Residential Design

Vol 4, 2017

A business-to-business magazine focused on the collaborative process and talented work of residential architects and custom homebuilders.

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Page 44 of 79

houses. "What our builder and we are finding is that previous materials don't hold up as well as they used to. We've worked with corrugated metal before, but fiber cement was new to us," says Ira. "When we do use wood, we're looking for wood with longevity—cedar instead of hemlock and pine, for instance." With Vermont's frigid winters and dramatic temperature differentials between outside and inside, a rigorous building envelope is always a critical component of construction. "We make an effort to beef up specs in walls and roofs, and to use insulation with low toxicity," Ira explains. "Usually, it's a combination of dense-packed cellulose, rigid insulation board, Roxul mineral wool, and a soy-based spray foam. We install air-source heat pumps with a boost from an efficient boiler system. There's the usual array of energy recovery ventilators and a fresh air system. And the house is wrapped in a smart vapor retarder that allows the walls to dry in every direction." Double-pane windows are the firm's go-to. Although they have used triple-glazed units on some projects, they can't always justify the hit to the budget or the architectural aesthetics. Says Pi, "They often ramp up the budget—and the cost of construction here is high anyway. We've been focusing on the whole picture of efficiency. Also, we like to play with divisions in our windows, and that gets much harder to do with triple-pane windows." The firm arranged windows for maximum effect on the interiors as well as the exteriors. Sight lines across the open plan inevitably terminate in some glimpse of the meadow, pool, or other pleasing vista. "We took advantage of those long views through the house with axial windows, so you're always moving towards the light," Pi explains. The windows are a combination of custom and stock, says Ira. "Our window company, more than many other, has Above: A large screened porch functions as both sheltered outdoor and indoor space. It provides passage to the pool bathroom and shower. VOL. 4, 2017 RESIDENTIALDESIGNMAGAZINE.COM 45

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