Custom Living takes Zero Energy

Custom Living takes Zero Energy

Custom Living takes Zero Energy

Every so often, we like to check in with homeowners with whom we’ve worked. Tim and Kathryn were wonderful collaborators, and we’re delighted to share some of their insights into the process of designing a BrightBuilt Home, and their thoughts about living in the custom spaces they worked with us to create.  As veterans of the “building a new home” realm, they also offered some helpful perspectives on the process of new construction in general.  Read on to see what they had to say!

Rumor has it that building houses is no new project for you two. What were you drawn to about BrightBuilt Home?

Kathryn and I started by rebuilding a 1908 Kit house as our first home after we were married, then built a Van Dam and Renner design, a modern Victorian, a Maine cedar post and beam passive solar home using panelized construction all for use by our family, three single family 3-5 BR rental units for investment purposes, and finally our wonderful BrightBuilt Home we now live in. We had traveled through a snow storm to visit our towns "Energy fair" just for something to do and look into modern methods to upgrade systems of our then current post and beam house. We were drawn to the solar and heat pump companies on display, several of whom directed us to check out the BrightBuilt booth in one corner of the event site. Parlin and Kai greeted us, we chatted for half an hour before leaving with copies of three house plans and a wealth of new ideas which eventually led us to moving into our BrightBuilt Home two years later.

What stands out as being different in the BrightBuilt building process than others you have experienced?

The differences between the BrightBuilt building process were how the design was aimed at 10, 12, or 14' boxes from the modular builder, and how quickly and well the boxes were built. How the boxes were delivered, set, and hooked together amazed us as did the level of energy efficiency and general tightness that was permitted using the modular construction. It took a lot of initial thought but once the plans were finalized, we had little to do other than watch the work progress.

Is there a particular feature in the house that speaks the most to who you are?

We feel the overall efficiency of the house fits us best, we spend less than $1000 per year on energy expenses and building maintenance, far less than in any of our previous homes. We especially love how Kai and Parlin were able to incorporate several pieces of family heirlooms and artwork into the design process, thus truly make this house our own.

That green front door is spectacular! How did the decision-making come about for it?

Kathryn had picked out the Sherwin Williams Electric Lime color for the front door the day after we received our third and almost final set of drawings. We fell in love with it and bought a quart for Kathryn’s birthday before the boxes were even started. We wanted something that would direct friends and family to our new home, to make it stand out in our neighborhood. It worked!

When you aren’t inside enjoying the warmth of your home, how do you like to spend your time?

When we aren't inside our home we enjoy playing outside. Kathryn is an avid runner and this has taken us to full and half marathons around the US and Bermuda. We just returned from 10 days in Utah as she ran three 10 - 13 mile trail runs at Zion, Bryce Canyon, and the Grand Canyon National Parks, simply beautiful spots. We visit our five grandsons in Colorado, Connecticut, and now Ohio as well as family scattered around the country, we sail and powerboat around Casco Bay in the summers and enjoy downhill as well as Nordic skiing in the winter. Our greatest activity is bicycling from daily 20+ mile rides around Greater Portland, charity rides on weekends around New England, to longer rides across country as well as the Pacific coast from Vancouver to Imperial Beach, California.

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone starting down the road of building a new home?

We have been happy to discuss with others the adventures of building a new home, especially the advantages of building an energy efficient modular Net Zero home. We learn something from each and every home, apartment, or office building we rehabbed or built from scratch. Go into the project with a good set of ideas for what you wish to accomplish, work with a good designer and have a complete set of plans that detail as much as possible so the builders know what you have in mind. Be prepared for the unforeseen be it from your Towns planning board or building inspectors, your builder or subs, there will be questions you will need to answer usually on short notice. Be prepared for these and your project will go smoothly.

Many thanks to Tim & Kathryn for their wonderful insights and comments!