With your Master Plan in place, we now have comprehensive criteria to guide your home design. And when we say “home design”, we mean more than defining spaces and aesthetic options. Having found the perfect site for your home on your property, we will flesh out the Master Plan with your spacial needs and aesthetic wishlist to design a home that is not only beautiful, but that functions well for you. Without the site conditions that our Master Plan process takes into consideration, the design of your new home will not be as energy efficient or comfortable as it could be. True sustainability and resilience comes by combining your particular needs and lifestyle with your chosen site conditions to create the perfect design.
To us here at CWI Properties, “sustainable” means more than “green building”, more than the energy efficiency of your appliances or LEED certified materials. In order to design sustainably and live resiliently, you need a home design that considers the regional climate along with your specific site conditions, home location, and lifestyle. For example: energy efficient appliances are important—but they will not make up for a home that takes on too much direct sunlight in the summer months, making it expensive to cool, or a home that lets in so little light on those short winter days that you have to keep the lights on all day long, losing the advantages of solar gain. A sustainably-produced building product that’s shipped thousands of miles is not as meaningful as a locally-sourced, renewable product that only requires a little consideration during the design process. If you live in a forested region, wood is likely to be an appropriate green building material for you. If you’re building in the desert then concrete or adobe would be more sustainable. If you live on the prairie or in an agricultural region, then straw bale may be appropriate. Sustainability begins with design, requiring an approach that is holistic overall in order to make the best use of materials and resources. Resilience comes through planning and preparation.
We now take the criteria above and look at your specific needs and wants concerning living space requirements, how and when in the day you use your spaces, etc. Some people spend more time in the kitchen than the living or family room; some people lounge in the bedroom, and some don’t. We look at your routines and ensure your home supports your lifestyle. Do you come home from the office wanting nothing more than to soak up the beauty of your property from your recliner, deck or yard? Do you ride horses, or want your own campsite tucked back into the trees? Are you a full-on homesteader coming in dirty from the garden or barn? Do you need a kitchen designed for food preservation, entertaining, or mastering the recipes of your favorite cooking channel at home? If you homestead, how will you want to develop your homestead over time? You may need to design within a limited budget, allowing for growth as you develop your homesteading ability and resources. If you are planning to produce and preserve some of your own food, few modern kitchens are designed for efficient food processing, and it’s hard to know how to design a kitchen for preserving your homestead produce without already having a great deal of experience in food preservation. We have that experience, and we carefully consider these types of things to make sure we match your wants and needs with your design.
There are also the systems that allow your home to function more sustainably, helping you live more resiliently. If you have been through our Master Planning process, we have already accomplished a lot with design and proper house siting through consideration of site conditions and environment. That alone may have accomplished your goals, and we will use conventional systems to condition your home, installing energy-efficient appliances, etc. But maybe you are wanting to go further: combining solar with grid power sources or going completely off-grid. Maybe you’ll be using wood-powered hydronic or geothermal heating. There are a lot of options. Again, we will be with you all the way, sharing our experience and research to help you create a home that meets your goals.
Our design process will make your home more comfortable, more energy-efficient, will lower your physical maintenance costs, and will be easier to use. Who doesn’t want that? A well-designed home is going to be more valuable: not just on the bottom line, but in your daily comfort and your ability to live more sustainably and resiliently.