lily pond

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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.

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) affixed to the exterior office/guest room:

bark siding

bark siding as green alternatives for exterior finishes

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 want that desk. Don’t you? Come to think of it, I don’t think I’d mind that laptop either :)

live edge wood slab desk with midcentury iron legs

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

bathroom with green vertical glass mosaic subway tiles

And stained concrete countertops.

stained concrete bathroom counter with vessel sink

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.

outdoor indoor sauna shower

bamboo shower pan

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?).

marsh landscaping for water recycling

pond with lily plants

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 as we walked by, they seemed very excited. How cute are those faces?

Habitat for Humanity family

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.

midcentury coffee table with exposed lime green legs

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

  2. I'm thinking they probably would in a place like where I live, like Georgia. But I suppose I can't say because the one upside to rainy and cold: no bugs!

  3. 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

  4. Thanks! Those pictures were the first I've taken with my new DSLR camera. I'm really excited about all the new shots I'll get with it. I just need to get those photographer's instincts though!

  5. Those are the greatest pictures – I'm so inspired by the natural finishes and especially that bark siding!