28 February 2011

Green Building Doesn't Have to Be Ugly

I'd like to think that the story I've been telling over the last year and a half about the construction of my house has proven that "green" building doesn't have to be minimalist, ultra-modern, or stark. (Yes, I realize that, for some, minimalist, ultra-modern, and stark is the opposite of ugly, but there are plenty of examples out there of green homes with ultra-modern styling, so my purpose here is to demonstrate that green building can successfully coexist with traditional architecture.)

While our builder, R, was getting started on our house, he was finishing up another house that I sometimes think of as our house's big brother. It's a lot larger, much more expensive, and was designed by a super-fancy architect, but it's very similar in both its Craftsman styling and its emphasis on energy-efficiency and sustainability (it also achieved a five-star rating from Austin's green building program). Since it was a few months ahead of our house in the construction process, we frequently borrowed ideas from it on both the Craftsman and green fronts.

So, without further ado, here is another house that successfully melded state-of-the-art technology and traditional aesthetics (and, incidentally, is apparently much more moved-into than ours):

(Pictures from www.builderonline.com.)


  1. Maybe we just don't have enough good words for these things, because a part of me wants to take issue with the label "traditional" that you're using. In my mind, "traditional" (especially in the context of green building) would apply more to something like a cob house. But then, what to call what you're talking about? Conventional? But that feels a little too much like the lower-quality, energy inefficient houses. "Normal"? I don't know.

    In any case, both your house and the one featured today are beautiful. I love the openness of the dining and living rooms, both the open floor plan and all the windows. And as someone living in a rental with a minimal kitchen... wow, I love that huge kitchen!

  2. That's fair. I agree that there's no good word -- and "traditional" can mean so many different things. I guess I subconsciously compare my house to the rest of the neighborhood, which are early '60s houses and traditional as can be...but then, the term "traditional" probably comes to mind as much with regard to the style as the construction methods.

    Thank you for the compliment. As for the kitchen, I can't take credit -- that was all Steve.