This vacation home wears its cloak of sustainable design lightly. Although designed for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification, the emphasis was in creating a memorable, refreshing vacation oasis for guests. Always by Design (AxD) achieved this by seamlessly integrating multiple goals within single design elements. For example, the belvedere tower not only provides a treetop-level get-away, it serves as a passive cooling chimney for the entire house. The vegetative "green" roof helps manage on-site stormwater, harnesses solar radiation for photosynthesis, and gives second floor bedrooms a "garden" view. Generous roof overhangs provide summer shading while also shielding open windows from rain – facilitating natural ventilation and daylighting.
A similar attitude was also taken in planning the house to serve as the owners' future retirement residence. A small outbuilding provides storage space during vacation rental season but becomes a painting studio when the owners are in residence. Generous circulation spaces and the open plan of the "Great Room" encourage an easy flow of social functions. The first floor bathroom is designed in a "Scandinavian" open style -- eliminating wheelchair impediments and imparting a generous sense of space.
The materials on the exterior of the house were chosen as much for maintenance and durability as beauty. A combination of North American wood species was used throughout the house. The materials show off not only their own natural beauty but the workmanship of local craftsmen.