A Solar-Powered Austin House for Two Creatives

published Apr 23, 2019

A Solar-Powered Austin House for Two Creatives

published Apr 23, 2019
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Home Type
Bedrooms
Square feet
1750
Sq ft
1750

Name: Greg Foley, Shannon Davenport, daughter Sage and Billie the pup
Location: Austin, Texas
Size: 1,750 square feet
Years Lived In: Less than 1 year, owned

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Shannon Davenport and Greg Foley say they love having an energy-efficient home. “On average we generate more electricity than we use so the electric bills are usually zero,” she wrote. Greg is an artist, designer, and author of children’s books who’s also a founding member of Visionaire and V Magazine. A former trend forecaster, Shannon is certified in aromatherapy and the founder of Esker—a range of bodycare products made with plant-based, paraben-free, sulfate-free ingredients. And for the couple, powering their home with the sun is part of how they live a little more green.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Their whole house was actually a family affair: Greg’s dad Douglas Foley built the house, which features industrial-inspired materials like a reclaimed wood staircase and concrete floors. Douglas’ partner, Mariesther Arteaga, is an architect in Mexico and designed it.

The home aims for sustainability in small but impactful ways: There’s a 500-gallon rainwater collection barrel in the backyard they use to water the yard and wash their car (the couple says it cost about $1,800). A screened-in porch on the upper level is great for cooling the home when there’s a breeze without getting eaten by bugs. They also chose some native plants and trees in their landscaping, and Shannon’s even working on a pollinator-friendly plant area that will hopefully attract butterflies and bees.

And of course, there’s the matter of electricity. The entire house is solar-powered, and Shannon reports the solar panels were $25,000 to install, but thanks to rebates and tax credits they really only cost about 40 percent of that. [According to the official website of Austin, the current city-based incentive available is the Austin Energy Rebate for $2,500. But you may be able to qualify for the federal investment tax credit (ITC) for 30 percent of the cost of a solar photovoltaic system for your home.] And while it’s still a large investment even with a rebate or tax credit, she says in the long run installing solar panels could pay for itself. [And homeowners should definitely do the math and research themselves for their area to see if it’s worth the investment.]



What is it like having your home powered by the sun? Can you tell the difference between solar power and other forms of electricity? According to Shannon, not one bit. “If someone didn’t tell me we had solar panels I never would have known; they’re invisible from below and functionally everything feels exactly the same as traditional electric.”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: In addition to living in the house with our toddler we also both work from home so it’s important that the house feel open, airy, and multifunctional. Austin has a very laid-back feeling to it so coming from Los Angeles and New York, we wanted the house to channel the vibe of the city. We wanted our home to feel timeless, peaceful, and like an inspiring place to live and work.

Inspiration: My father-in-law built the house and he was influenced by the rise of compact living and industrial materials. The house is built on a half lot so every inch is used very strategically. The materials really stand out, including the concrete floors, corrugated steel, and all of the warm exposed wood. There’s also a lot of light and large windows so that the trees and plants are on full display from the interior, which gives it a very indoor/outdoor feel.

Favorite Element: The open plan of the living room and kitchen makes for really good energy in the house; we can hang out together after work while one person cooks and the other plays with our daughter. Also my husband is an author and designer so we have an amazing collection of books and it’s the first thing you see when you walk in the door.

Biggest Challenge: It’s pretty tough to have a big tall curved staircase when you have an active toddler in the house. We have to use baby gates strategically and make sure we always have an eye on her and and that someone is with her when she’s on the stairs (her favorite spot in the house, naturally). We’re looking forward to the day we can take them down!

Proudest DIY: We mounted the cork wall in the office ourselves. It was more about precision than anything, making sure that the panels of cork all lined up. I also have an herb garden and a pollinator garden that I love working on daily. My favorite thing is listening to podcasts and working in the dirt; it’s my escape when I’m feeling stressed.

Biggest Indulgence: We invested in an Eames chair. We did a lot of research and a lot of thinking about it and in the end we figured we would keep it for the rest of our lives no matter where we live so it was worth it. Plus it so perfectly fits the space.

Best Advice: To me greenery makes a room. Whether it’s potted houseplants or just a simple vase of eucalyptus or chamomile, a bit of green does so much and makes a space suddenly feel so alive and welcoming.

Resources:

PAINT & COLORS
Benjamin Moore — Super White

ENTRY
SKOGSTA Bench — IKEA

LIVING ROOM
Walters Sofa — Interior Define
Finn Coffee Table — Design Within Reach
Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman — Herman Miller
Handwoven Cotton Pillows — Mexchic
Moca Stripes Wool Throw Blanket — Homelosophy
Petunia Rug — Armadillo & Co
Leather Rivet Vase — Jenni Kayne
Arctic Sheepskin — Jenni Kayne
ALSEDA Stool — IKEA
Vintage Wood Block Side Table — Round Top Antiques Fair

DINING ROOM
Salt Dining Chairs — Design Within Reach
River Ticking Stripe Rug — Armadillo & Co
Min Dining Table — Design Within Reach (custom)
Glass Vase — LSA International
ALGOT Shelving — IKEA
Basketweave Bamboo Pendant Lamp — Cost Plus World Market

KITCHEN
Woven Fruit Basket — The Little Market
Alessi Espresso Coffee Maker 9090 — Amazon
Black Metal Bar Stools — Amazon

OFFICE
Rolling Desks — CB2
Desk Lamps — Wade Logan
Mid-century Office Chairs — Laura Davidson
Metal Filing Cabinet — CB2
Cork Board Wall — DIY

MASTER BEDROOM
Andes Acacia Bed — CB2
RANARP Wall Clamp Light — IKEA
Wood Mirror — Urban Outfitters
Vintage Moroccan Rug — Etsy

NOOK
Floor Pillow — Mexchic
Record Player — Crosley
Rattan Chair — Anthropologie
Metal Table — Urban Outfitters

BABY ROOM
Vintage Globe — Uncommon Objects
KALLAX Shelf Unit — IKEA
Ceramic Bell Garland— Jenni Kayne x MQuan
DUKTIG Play Kitchen — IKEA
Quad Sheepskin Rug — Etsy
Mid-century Linen Loveseat — Wayfair
Crib — IKEA
Linen Duvet — Matteo
Wooden Cactus — Four Leaf Wood Shop
Paper Mache Animals — Nickey Kehoe

BATHROOM
Turkish Towel — Coyuchi
Dry Brush — Esker
Metal Pitcher — IKEA
Macrame Plant Hanger — Amazon

GUEST ROOM
Risograph Prints — Greg Foley
Wood and Turquoise Vases — Brian David Johnson
RANARP Wall Clamp Light — IKEA
Striped Wool Blanket — Coyuchi

Thanks, Shannon and Greg!


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