With a client wish list including ample natural light, high ceilings, outdoor connection, and peak energy efficiency, Mowery Marsh Architects check off all the boxes and more. In the kitchen, oak floors, inset walnut cabinets, Fireclay subway tile, and Caesarstone countertops read more classic vibes, while the furnishings are modern counterpoints. The refrigerator and freezer columns are Thermador, and the wall sconces are by Cedar & Moss.
The exterior combines charred cedar siding, cedar beams, and black cement board siding. “Black may seem like an extreme choice sometimes,” says Howe. “It would be hard to imagine any other color though. It sits lovely in the woods. It falls into the shadows in the summer, under the canopy, and it blends with the dark tree trunks in the winter.”
In 2011, clients Brent Habig and Ana Ecclesthe surveyed the property with architect Jim Cutler, planting stakes at a number of sites. Cutler drew up a different house for each, recalling from his youth the region’s vernacular—especially the crisp white barns nestled into lush green landscapes. They would inspire the form of the couple’s new 2,800-square-foot home. It is designed to capture natural light, but also to cool interiors on hot summer days, using tall, sliding shutters that can cover the two-story home’s windows from floor to ceiling.
“The main volume presents a traditional front and is wrapped on the west and south by a deep porch,” says architect Erin Sterling Lewis. “Living and dining spaces access the porch.” A standing seam metal roof with a Kynar finish and HardiePlank Lap Siding cover the exterior of this 3,000-square-foot home.
Unlike its next-door neighbor, R-House, TED wasn’t originally planned to meet the exacting Passive House standard. The building’s green bona fides came largely from four roof-mounted thermal solar panels and a 120-gallon water storage tank that architect Tim McDonald attests would have met nearly all of the home’s heat and hot-water needs. After submitting the proposal, though, he completed a course in the Passive House standard. Inspired, McDonald modified the original approach, ditching the tank and thermal panels in favor of a highly insulated, airtight envelope—the equivalent, he says, of shielding the house from the harsh Syracuse winter with a fur coat instead of a windbreaker.
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