Collection by Caroline Wallis

A Couple Puts Their California Home on Track for LEED Certification


The new kid on the block in a predominantly Eichler neighborhood, this Menlo Park home breaks the mold and divides into three pavilions connected by breezeways.

Five years ago, Ron Bigelow and his wife Ellis were seeking a nearly net-zero project in Menlo Park, California. They hoped to lessen their environmental impact (and their energy bills) with such a design. With the help of San Francisco-based firm Butler Armsden Architects, the Bigelows are now the proud owners of a Prairie-meets-midcentury modern home that's on track to receive LEED Platinum certification. The house's layout, a cluster of three pavilions connected by breezeways and a bridge, solves two problems. First, that arrangement help preserve trees on the site. Second, the semi-outdoor pathways among the three structures don't officially count towards the home's size, avoiding running afoul of building codes that limit aggregate square footage. From the start of the design process, the Bigelows played the unusual role of actually participating in a design charrette with the architects, eager to learn more about LEED in the process of designing their own home.

The Bigelows’ house throws a nod to its midcentury modern neighbors with its subdivided plan and shallow-pitched roof.
The Bigelows were very involved in the design process, having studied up on LEED before even approaching Butler Armsden...
One of the three pavilions is an open, single-story space that combined the home's kitchen and great room.
The Bigelows both like to cook and knew from the beginning that a kitchen island was essential.
In addition to Wolf and Sub-Zero appliances, the kitchen features an on-demand hot water recirculation pump that...
A bridge connects the second-floor office and guest bedroom with the backyard-facing master bedroom.
Sphinx, the family Carolina dog, scouts the perimeter of the Concrete Collaborative pavers in the backyard.
The three pavilions were placed along the lot's two natural north-south and east-west axes, delineated here by the...
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