Congratulations to Jennifer and Tony Butler, who won a Stewardship Award this year for their new home and landscape! We enjoyed working with Jenn and Tony, who came to us for our ‘design coaching’ , which we do if the client budget doesn’t support full custom design services. They had already made some great decisions in terms of lot selection (uncleared, fronting a greenbelt) and were looking for ways to maximize the advantages of good siting, and the selection of a home plan that could be easily adapted to be more site-specific. We spent lots of time on the site together, assessing vegetation, topography, and quality of light. We encouraged them to read one of our favorite books, Building Within Nature, by Andy and Sally Wasowski. One of the best and earliest decisions was to install tree protection fencing and signage to protect the amazing plant community. After determining rough locations for living spaces based on solar orientation and trees, the team went to work reviewing possibly hundreds of available designs, arriving at one that we all felt could be most easily altered to make the most of the interesting site.
After purchasing CAD rights to a Don Gardner floor plan- B & O altered roughly half of the design (mostly interior- main volume stayed the same), as well as modifying the envelope to be ‘green’ with energy saving features & products. Knowing that this would be a long-term investment, they installed a solar thermal system and utilized many systems (sealed crawl space, icynene insulation, high-performance materials, etc.) that will save them energy costs over the life of the home. Qualitatively, we considered volume, light & orientation- opening up the house to the views & nature with a sun room, screened porch, full rear deck & added a complementary out-building (garage/surf-storage shed!).
Once the construction was complete, the planting commenced, although there was very little to be done! Site soil conditions were wonderful, due to the careful construction staging and all that tree protection fence. Native plants were selected which either were already found on site, or are known to grow in association with species on site. A small amount of sod was installed – mostly to accommodate the pups, and the final touch was a raised bed at the very front of the yard, which produced a prodigious first crop!