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Post #11: The Interior Takes Shape

The following blog will chronicle the construction of a new Zero Energy Ready Home

designed by Domain Design Architects and located on San Juan Island, Washington. Denise Garcia and her husband, Eric Schmidt, who together have degrees in architecture, landscape architecture and city planning, have been passionate about environmentally responsible design since their student days at MIT. Their new ZERH home is the culmination of over 30 years each of professional experience. We hope this blog will inspire others to consider building a Zero Energy Ready Home.


Walking on the newly-laid gravel drive on a crisp September morning, one's view aligns with the west wing of the house and Mt. Finlayson beyond.

San Juan Island, September 28, 2019

Cape Drive Zero Energy Ready Home

Blog entry #11: The Interior Takes Shape



It's been 4 weeks since the last blog post, and much has happened. On the exterior, the garage doors have been installed. The rain screen 1x4 furring strips are nearly complete in preparation for the cement fiber lap siding and corrugated metal skirt. Structural fill has been placed at the entry and face of garage, where new concrete slabs will soon be poured.



The new Clopay insulated metal garage doors are in. The glazing is double-pane, which will add to the thermal quality of the space, despite the fact that it's unheated.

On the south and west sides, window trimwork has begun. The finger-jointed cedar boards have been biscuit-joined and screwed together as a single frame that is installed over multiple windows. Here, the trim frame has been installed on the south Living Room windows as well as the west Master bedroom windows.

On the southwest corner of the house, window trim has been installed on both sides of the corner windows. Below the house is a new rockery wall made with recycled bedrock from our foundation excavation.

On the interior, drywall work is complete. Here, in a view to the front entry, the half wall that separates the foyer from the Dining Room has been finished. It will soon receive a stained oak waterfall cap. Given the relatively small size of the house, we decided to make this space as open as possible while still providing physical separation. Not visible is the extent of framing that continues down to the crawl space slab and is anchored there to provide stability to the wall, thereby eliminating the need for returns. The half wall will allow us to put a small table at the entry, as well as provide an attractive shelf on which to display some of our "treasures".

From the Foyer area, views beyond include the Living Room windows and Dining Room patio door. Above, the 18" glulam beam has been sanded in preparation for a warm grey stain to match the floor, windows and doors.

From the Dining Room, views into the Living Room include the multiple windows at the southwest corner and the door out to what will be our small kitchen garden.

One of our early design decisions was to eliminate interior window casings. The elimination of wood casing allowed us to do drywall wraps around all the windows- a clean, streamlined aesthetic more in keeping with the modern nature of the house. Only the sills of the lower windows will be wood- in this case, stained red oak to match the floor- in order to provide a durable horizontal surface.

Standing in the approximate location of the kitchen island, the views include Fish Creek and the cantilevered deck just off the Dining Room. The center panels of our patio door will slide apart to provide a 7'-0" wide x 8'-0" high opening to the deck, thereby visually and physically extending the Dining Room.

In the Master Bedroom, west windows capture the view of Mt. Findlayson across Fish Creek. This will be the view we wake up to every morning.

In the second bedroom- which will serve as a Guest room- large casement windows will provide a view of the water and the ubiquitous madrona trees we're so fortunate to have on the Cape.

From our dock the form of the house continues to evolve. Once the cement-fiber siding is installed over the yellow rock wool insulation boards, the house will lose its bright hue and blend in with the natural surroundings.


Back at the office, work continues on the selection of finishes for the house, including cabinets, tile, flooring, bath fixtures, siding and decking. Samples of each are fastened to a story board, to test how they will coordinate with one another visually. At the top of the board is our cement-fiber lap siding, with its custom finish/tone that resembles Japanese 'shou sugi ban' (charred) siding. Contrasting with the lap siding will be the vertical tongue-in-groove cedar boards (to the right of the lap siding) at the entry and Dining Room. Story boards such as these provide a canvas on which to try different finish combinations. This ensures a higher level of integration throughout the house, both on the interior and the exterior.


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