More from the Not-So-Solar Decathlon

I tried to give you as much as possible about my trip to Washington, DC in my last recap post, but there were simply too many things that I wanted to tell you about. So, I’ve decided to take a few secondary items and talk about them in another post here.

If you didn’t catch the first post, I was invited by the Plastics Make It Possible crew to tour the Solar Decathlon, a competition for college teams to create affordable and attractive green housing.  I’m not exactly the poster girl for green living, but a trip to DC to check out innovative home design?  With an HGTV host to boot (Brooks Utley)?  No brainer.

While I mentioned before that my favorite house was Appalachian State, there were a few more reasons I haven’t yet shared:  the really cool bark siding (completely untreated) that was affixed to the exterior office/guest room:

This is the beautiful desk on the inside of the same office.  Sorry – this is the best pic I managed to get through the glass doors to the office area.  In many of the houses they kept some of the rooms roped off to the public (especially the bathrooms).  But I waaaant that deeesk.  Don’t you?  Come to think of it, I don’t think I’d mind that laptop either :)

I spotted a trend in several of the houses experimenting with vertical subway tiles.

And stained cement countertops.

I seem to be a sucker for great bathrooms lately (go figure).  This one not only brought the outdoors in, but the shower floor allowed washwater (called “grey water” in green terms – I’ll give you one guess what “black water” is) to flow outside to the marshlands which would naturally filter and recycle the water.

The entire house (Maryland’s “Watershed” home) was built with this type of water recycling in mind (it literally looked like they plopped the house right in the middle of a marsh), so it was no surprise that it was the Solar Decathlon’s overall winner (can you imagine all of the water that recycles in only a week?).

Most of the homes in the competition were purchased or fully sponsored, but only one was partnered with Habitat for Humanity to give away the house after the competition was over.  And we were lucky enough to catch the new family get a head start on making it feel like home.  Aside from the obvious weirdness that we were all peeking in on the family like a zoo exhibit, they seemed very excited.  How cute are those faces?

Of course, no post of a home tour would be complete without a peek at some furniture.  I just love how this table has its legs also showing on the top as a decorative inlay.

Because of the rain and wind, we didn’t want to spend too much outside.  But I couldn’t go all the way to DC for the first time without seeing a few sights.  Ok, and maybe take a few goofy photos.

It seems I brought the lousy weather back with me, because I’ve yet to be able to brave the cold to take care of the mailbox project.  But the wet ground should make it easier to drive the stakes and get the post up solo.  Later this week, I’m also planning on sharing a really cool interactive home design site for you to try out yourself thanks to Plastics Make It Possible (and if that weren’t enough, a chance to win $250!).  And if the weather finally improves long enough to get a little yard work done, I’m hoping to spread a little grass seed around while it’s still wet enough to germinate.  Busy as usual, so stay tuned!

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  1. says

    Thanks for the info on the Watershed home. I love the idea, but wonder, “Do they have a mosquito problem?”

  2. says

    Love it! I would definitely live in a house like that. The only thing I would worry about is: Is is really as warm as they claim.

    Very lovely pictures

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