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Green Home: The Griffin Creek House

by Organic Spa Magazine

(Exterior) Architecture and Design 

The simple shed-like form is unobtrusive in the rural, pastoral setting and there’s a nice transition from the nondescript shed roof to the intricate details and juxtaposition of natural exposed wood, a barn-red entry, rusted metal, and beautifully colored panels. The warm spacious interior features soft natural clay walls and high ceilings that take advantage of the passive solar orientation.

“It was our dream to build,” says Chandra Hayes, owner of the Griffin Creek residence in Medford, Oregon. She and her partner Dave own an organic peach farm that shares space on this 22-acre property. The original property contained a 1950s home that was 4,400-square-feet and a monster to heat. “We new we’d have to leave that house behind and go in a different direction,” she shares.  Hayes sold the home, divided the property, and kept the farm to start fresh with a new build.

“We knew we wanted the home to be green, have radiant heat, and be energy efficient,” she says. Choosing an architect for the project was a no-brainer: Every time Hayes found a house she liked, Carlos Delgado had designed it. Gary Dorris, an established and well-respected green home builder worked with Delgado and Hayes, who served as the interior designer and saved money by selecting the majority of the finishes, materials, and colors of the home. She also did all of the painting and sanding. The home ended up receiving Earth Advantage Platinum Certification.

(Interior) Living Space

The owners wanted a contemporary home that was not only energy efficient but full of light and “easy to live in.”

Designed to turn its back to the busy county road—which lies about 300 feet away—Griffin Creek appears like an agricultural building rather than an obtrusive introduction to the rural, pastoral setting, as Delgado puts it. From the road, you’d never know that this was a contemporary haven until you drive into the property and approach the open carport.

“The house reveals itself with natural exposed wood, a barn-red entry, and rusted corrugated metal siding,” Delgado explains.

The colors were nicely thought out: The barn red evokes a ranch and farm, while the play of interior colors pays homage to the peach farm and the steely gray floor provides solidity and grounding. The soft natural clay walls were done with American Clay.

“We strived to maintain a budget for this highly energy efficient home by keeping the basic form, a ‘shed’ form, to simplify construction,” Delgado says. The walls and the roof are constructed with Structural Insulated Panels—rigid high-density isolative foam sandwiched between two layers of Oriented Strand Board and similar in structure to plywood. Additional green highlights include the elimination of air conditioning by increasing the internal mass of the house; hydronic radiant floor heating throughout; heat recovery ventilator; whole-house fan for night-time cooling of thermal mass in the summer; and solar hot water. The home is approximately 2,600 square feet.

“It’s nice to build on land that you know very well,” shares Hayes. “You know how the environment changes when the sun goes down.”

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