The Neal Creek residence treads lightly upon its surroundings, maximizing valley and water views with minimal impact to the natural environment. The owners - windsurfing and snowboarding enthusiasts - were interested in a modest home that would be highly efficient and ecologically minded. Their wooded two-acre parcel of land presented many unique challenges including wetlands, creek protection setbacks, and floodplain restrictions. The design solution for the two-bedroom house addresses these issues by elevating the habitable space one full floor above grade. Views to the creek are enhanced from this position and the living spaces float within the tree tops. Lifting the main space protects the house from potential flooding while making way for a covered outdoor patio and much needed gear storage below. At the uppermost level, a planted roof replaces landscape lost to the building footprint and reduces heat gain to the interior spaces.
A place for relaxation and solitude, the design is a careful, non invasive integration of a small residence onto its site.
This principal is evident in the following decisions:
• Only vegetative or permeable materials will be added to the site plane
• The building footprint will be replaced with green roof
• The Advantex, dual stage septic system protects creekside soil quality and provides digital, off site monitoring of waste water quality
• High efficiency windows and wood screens are placed to maximize daylight and views, as well as protect against summer heat gains
The strategy for resource efficiency is to create an energy, water and material efficient building. It has also been designed to utilize as many renewable products as possible.
• The house has been designed to a much smaller size than typical market rate housing
• Dual flush toilets and low flow fixtures reduce domestic water consumption
• The house uses no fossil fuels for operation. Local electricity is hydro generated from the nearby Columbia River. The electricity source can later be easily converted to on-site generation via PV panels or windmills.
• Energy Star appliances reduce energy use, including an on-demand water heater
• The structural system is light wood framing, a renewable material
• A Solatube skylight provides natural daylight into bathroom
The house has been specified with many products manufactured by progressive, mindful companies that value healthy environments. Some of these products include:
• FSC certified hardwood flooring treated with a vegatable based low VOC sealer
• Water based, low VOC interior paints and sealers by Sherwin Williams paints minimize indoor air pollutants
• Western red cedar rainscreen siding allows siding to breathe, protecting walls from mold growth
• Carlisle TPO roofing was selected because of it’s ability to be recycled
many thanks to James and Paul at Paul McKean Architecture for the project description and images...
Photos by: Paul McKean Architecture and Bob Zaikoski