The Rocky River Green Home


Blending modern and traditional elements to create a green home in a traditional lakeside community, one that blends in beautifully with the elegance of the existing neighborhood, was a mission that architect David Krebs embraced.

Krebs, owner of the firm AODK Inc., and the designer of his own green home 40 miles away in a rural area outside Cleveland, worked with Organic Spa Magazine founder and publisher Bev Maloney-Fischback and her husband, David Fischback, president of a construction company. The couple and their two sons live in Rocky River, a suburb west of Cleveland.

The original home on the site was a 3,200-square foot boxy structure, with small rooms, low ceilings and high-energy needs, based on its age, poor insulation and outdated systems and fixtures. The newly constructed home, which incorporated the original structure but expanded it to 5,000 square feet, is not only more spacious, but exudes the aura of a relaxing retreat. Still, its classic exterior architecture allows it to blend into a neighbor-hood of grand homes, many of which, like this one, have lake views.

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But this house has nearly every state-of-the-art green-build design element available to homeowners today, from solar panels to gray water recycling, rainwater harvesting, a high-efficient heat pump system, LED lighting, and eco-friendly plumbing fixtures. “David Krebs and his firm have done a number of green homes, which is why we chose to work with him,” says Maloney-Fischback. “Our home looks like every other home in the neighborhood, but behind the façade, it is as green as we could make it.”

There was a conscious decision not to tear down the existing home, because it is more sustainable not to, but rather, to save what could be saved.

Wellness living truly is a common thread running through the entire house, with the Fischback’s conscious selections of organic bedding, a whole-house water purification system, and water-saving faucets by Kohler in the bathroom, among other features.

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The new green home is as energy efficient as it could be in a cli- mate where the winters are often harsh; its interior components, starting with the framing lumber, are sustainable and renewable, from the natural wool carpets in the basement/recreation rooms to the white quartz countertops in the kitchen.

Bamboo wood, though, is the most prevalent flooring feature, because of its sustainability and renewability. Dark-stained Teragren bamboo wood floors are used throughout the first and second floors; bamboo paneling was used for the bathroom cabinetry and walls. Two of the spacious spa-like bathrooms also feature sinks made of sustainable bamboo.

Given that spas are a theme that run through Maloney-Fischback’s professional life, she naturally want- ed the home to offer a spare, yet relaxing atmosphere – one that is soothing to the eyes, and to the touch. “This home is more than just four walls,” says Krebs. “It is designed as a retreat, where every single day you should feel as you would on a vacation.”

Part of that feeling comes from windows that fill the home with light but are built at a level that maintains privacy. The windows are made from recycled materials, and contain glass that reflects heat, keeping the home cool during the sultry summer months.


A second-story yoga room has picture windows with views of the tranquil blue lake beyond. The adjacent master bedroom suite, with a floor-to-ceiling fireplace at its heart, leads to an eco-spa master bath, designed with the help of renowned green spa and resort architect Scott Lee, and his spa designer wife, Tracy Lee.

“Our approach when we saw it was to simplify the palette and the material to create a sense of tranquility,” says Scott Lee. That meant a simple décor, with only a few natural objects, such as seashells featured on one wall.

As far as a place where the whole family gathers, that would be the spacious, natural- ly-lit kitchen – which includes a Sub-Zero refrigerator built from recycled aluminum. Speaking of the kitchen, and the home itself, Maloney-Fischback puts it this way: “In the end, it’s all about our surroundings and our beautiful sunsets, centennial trees and a 30-foot birdhouse full of life, and we’re happy and proud we’ve done everything we can to respect and preserve this natural beauty.”


The Rocky River Green Home features the following:

Arhaus The Ohio-based firm specializes in artisanal furniture that honors the retailer’s Rainforest Policy. Only sustainable woods are used, incorporating recycled and reclaimed materials.

ASKO Appliances Environmentally- friendly washers, dryers and dishwashers are styled in a spare Scandinavian design. All washers and dishwashers have the Energy Star label, with minimal use of hot water.

Caesarstone Quartz is abundant, and that’s why this company, with its emphasis on sustainabil- ity, relies on it for creating high-quality surfaces. White quartz is featured in the kitchen countertops.

Coyuchi Their bedding and linens are all 100 percent organic cotton, with products not only certified to the Global Organic Textile Standards, but produced using fair labor practices.

EcoSmart Fire The fireplace in the master bedroom uses bioethanol fuel, made from sugar cane, pota- toes and other crops. EcoSmart’s designs incorporate hand-crafted elements, with no vent necessary, since no carbon dioxide is released.

EcoGreen Solar Shades These energy-efficient shades, operated only by solar power, greatly reduce heat gain in summer and allow cooling demands to be lowered.

EPDM roofing The Green Home uses white EPDM roofing on the flat roof area. It reflects the sun’s rays to reduce the solar thermal gain on the house, which maximiz- es energy use.

FSC Lumber The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is the most established association that certifies sustainable lumber. FSC lumber was used in the Green Home renovation.

Haiku Designs Haiku offers one of the largest collections of sustainable and eco-friendly options. The home’s platform beds, like all Haiku furniture, are made with no toxic chemicals and all organic sustainably-resourced materials.

Health Mate Sauna Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) cedar provides the highest-quality infra red sauna, which heats the body, rather than the whole sauna, making it far more energy efficient than a traditional unit.

Jade Yoga A maker of the most environmentally friendly yoga products, this company also gives back. For each product sold, a tree is planted, with more than half a million so far.

Kohler Kohler, producer of the water-saver faucets, is a global leader in kitchen and bath fixtures. The company also introduced the Hybrid energy system, from envi- ronmentally friendly materials, which works with its Insight Touchless faucet.

Lee Industries Making earth- friendly upholstery since 1969, Lee Industries has been cited by the Sustainable Furnishings Council as a smart and responsible company making a difference in the world.

Mariner Energy Systems A member of the Green Energy Ohio group, Mariner provides solar system designs that follow approved design standards, and provided the solar panels for the Green Home. Solar panels allow for less reliance on electricity in the home, and they are especially helpful when windows aren’t situated to let in enough sunlight.

Nature’s Carpet This leading line of eco-friendly and sustainable 100 percent wool carpets is family- friendly, with no chemicals used in their manufacture. All carpets, in more than 60 styles and colors, are biodegradable.

Pelican Water Systems This whole-house water system filters and cleans water from the water main, delivering purified water throughout the home. Keeping water pipes and fixtures clean of build up is a bonus, as is eliminating the need for buying bottled water.

Rainwater HOG A water-recycling system that features tanks with a slim fit and sleek design. It feeds water from the roof, gutters and downspouts into tanks; the water is then used for watering the lawn.

Roots Roots Canada, a clothing and lifestyle brand, uses100 percent organic cotton and other sustainable materials. The company also works to reduce packaging waste and inspire green awareness in employees.

Savvy Rest Organic mattresses are made from consciously-sourced materials—including organic wool, cotton and latex—that contribute to comfort and rest, and relief from pain, thanks to customized layering options.

Sherwin-Williams Traditional paints can emit harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs), so all parts of the home were painted with the company’s new “Emerald” in- terior acrylic latex paints, which are zero VOC “green guard” certified.

Stone Forest Inc. The designs featured in the bathrooms and kitchen—including sinks—are sculpted from natural, sustainable and recycled materials, including stone, bronze, bamboo, copper, iron and hardwoods, crafted in starkly elegant silhouettes.

Teragren Premium bamboo flooring, panels/veneer and worktops are designed to rigorous quality standards and certified for superior indoor air quality. Bamboo wood flooring was used through the first and second floor; bamboo wood paneling was featured in the bath- room cabinetry and wall paneling.

Trevarrow Inc./ Sub-Zero/Wolf All appliances are Energy Star rated. Sub-Zero and Wolf designs manufactures and uses products in environmentally safe methods, to exceed federal standards for energy efficiently.

Tufenkian Artisan Carpets Their mission is to create exquisite things that enrich the lives of whoever experiences and creates them. That means improving environmental conditions in its workplaces and nearby communities.

Vitamix Known for its durable high- performance blending machines, Vitamix is a family-owned company that health-oriented foodies depend on for making everything from soups to green smoothies.

Evelyn Theiss

Evelyn Theiss

Evelyn Theiss is a print and online reporter who has covered everything from national politics to fashion in her journalism career. Now, she's a health reporter whose beat is nutrition and wellness. But this Midwesterner has found the greatest inspiration for her own journey to well-being at spas--whether those spas are in the U.S., Europe or Asia.
Evelyn Theiss

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