An Energy-Efficient House Revels in Views of a Lush Forest
Having sent their two grown children off to college, Pedro and Claudia were ready for a change in scenery. Eager to put down new roots in a home that would offer a shorter commute to work and all the comforts of aging in place, the couple purchased a heavily forested 1.2-acre lot in Wildwood, a neighborhood located just minutes from downtown Portland. Next they tapped local firm Giulietti Schouten Architects to design their primarily single-level home.
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"The goal was for a modern open plan, with clean lines—but warm, inviting, and bright with an emphasis on outdoor living throughout the year," the architects explain. "They wanted the new home to be a place to bring the family together, even though the kids would be away most of the year, and to be able to entertain large groups while still having the home comfortable for daily life."
Yet the beautiful woods that drew the clients to the site also posed major challenges. Located within a protected forest area, the property faced strict regulations that dictated the building location and footprint. Moreover, the lot to the south had been donated as an environmental and watershed preserve, and came with its own set of rules.
As a result, great care was taken to preserve the existing trees and to funnel the home’s stormwater runoff into a stormwater basin, shared with neighboring properties, which ultimately drains back into the local watershed.
In addition to reduced site impact and responsible stormwater management, the architects also took an environmentally friendly design approach to the home. With numerous insulated windows, 100 percent LED lighting, and a building envelope with insulation levels above and beyond code minimums, the Wildwood House has achieved an Oregon energy performance score of 109.
An abundance of clerestory windows and sliding glass doors flood the long and linear home with natural light during the day—and they're also strategically placed to take full advantage of the lush, forested surroundings. Outdoor terraces extend the living areas out to the landscape and are protected with large overhangs to allow for year-round use, even in the rainy season.
Along with the walls of glass, the interior's warm wood surfaces and clean lines also pull the outdoors in. Open-plan spaces ensure continuous sight lines with the outdoors while providing plenty of space for entertaining.
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"The house accommodates a large number of guests for parties and events, while still being intimate and comfortable in its spaces for daily life with modern, clean lines and a warm interior," the architects said, noting that the primary living and sleeping areas are all located on the main level. "The organization of the program is tailored specifically for the family and the way they live."
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Builder/ General Contractor: WA Hughes Construction
Structural Engineer: Madden & Baughman Engineering
Civil Engineer: NW Engineers
Landscape Design Company: Dennis' 7 Dees
Cabinetry Design/ Installation: L & Z Specialties
Windows/Doors: Portland Millwork Inc.