Thursday, April 22, 2010

Exterior Home Tour

First off, I’d like to wish y'all a happy Earth Day! It’s a gorgeous, sunny day in my neck of the woods today. If you know me, you know I’m celebrating by going for a bike ride. (If you don’t know me … I’m semi-obsessed with bikes.)

OK, on to our house. You may have forgotten by now, but I promised you pictures of our home’s exterior a really long time ago. Sorry about that! I had to dodge wind, rain and SNOW (!!!), but I finally got around to taking a few. Thank you for patiently waiting!

This is the north side of our home. I cropped out the pieces of machinery that haven't left our driveway yet! The weight limit should be lifted from our dirt road soon enough, though! That little bubble sticking out of our roof is a solar tube, which I'm happy to report, provides a surprising amount of light into the second floor bathroom. This time of year we are able to go until after 7:30pm without using an actual light in the room.

Below is a close up of our screened-in porch, which serves as the entrance to our home. We learned pretty quick that the porch will see much use--especially in "mud season" and during the winter. I've been told the screens will be a blessing in "black fly season" too.

Below is an interior shot of the porch ... unfinished as of now. If there's some left over, we are going to use the extra HardiePanel siding to cover the unfinished portion under the screens.
A photo from the east side of the house puts the screened-in porch into perspective a little better.
And here's a view of the home from the west...which also shows our utility meters. One meter is designed for homes like ours that are net metered, so it runs both forward and backwards depending upon energy consumption/solar production. The other measures only our solar production and is used for renewable energy credit purposes.
In the photo below, I'm standing at the edge of the clearing in our back yard, looking up at the south side of our home. I hope this gives you a better feel for our passive solar design. This side is where the majority of our windows exist and where our solar panels soak in the rays. The two solar panels on the top left of the metal roof are for solar hot water. The rest are to offset general electricity use. Our wood stove pipe is positioned to eliminate shading on the photovoltaic and solar hot water panels.

Here is a shot of our deck railing. We chose a wire insert instead of traditional vertical wood slats so as not to disrupt from the view.

Oh, right, and speaking of the view...
Whatever word I choose doesn't give it justice. And neither does that photo. It's our favorite part of the house.
I'm going to leave you with this photo ... just in case you thought I was joking when I said we had snow in April.


  1. Oh, friend. It's wonderful! I can't believe that view- I see a little church down in the valley, too. How perfect a picture. I love the wire on your deck railings. You guys are so smart:-). I don't think I need to tell you this, but enjoy your new home:-).

  2. LOVE it! Love it more and more with every post! Cannot wait to see it in person! Miss you!

  3. I love your blog! We are buying a house in Midcoast Maine next week and plan to renovate a few things. We've been told that tile is the best option for us as the house is on a slab and we have several pets. I love slate tile, but in most photos there is a very obvious grout line, which I don't like. Your tile is perfect! Can you tell me what you used and how you did it, so that it doesn't have obvious grout? Thanks, Lauren

  4. Hey Lauran, Glad you like the flooring. The slate is natural Vermont slate purchased from Interiors Green in Bethlehem NH ( Since it is natural there is variation in the color as well as the cut and texture. This gives it a very unique natural look but also means the grout lines are not perfectly straight (which may be what you like about it). It is especially nice if you are using it where there is southern exposure or radiant heat in the floor since it holds the heat well. Let us know if you have any other questions.

  5. When we started building our home, I looked for blogs for advice and ideas but couldn't find any. Now that I'm done, they're everywhere.

    Nice house. Great location.

    One question: how's that solar collector holding out with snow on the roof? I'm kind of regretting not keeping mine on the ground where you can brush off the snow more easily.

  6. Hi ProfWW - we purchased a snow rake from our local Lowes to aide us in brushing the snow off our solar panels. It's a bit of a pain since our roof is so tall and steep, but because of the southern exposure, the snow melts quickly anyway! Our first full year in the house, we were able to produce 10 months of our energy. Keeping the heat at 50 in the winter when we are away from home (so the pipes don't freeze) is what killed us! ;)