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Boston Magazine Design Home 2014

The crew at RainyDayMagazine recently stopped by this year’s Boston Magazine Design Home for a tour. Said home is the just-built domicile of our friends Tom and Natalie Treat. When Tom and Natalie decided to leave the city for more rural surroundings, they saw it as an opportunity to put some of their environmentally conscious desires into practice.

“There are many ways to live more energy efficiently,” says Natalie. “We want to be living proof that it can be done successfully, and show how it can affect community initiatives and overall policy.” She adds, “We want our home to be a lab where people can learn from what we’ve implemented.”

After an unsuccessful search for an existing house which met their requirements, they decided to start from scratch and build something which satisfied their sustainable, net-zero-footprint goals, at a relatively affordable price. As things would have it, Tom and Natalie’s plans meshed with Boston Magazine’s goal for their tenth Design Home project, a net zero-energy house.

Each year’s Boston Magazine Design Home is built in a different location in New England, and this year it can be found north of Boston in beautiful Salisbury, MA. This project reflects the current trend of smaller dwellings and more environmentally conscious lifestyles, complete with smart home furnishings, eco-friendly appliances, and attractive detailing.

We got a great tour of the house, were encouraged to touch everything, and asked a lot of questions. One of our editors even managed to stump the Boston Magazine folks on a few 🙂 We are sharing some of what we saw, but you really have to see it in person. Go here for a time-lapse video of the assembly of the modular structure!

The first thing we noticed was the great entry way. It is bathed in light from multiple angles. The cut out into the living room creates a nice flow. From the living room side the cut out extends the living room into the entry way while still providing privacy.

All of the permanent and temporary furnishings fit with the home’s environmentally friendly mission:

The living room has windows in its two outside walls, and opens into the dining room. The acoustics were such that sounds from the living room were not propagated into the dining room, a very nice feature. The living room flows into the dining room, which is separated from the kitchen by a counter. There are two doors in the dining room: one goes out to the back yard, the other goes into a screened-in porch. We didn’t get a shot of the screened-in porch, but it is a great space and had a very cool cathedral ceiling.

The combination of kitchen and dining room span the entire width of the house. As the kitchen tends to be where everyone congregates, having an open floor plan for the two rooms was a very smart and functional decision. Check out the reclaimed oak wooden floors with the fantastic flat finish.

There are three bedrooms on the second floor, as well as a narrow but handsome home office. For the tour, designers created a gender-neutral Kid’s Room, a very inviting Guest Room, and a slightly showy Master Bedroom.

The giraffe was made from recycled flip flops! A bizarre and yet very real phenomenon of thousands and thousands of flipflops wash up onto the East African coast has created an environmental disaster over there. A creative team of artisans transforms the discarded flipflops into elephants, giraffes, lions, rhinos, dolphins, sharks, turtles and more. These colourful masterpieces come with an important message about marine conservation whilst bringing smiles to people all over the world. Go check out the Ocean Soles story if you want to learn more or if you want to acquire your very own flip flop giraffe!

The coolest part of the house? The “attic.” Instead of some dark storage space for the holiday ornaments, the space has been made into a large open living room. While taller people may need to take care when getting up from the couch because of the slant to the roof, the space is amazing.

We have provided only a tiny glimpse of the riches of this year’s Boston Magazine Design Home. On September 10, Design Home 2014 opens to the public for four weeks of home tours, with 100% of proceeds benefiting Boston Children’s Hospital. Visitors will learn all about the energy-efficient design in the construction of the home, the use of solar panels to offset the electricity needed to run it, and the various high-efficiency and energy-saving products used to reduce the environmental impact of living in it. We encourage all of our local readers to go check out this fantastic project.
Purchase your tour tickets here.

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