Mother Earth Living

Soak Up the Sun: A Solar-Powered Home in Berkeley, California

This spectacular, solar-powered home was once the ugliest house on the block.

Etched glass on the double-pane, low-E windows provide privacy. A glass bridge allows daylight to penetrate deep in the house's core.
Photography By Barbara Bourne
Structural themes from the original first floor are continued on the second floor, where double-pane windows are trimmed in recycled wood and plastic composite.
Photography By Barbara Bourne
A glass corner on the former bungalow's added second story opens the home to passive solar gains and eye-catching views of the Berkeley Hills and Mounta Tamalpais.
Photography By Barbara Bourne
Once a weed-cluttered space accessible only by a narrow path, the backyard—filled with native plantings—is now a restful extension of the house.
Photography By Barbara Bourne
A colored plaster wall bisects the house physically while uniting it in theme.
Photography By Barbara Bourne
A skylight well cut through the home's core allows hot air to escape through the roof. Formerly closed, the rear of the house now opens onto the backyard. The adjoining living room features the original fireplace re-covered in plaster.
Photography By Barbara Bourne
Chris' office occupies space that was once a windowless bedroom.
Photography By Barbara Bourne
Chris describes the bungalow as he found it in 1993 as "absolutely run to the ground."
Photography By Chris Parlette
Daylight floods the master bath.
Photography By Barbara Bourne
Homeowner Chris Parlette recalls a long-time fascination with solar power.
Photography By Barbara Bourne
Bamboo floors and a locally made, salvaged Douglas fir dining table add warmth to the kitchen and dining area.
Photography By Barbara Bourne
Concrete countertops and plain steel hardware and drawer pulls keep the kitchen aesthetic simple.
Photography By Barbara Bourne
In the second-floor bedrooms, beams of recycled Douglas fir recall the original, 1920s beams on the first floor.
Photography By Barbara Bourne
A concrete counter with recycled glass and plastic sits atop a bamboo cabinet.
Photography By Barbara Bourne
Main floor.
Illustrations By Andrej Galins
Second floor.
Illustrations By Andrej Galins

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