Lia & Phil's Green Sense of Place

House Tour

Name: Lia Cravedi and Phil Pouech
Location: Hinesburg, Vermont
Size: Approximately 2,000 square feet
Years lived in: 2

Lia and Phil were the first of six owners to buy land in a small community development for sustainable homes in Hinesburg, Vermont. After the initial leap, they took their time, watching others build first, and learned all they could before starting the process themselves. A run down of structural features reveal long-term efficient and cost-effective choices — crucial given the extremes of Vermont weather. The siting of the building and windows maximize passive solar potential, solar panels provide renewable energy, and a pellet boiler limits emissions.

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Their house of two years is both mindful of its surroundings and particular to their own taste and style. According to Lia and Phil, friends don't necessarily think of it as a "green home." Rather they comment on — most of all — its bold color sense. (Even the teenager of the house wasn't shy with the paint choice in his room, going green in an altogether different way!) Vibrant art — the majority by Vermont folk artists — and pattern round out a textured and layered interior that is as homey as it is smart.

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: In decorating, our taste is eclectic. We both really like color and avoid putting curtains on our windows, as we like being able to look out at the landscape and let in all the natural light we can. Our artwork is primarily done by local artists.

Inspiration: We have no one inspiration. Sometimes a painting inspires the wall color we choose. Sometimes an idea, like using clear lights leads to displaying glass candlesticks, putting clear knobs on a cabinet, etc.

Favorite Element: The efficiency and convenience of the house works really well for us; it is very low maintenance.

Biggest Challenge: Resisting the temptation to fill it up with a lot of "stuff".

What Friends Say: Friends say it feels homey, that they think we are pretty daring with our use of color, and one person referred to it a "jewel of a home", which was an especially lovely compliment.

Biggest Embarrassment: Because the home was built in a field, there was absolutely no landscaping when we first moved in. We've worked hard to create a functional outside space.

Proudest DIY: Design of the heating system that includes incorporating solar hot water into a pellet boiler that we purchase secondhand. We also spent a lot of time with the layout, trying to utilize all the available space. For example, finding space for a large pantry and a small nook for an office. We utilized all the attic space with a walk up stairway for additional storage, a very important consideration since we do not have a basement.

Biggest Indulgence: We worked hard to stay in budget. We spent more on insulation, added windows, upstairs storage space, and used simple but high quality materials. The radiant floor heating is luxurious. The property has total southern exposure, feels very private, backs up to conserved farm and sugar woods yet is a 5 minute walk to town and 10 minute walk to work.

Best Advice: If building a new home, focus on efficiency for long-term cost reductions and comfort. It is most important to plan, plan and plan. No detail is too small. Make sure your builders are as motivated and excited about your home as you are.

Dream Sources: The ReSTORE: a reuse center that accepts donations from the community and serves as a training site for people wishing to develop a variety of employment skills.

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Resources of Note: We really do like "hunting" for interesting things for the house. We buy art at local art exhibits as well as at Frog Hollow: Vermont State Craft Gallery in Burlington and Stowe Craft and Design. We go to Goodwill and the Salvation Army frequently, as well as to flea markets, antique shows and yard sales.

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Thanks, Lia & Phil!

Images: Ann Manubay, Dabney Frake

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