Sunday, May 18, 2008

Steve Thomas (of This Old House) to visit BHB

Some of you have already heard that BHB has been selected to be featured on the new cable show "Renovation Nation", hosted by Steve Thomas of This Old House fame. Renovation Nation is a new show on the new Discovery Channel network Planet Green, described as "the first and only 24-hour eco-lifestyle television network". Renovation Nation will try to tap into the excitement of the "Green Building" movement and feature homes that have taken environmental concerns into account in design and construction. Noah Grunberg (our own "green" architect), passed us along to the producers of the show. Long story short: they liked what they saw on this blog, contacted us, and after something of an interviewing process, decided to feature BHB on one of their upcoming episodes. They will be here in early June to film the segment. The short video above is the "screen test" we had to film as a part of the process.

So, you may be wondering what makes BHB a "green" home. Valid question. Consider the following:

- The barn frame (salvaged, repaired, and modified for use as a home) is, in effect, a "recycled" building (you never knew the "three Rs" could apply to a home did you?)
- The finish work incorporates reclaimed wood siding/roofers from the original barn (reused as roofers and wall sheathing)
- Also: reclaimed and reconditioned barn floor planking (reused for flooring on second floor, fireplace mantelpiece, vanity tops)
- Layout of interior spaces. In the words of our architect, “Modern design utilizes dynamic spaces in an efficient way for a family of 6. The barn footprint is only 1080 square feet, and total livable floor area is 2460 square feet on 4 interlocking levels.” Small footprint = minimal impact.
- SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels) provide superior insulation
- Large attic fan (eliminates need for A/C – we hope! – by drawing cool air in from the windows on the ground floor and venting it out near the peak of the rear of the house)
- The siting of the house and window design and placement capitalizes on solar gain (as well as maximizing privacy and taking advantage of the views)
- We have used non-toxic interior finishes where ever possible
- Reclaimed wood siding (reused for parts of exterior sheathing)
- MDO panels (when properly painted will last far longer without repainting than other painted surfaces, reducing the frequency of paint application)
- Galvalume metal roofing (for longer life and cleaner water runoff)
- “greenscaping” (ecologically sound landscaping/lawn design)
- Sweat-equity! (The financially sustainable way to build a house!)

When I was asked why it mattered to me to be as green as possible, my honest answer was that in this day and age, it just makes sense. It doesn't have to cost more money to make minor changes to your lifestyle and these choices can make a major difference in your quality of life. When these minor changes are multiplied by millions and millions of similar choices by like minded people, this adds up to a significant impact world-wide.


deb said...

Hi Ben (and Susi, whom I've yet to meet)...

This is your neighbor,Deb, at to Gaige who loves to visit with Asher.

We got your invitation and of course, like most in the neighborhood, I am sure, wondered about your home. So when I saw it had a name...I googled it...and found your blog!

Its great to read all about it and what a journey you have been on, right? We look forward to getting to know you better and plan to stop in for the Open House!

Can we bring anything?

It struck me how little you know about your know? We actually just moved in a couple of months before you did. But anyway, you can read all our inside info on our websites: and I have a blog on here but I can't even remember how to find it...ben a few months since I posted, obviously!

Please tell Susi to come down and introduce herself any time! OUr doors is always open...we're southerners and that's how we like it...drop-ins welcome!


Ryan and Susan Hayes said...

Hi Ben, I adore your house and your vision. I recently found your blog and am thoroughly enjoying exploring all that you and your family have accomplished. Congratulations! My husband and I are building what we like to think of as a modern interpretation of a barn in northern Vermont next spring and your project is definitely inspiration for us. Quick question for you...what is your loft railing material? I love the look of it and we'll be needing something similar as we're planning on the second floor of our home opening to look out over our great room. I would like to find a railing similar to what you have used. Can you tell me more about it? Feel free to reply here, post on our blog ( or shoot me an email ( Thanks and again--congratulations on a fabulous house! said...

I really enjoyed your video and blog. I am a pen and ink artist. You really need to hire me to do an custom Pen and Ink of your barn house to hang in your office or living room. Check out my Custom page on my website.
Have a great day.