Collection by Tiffany Jow

A Green Portland Home Built to Passive House Standards


A modern, energy-efficient design creates an authentic connection between work and home.

After years of working from their home in Portland, Oregon, architect Jeff Stern and his wife, a felt artist, decided to build a house that better suited their lifestyle. The couple envisioned a modern, energy-efficient residence. “Since I was the architect, general contractor, certified Passive House consultant, and owner, I was able to tune the design for optimized performance and keep things simple,” says Stern, founder of In Situ Architecture. Built on an oversized lot the couple already owned, the Skidmore Passivhaus physically connects a detached studio and residence while maintaining a feeling of passing through outdoor space. The dark-stained, rough-sawn cedar siding's appearance will change naturally over time—a nod to traditional Northwest architecture. The home’s open floor plan is enhanced by cost-effective materials like painted sheetrock, concrete floors, and plywood cabinets. Brightly painted doors and laminate countertops provide splashes of color throughout the Passive House–certified residence, which produces nearly all of its electricity via a small, roof-mounted photovoltaic array.

“Initially the design had the studios completely separated from the main house with a sort of breezeway in between,”...
While the home’s simple, boxy forms starkly contrast with surrounding residences, its compact shape and modest scale...
The Passive House-certified home features high levels of insulation and high-performing, triple-glazed windows from...
The double-height living room features an Eames Molded Plywood lounge chair and coffee table.
A green laminate countertop by Abet Laminati is surrounded by Norman Foster’s Emeco 20-06 counter stools in the...
Mahogany flooring, a continuation of the mahogany backyard deck and front porch, is enhanced with a clear finish.
In the bathroom, plywood cabinets by Doug Chamblin support a concrete countertop Stern designed himself.
Using scrap material from the kitchen cabinets and island, Stern and Chamblin created custom bedside tables that...
The home’s open floor plan is exemplified by the loft-like master suite that looks out onto the backyard through a...
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