Green Undercover: This Eco-Friendly House in Wellesley Fits Right In
ZeroEnergy Design creates a green home that fits right into a traditional neighborhood.
Architect Stephanie Horowitz, of Boston-based ZeroEnergy Design, is an expert at creating contemporary, environmentally sensitive, family-friendly abodes. But one of her recent projects posed a unique challenge: She was asked to design a 4,200-square-foot house that was LEED Platinum–certified while easily blending into its Wellesley neighborhood. Thanks to über-thick insulation, this traditional-from-the-outside home is one of the most energy-efficient houses in town. Here, Horowitz shares how she did it.
The kitchen cabinets are made of formaldehyde-free plywood and finished with low-VOC paint. A Dash & Albert indoor/outdoor rug, made from recycled plastic bottles, is one of the home’s few floor coverings because, as Horowitz points out, “Carpets are harbingers of dust and allergens that don’t support a healthy living environment.”
Close It Up
European high-performance triple-glazed windows and doors are extremely airtight—and therefore highly energy efficient. “When closed, the seal is comparable to a freezer door,” Horowitz says. Here, two sets of French doors connect the kitchen and dining areas with the back deck, where a gas fire pit extends the deck’s usage into the chilly months.
Both the front door and the garage open into the home’s main entry hall, which doubles as the mudroom—complete with storage cubbies, a bench, and access to the laundry. “It’s an efficient use of square footage that ensures the front vestibule isn’t an abandoned area used only by guests,” Horowitz says.
The solid white-oak dining table, finished with its natural splits and knots intact, contrasts with the industrial feel of the handwelded iron-and-brass chairs. Interior designer Tracy Parkinson, of Nest + Company, installed a trio of images of retro milk-bottle tops by photographer Roy Barloga, printed on handmade paper and framed in Plexiglas.
Make it Easy
Horowitz extends her environmentally sensitive design work to her ergonomic interiors. A first-floor bathroom off the guest suite, for example, boasts a curbless shower for easy maneuvering to accommodate the homeowners’ elderly parents. Carrara marble hex tile covers the floor, which slopes toward the horizontal drain along the back wall.
Architecture & Mechanical Design ZeroEnergy Design
General Contractor The Bevilacqua Company
Civil Engineering Creative Land & Water Engineering
Landscape Design Barbara Peterson Landscape Consultation & Design
Interior Design Nest + Company