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Post #13: The Sprint To The Finishes- Part 2

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.



From the opposite shore of Fish Creek, a peek-a-boo view shows the west side of the house now almost fully sided.

San Juan Island, November 7, 2019

Cape Drive Zero Energy Ready Home

Blog Entry #13: The Sprint to the Finishes- Part 2



The cool, crisp fall weather has been perfect for siding work on the house.


On the northwest corner of the house, the cement fiber siding is nearly complete. At the edge of the roof at the upper right, our photovoltaic panels are visible. The sunny days of fall have been good for electrical generation.

On the south side of the house, the crew has nearly finished the cement fiber siding. Below the sill line, we'll be installing corrugated metal panels down to grade. Below the house, the grass seed planted a few weeks ago has sprouted nicely and makes a counterpoint of color against the rockery wall.

At the front entry, the concrete porch slab and pavers have been stripped of forms. Also visible is the clear cedar vertical siding at the entry area. We decided to spurge a little at the entry and deck sides of the house as a way to highlight these areas and provide contrast to the cement fiber siding.

A closer view of the concrete flatwork shows the grey dye that was added to the mix, as well as the light broom finish. The color of the concrete was matched to 18"x 18" pavers that we'll be using in the front area. Corsican mint (which is deer-proof) will be planted between and around the pavers to provide an aromatic approach to the front door.

At the entry the warmth and beauty of the clear cedar siding is on full display. The plinth above the door serves as a mount for the entry light.

Water conservation is a priority on San Juan Island, where average yearly rainfall varies from 17-19". Cape San Juan residents appreciate the precious nature of our rainwater and utilize all sorts of clever ways to capture and re-use it. Our 50-gallon rain barrels are one approach. Other approaches include "pillow" and rigid storage tanks.


On the south side, the concrete stoop at the kitchen door is complete. Like the front porch slab and pavers, the concrete was dyed with a grey admix and given a light broom finish. We were very pleased with the finished product.

On the north side of the house, Eric has been busy building a retaining wall and steps with precast concrete pavers and blocks. The retaining wall was necessary to backfill and cover the septic tank.

Also on the north side, the condenser unit of our ductless mini split heat pump has been installed. Once the electrician finishes wiring it, we'll be able to start up the system.

Inside the house, the cabinetmaker has installed all the cabinets. A shoutout to Smith and Vallee Woodworks whose craftsmanship and installation are both superb. We decided to go with walnut in both the kitchen and the Mud Room, as it was the same price as Doug Fir and Alder. After living with vertical grain fir in our previous house, we decided to go with a harder wood. Walnut is both durable and sustainable and perfect for high-traffic areas.

In the kitchen, all the walnut cabinets and floating shelves have been installed. In the center is our large island, which will contain the sink and dishwasher. The indentaion is kneespace for the 3 stools that we will have on the west side of the island.

In this photo, the floating walnut shelves are seen at the desk area to the left. The shelves were mounted to steel knife plates attached to the 2x6 studs in our walls. These shelves will be able to support a significant load, thanks to the steel plates.


At the back of the floating walnut shelves, Smith and Vallee provided a small dado to house the LED strip that will be used to wash the backsplash tile with warm light.

In the Master Bath, the floating vanity has been installed. Here we decided to use alder with a warm grey stain. Alder is a beautiful, locally-sourced wood with excellent properties for light traffic areas.


Also in the Master Bath, the shower tile has been installed. The vertical accent tile marks the location of the shower slide bar and shower head. Next to it is the shower valve. The low walls surrounding the shower will be topped with 3 cm. quartz and 1/2" tempered glass panels.

In the Powder Room the shower surround tile has been installed, including at the niche. We wanted to evoke images of driftwood and beach glass with our tile selections. On the floor, the terrazzo tile mimics beach gravel like that found at our community beach and other parts of the island.

As the finish work continues on the house, we look forward to more crisp, sunny days with milestones reached.


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