered lumber made from very small trees.

coastal home.jpg
   
SITE CONSIDERATIONS:

 

 
view

Another environmental consideration is to get the house to feel like it's meant to be a part of the site.  Here, on a very sensitive coastal site, the California Coastal Commission actually was pleased to see our attempt to match the rock formations in the neighborhood.

It's important to think of buildings as sculptures that fit into their surroundings.

 
     
MODELS:

 

 
alluring models

Here are some of the next projects to be built.

For more on our approach to strawbale design, click here.

 
     

 

 

 
 
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