The 2,700-square-foot home is a modern take on a classic
Vermont farmhouse. A porch wraps around the front of the building, a long, narrow rectangle with mustard-green clapboards. Two
simple bump-out bays, one on each side of the house, covered
with corrugated metal siding evoke the land’s agrarian history.
The interior is uncluttered and minimalist. A vestibule inside
the front door traps cold winter air as you pass through a second
door to the entry hall and mudroom. Ahead, an open kitchen and
dining room curl around the central staircase to the living room
beyond. Upstairs are the children’s bedrooms and bath, a big office that doubles as a guest room, and the master suite, where
windows on three sides look out toward the Green Mountains, an
old apple orchard and rugged ravine at the back of the property,
and the spinning turbine.
“I can wake up every morning and see how much energy
we’re generating,” says Pill. He’s kidding … but not much. The
U.S. Green Building Council has awarded the house its highest
rating, platinum, through its rigorous Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design (LEED) program.
Sun pours through triple-glazed windows on the south side,
warming the rooms and soaking into the 4-inch-deep concrete
slab on the first floor. A low-temperature radiant heating system
also runs through the concrete floor. Because the house is super-insulated, the second floor needs no heat beyond the sun and
the warmth that rises from downstairs. “We have a woodstove for
auxiliary heat, but we rarely need to use it,” says Maharam.
There is no air conditioning. “In summer, we open the windows on both sides of the house at night, which cools it down,”
says Pill. “We shut the windows in the morning and it stays comfortable.” In houses this airtight, it’s important to provide ventilation in winter to maintain air quality, so Pill installed a filtration
system that exhausts the stale air and brings in fresh.
When choosing building materials, Pill and Maharam tried
to buy locally whenever possible. The beautiful maple on the
floors and kitchen cabinets is from Lathrop’s Maple Supply in
Bristol; the reclaimed fir columns were salvaged from an old mill;
the stone walls were built from rock found on the property. In the
kitchen, sturdy maple butcher from the Vermont Butcher Block