After 40 years of marriage and a long history of homes shared together, Susan, a recently retired graphic designer for the Smithsonian, and Rich, a soon-to-be retired human resource manager, were ready for something different. With three homes under their belt – an 1890s Victorian, 1920s Tudor and 1960s retro pad – they wanted something for the 21st century with smart green touches to boot.
They found the 1,800-square-foot home in Baltimore’s Charles Village, but knew immediately that a fair amount of work would have to be done. Instead of jumping right in, the couple made only the necessary changes and rented it out. Then, they waited for the perfect architect to come along.
This happened a few years later, when they met Charles Alexander of Alexander Design. With the help of Prescott Gaylord of Baltimore Green Construction, they were able to tackle the monumental feat of integrating green technology into a beautifully designed home – all while sticking to the budget. A key part of his design: amping up the natural light in the traditional row home with a curved roof and three walls of vertical clerestory windows.
Solar panels on the roof, which are invisible from the street, help to heat the water used in the radiant heating system in the floor, as well as the plumbing. For warmer days, a large exhaust fan pulls the hot air from inside the house out through the roof. In addition, closed-cell-bio-foam was used to insulate the entire structure, allowing it to stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
The couple employed a local company called Luke Works to add personal touches, like concrete sinks in the bathroom made with their own collection of beach glass. Malcolm Majer, a local metal worker, was brought on to construct drapery rods and Susan’s work table.
While they may be seasoned experts in homeownership, Susan and Rich have set this one apart from the rest. I doubt they’ll be moving anytime soon.