Readers' Choice: Raising the Barn

This toxin-free vacation home on Lake Michigan boasts radiant floor heat, recycled newspaper insulation and a high-efficiency wood stove.

| May/June 2009

  • A curved roofline, high ceilings and fans help increase efficiency.
    Photography By Barry Rustin
  • Architect Nate Kipnis describes this home as "an exploded barn." The form works well for natural ventilation.
    Photography By Barry Rustin

Inspired by a country barn, this vacation home on Lake Michigan’s Sturgeon Bay stays warm during Wisconsin winters thanks to deep walls that allow for extra cellulose insulation made of recycled newspaper. At the heart of this Energy Star-qualified Wisconsin vacation house, however, are design concepts as old as the horse-drawn plow—and it’s those ancient ideas that make this red house green.

“If you go back in time, nearly all architectural elements were a direct response to climate influences. These elements included roof shape, building orientation and window types. The local materials also influenced what was possible or practical. We took the best of those concepts and put them into this house.” —architect Nate Kipnis

Three things we love about this house:
1. This house stays cool in summer thanks to a ventilation tower that naturally pulls in cool air and releases hot air through remote-controlled vents at the top.
2. Radiant floor heat and a high-efficiency wood stove warm the house in cold Wisconsin winters.
3. With bamboo floors, recycled-glass terrazzo countertops, recycled-glass tile and cellulose and soy insulation, this home is toxin-free.

Read the original Raising the Barn article.

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